THE KEIGHLEY News is publishing a weekly tribute to the bravery of district residents during the First World War.
Stories of courageous members of the Armed Forces have been unearthed through research by Keighley’s Men of Worth Project.
These will be highlighted each week in the run-up to August’s centenary of the outbreak of conflict.
The Men of Worth Project invites readers to contact them with stories about their heroic ancestors during the First World War. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, contact him on 07792 665336 or write to 21, Providence Crescent, Oakworth, West Yorkshire BD22 7QU.
Alternatively, email email@example.com or write to the Keighley News, 80-86 North Street, Keighley BD21 3AG.
LUTHER McKechnie was “peculiarly well-qualified” for the highly-skilled job of fitter on a gun battery.
He had spent three years studying at Keighley Trade and Grammar School and begun his career at the Shipley Tank Company.
His subsequent jobs at Keighley Corporation’s electricity works and Barrow Corporation’s electrical power station increased his expertise.
He was obviously destined for a technical role in the Army, and after joining up in February 1915 he was drafted into the Royal Field Artillery and sent to France.
Luther had been born in 1893, the youngest child of mill manager James McKechnie and his wife Jane, and he grew up in Garden Street, Cross Roads.
Only seven months after Luther enlisted his brother-in-law Raymond Tilbrook fell in action at Armentieres.
By the following summer Luther, with the rank of Fitter, was serving at the front as a member of ‘A’ Battery, 156 Brigade.
He was killed by an explosion that also killed three of his comrades, including father and son George and Robert Lee.
Later that month the Keighley News carried a report of Fitter McKechnie’s death in its Lees and Cross Road section.
The Keighley News said: “He was peculiarly well-qualified for the highly skilled work in which he was employed,
“Of a most cheerful disposition, he was highly intelligent, observant and energetic, and the most promising craftsman.
“During his period of training and active service he had won the esteem of his officers and men.”
Luther, who was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, is buried with his three comrades in adjoining graves at Dartmoor Cemetery at Becordel-Becourt, France.
Luther’s remembered on the roll of honour in the Keighley Trade and Grammar School magazine, The Keighlian, as well as on the Cross Roads war memorial and on the family grave at Penistone Hill in Haworth.