AN iconic memorial window has sparked an appeal to mark a Gourock church’s 175th anniversary next year.

Churchgoers from St John’s are keen to find out about the people behind the names on the stained glass panel.

It includes a tribute to the fallen of both world wars, and it’s hoped that their stories will be told in a special booklet.

Cameron Melville, session clerk, said: “We’re planning on doing a booklet to update the church’s history from 1993.

“St John’s has been here since 1843. It’s been at the heart of the community for a long time.

“It’s quite a big year for the church and we have various ideas to mark it, including a visit from the moderator of the general assembly.”

The church currently has a locum minister, Johnston McKay, and has been without a permanent minister for a year.

Cameron said: “We hope we might have a new minister next year, which would be another cause for celebration.”

Secretary Iain Love has made an appeal asking for families to come forward with information on the window, dedicated in 1921.

He said: “We’ve had a few responses, mainly about people remembered from World War Two.

“One, Ian Carruthers, apparently went to sea when he was only 15 and his parents contacted the admiralty and were told he would be sent back when his ship docked, but it never did.”

Another conflict victim was Alexander McPhail, who according to military records died aged 21.

But Iain said: “His baptismal records show that he was only 19 and it would seem that he used his brother’s date of birth to sign up.

“We are trying to find out more about all of the people behind the names and to tell their stories.

“We also have the only woman to be remembered in the Gourock Cenotaph, Alice Murdoch.

“She died  after contracting a disease from treating wounded soldiers coming back from the front.”

Cameron says the appeal is a good way to create a bit of interest in the A-listed church and its features.  

The building is also adorned with another window which dates back to the 19th century and is the work of Edward Burne-Jones and famous textile artist William Morris.

Alan Aitken, assistant session clerk, said: “We are looking to establish a heritage project with Lottery funding focusing on the the church’s history and stained glass windows.”

If anyone has any information that could help with the church’s appeal they should email Iain on