Hugh Drennan was born in Tarbolton in 1828 and educated at Linlithgow Burgh School and the University of St Andrews.
Licensed by the Presbytery of Linlithgow and appointed Assistant at South Leith, he was subsequently ordained Priest and appointed Chaplain to the Forces in the Crimea.
He embarked for the East in October 1854, where he served in the hospitals at Scutari until August 1855, and then, for the remainder of the War, with the Highland Division in the Crimea, returning to England in July 1856.
His next appointment was as Chaplain to the Troops in India in September 1857, and he served in India throughout the Mutiny and was present at the Siege of Lucknow. Remaining in India, he served in Peshawar in 1862, ‘when the Regiment was literally decimated by the pestilence of cholera’; and in the Umbeyla Campaign of 1863.
In the words of Lieutenant-General Burroughs, Commanding Officer of the 93rd Highlanders, ‘In a quiet, unobtrusive way Mr. Drennan did an immense deal of good. He did his duty fearlessly to God and man, and earned the love and respect of all in the regiment. During the visitations of cholera I witnessed his fearless devotion to duty, and although suffering himself, he never deserted his post, but was constantly by the side of the suffering and dying. I cannot speak too highly in his favour.’ (The Border Magazine, April 1907 refers).
Drennan returned to England in 1871 and was appointed Presbyterian Chaplain to the troops stationed at Shoeburyness in January 1876.