Emotional visit to First World War French memorials

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KINTYRE’S Great War dead were honoured during a visit by five pals.
David Cox, Joe Galbraith, Tommy McGrory, Stephen Scally and Bruce Strang travelled to Northern France and Belgium to commemorate the commonwealth servicemen who fell between 1914-1918, a number of whom were their direct relatives.

The journey included many battlefields and memorials such as The Somme, Passchendaele, Loos and Vimy Ridge.

Tommy McGrory paid his respects at Loos memorial to his great grandfather David McKerral who although being a native of Campbeltown fought with the 1st/5th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry.

He also paid his respects to two of his great uncles, Charles McGrory and John McGrory, who fought with 6th Battalion, Cameron Highlanders and 7th Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders respectively.
John is commemorated at Tyne Cot memorial in Belgium and Charles at Loos memorial in France.

Bruce Strang paid his respects to his great uncle, Donald McConnachie from Carradale, who emigrated to New Zealand and fought with the New Zealand Field Artillery. Donald is buried at Lijssenthoek memorial cemetery in Belgium.

Joe Galbraith paid his respects to Neil Galbraith also a native of Carradale, who emigrated to Canada and fought with the 14th Battalion, Canadian Infantry, The Royal Montreal Regiment.

He is commemorated at the Canadian National Vimy memorial in France.
The men said it was an enjoyable but emotional trip and a fitting tribute to the many who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Tommy McGrory said: ‘I have wanted to make this trip for many years. My great grandfather left his family in Campbeltown in 1917 and sadly never returned to his young children.

‘I am the first of his descendants to visit his memorial and it was a humbling and emotional experience to think of the sacrifice he made for his country.’

Bruce Strang said: ‘I have served with the Royal Regiment of Scotland, Alamein Company – Op Telic, in Iraq and I have seen the horrors of war first hand.

‘I can’t begin to imagine the conditions experienced by these young soldiers in the trenches.

‘It is very important we remember them – Lest we forget.’