Soldier silhouettes honour the Great War’s fallen

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By Hannah O’Hanlon

A Kintyre village church is holding a week-long programme of remembrance events to mark the centenary of the First World War’s end.

The main feature of the events organised by Clachan’s Kilcalmonell Parish Church, running from November 4 to 11, will be an installation representing the fallen – 20 transparent soldier silhouette sculptures – as part of the ‘There But Not There’ campaign by charity Remembrance.

Ten of the figures, known as Tommys, were donated by the Armed Forces Covenant, while the other 10 were purchased by the church.

Clachan, which has a population of about 250, lost 15 young men during the war, at a time when the population was much smaller.

The men’s names are remembered on the gates of the church, which is the village’s official war memorial and houses a Commonwealth War Grave.

At the close of the church service on Sunday November 4 there will be a procession of the silhouettes into the church, where they will be placed around the alter.

As each one enters the church, the name, rank and regiment of some of the fallen will be read out.

Some of the silhouettes are to represent others affected by the war, emergency services, wives, mothers, daughters, etc.

After the service, the silhouettes will be placed at random in the pews and will remain there throughout the week.

On Monday, from 7-8pm, there will be an evening of music, readings, poems and letters from the First World War.

On Tuesday, from 7-8pm, there will be citations of medals won by Scottish servicemen.

On Wednesday, from 11am to noon, local school children will visit and contribute.

On Thursday, from 7-8pm, there will be more poems and stories from the trenches.

On Friday, from 7-8pm, the focus will be on the home front, of tales and thoughts of those back home.

On Saturday, at 7.30am, at the specific request of the late Reverend Catriona Hood, those who were shot at dawn, who have since been pardoned, will be remembered.

The week culminates in an ‘act of remembrance’ at the memorial gates on Sunday November 11, before a service in the church, after which the silhouettes will be removed from the church to form a silent guard of honour to the war memorial.

The church will remain open each day to allow people to visit and see the silhouettes in situ or spend some time in quiet reflection and remembrance.

Former moderator of the Presbytery of Argyll, Marilyn Shedden, who will be leading Saturday’s dawn service, said: ‘As we approach the 100th anniversary of the end of that awful war, we pause to remember these terrible years of suffering.

‘At this tender time there will be a special opportunity to look back, and through poems, readings, letters, music, pictures and stories hear and feel a little of those who went to fight for a future freedom.’