Largiesiders remembered in poignant service

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By Hannah O’Hanlon

‘We stand in peace in this glen because of the names on this stone.’

Those words, spoken by Marilyn Shedden, resounded as five crosses for the five Largiesiders who perished in the final year of the Great War were placed at the foot of Glenbarr War Memorial.

The crosses representing James MacKinnon, James Baillie, Robert McNiven and Duncan Darroch were placed by children from Glenbarr Primary School, while Duncan McDonald’s was brought forward by Marion McDonald.

Marion’s husband, Malcom, is a direct descendant of Duncan’s and lives on the same farm, Beachmenach, as Duncan did when he left for war.

Ms Shedden led Sunday’s remembrance service 100 years to the day since the armistice which ended the war was signed.

She paid tribute not just to those lost in the First World War but all the wars since.

Standing below the memorial, Ms Shedden said: ‘We look at this stone of names, names of men, no – even of boys, whose laughter echoed throughout these glens.

‘Their voices trail away as we hear the sound of marching, the call to arms, the call to fight for a land where freedom reigns.

‘Their voices trail away and the glens are silent, tears fall like raindrops and the villages tremble as telegrams arrive, saying: ‘We are so sorry to tell you…’

‘The glens are empty and the hills sigh with grief.

‘There are children now and laughter fills the glens once again, because a hundred years ago the boys named on this stone left these children a gift – the gift of freedom, the gift of peace, the gift of a new tomorrow.’

Addressing the four children who had placed some of the crosses, Ms Shedden added: ‘Treasure it, my young friends and never let it go.’

Colour Sergeant Robbie Semple, of the 51st Highland 7th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland and chairman of the Glenbarr War Memorial Trust, read the names of all those killed throughout the war after which there was a two-minute silence.

The silence was broken by a poignant rendition of The Battle’s O’er by 14-year-old piper Calum O’Hanlon.

Before the crosses were placed, Jennifer McMurchy from Campbeltown’s Argyll and Sutherland Army Cadet detachment laid a wreath on behalf the community.

Anne Littleson rounded off the service by reading an extract from Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s book Sunset Song On behalf of the war memorial trust.

Marion McDonald and Marilyn Shedden stand behind the pupils who placed crosses on the left, with army cadet Jennifer McMurchy, piper Calum O’Hanlon and Colour Sergeant Robbie Semple on the right. 50_c46glenbarrrem01

Marilyn Shedden led a moving service. 50_c46glenbarrrem02

Calum O’Hanlon broke the two-minute silence with a poignant performance of The Battle’s O’er. 50_c46glenbarrrem03

Jennifer McMurchy from Campbeltown’s Argyll and Sutherland Army Cadet detachment laid a wreath on behalf the community. 50_c46glenbarrrem04

Five crosses for the five men who died in 1918. 50_c46glenbarrrem05