Kintyre remembers those who shall not grow old

Navy officers placing wreaths at the foot of Campbeltown War Memorial are Lt Cmdr Matt Ellicott form HMS Chiddingfold, Lt Cmdr Peter Ellison from HMS Ramsey and an officer from HMS Argyll. To the right stands George Rahman, chairman of RBLS Campbeltown branch, and to the left are branch standard bearers Jimmy Robertson and Billy Morran, and the branch piper, John McGeachy.

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One hundred years since the first Armistice Day, the people of Kintyre fell silent to remember the area’s military heroes who fought and died for their country.

The call to remembrance at Sunday’s service at Campbeltown War Memorial was read as follows: ‘At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month the guns fell silent on the Western Front, to bring to an end the First World War.

‘Our nation and commonwealth has recalled that moment through our Armistice and Remembrance events down the decades, decades during which the men and women of our armed services have continued to pay the ultimate sacrifice.

‘And so 101 years later, we stand here today to remember lives sacrificed in the service of our country, and those traumatised and injured in conflict. May we have such a devotion to justice and freedom that the heroism of all who fought, and still fight, may continue to be remembered in a nation of service and in a world of peace.’

Wreaths were placed at the foot of the memorial by or on behalf of the following groups: The Lord Lieutenant of Argyll and Bute; The Scottish Government; Argyll and Bute Council; The Royal Navy: HMS Argyll, HMS Ramsey and HMS Chiddingfold; The Royal British Legion Scotland, Campbeltown branch; The Royal Air Force Association; Police Scotland; Police Scotland Youth Volunteers; The Royal National Lifeboat Institution; HM Coastguard; Scottish Fire and Rescue Service; Young fire fighters, Campbeltown; The Salvation Army;  Lodge St John’s No 141; St Kieran Royal Arch Chapter No 158; The Rotary Club of Campbeltown; Campbeltown Community Council; Campbeltown Sea Cadets; Army Cadet Force; Scout Association; Boys’ Brigade; Kintyre Schools Pipe Band; and Campbeltown Grammar School.

The exhortation was spoken by Lieutenant Commander Matt Ellicott from HMS Chiddingfold and the Kohima Epitaph was spoken by Lieutenant Commander Peter Ellison from HMS Ramsey.

Music was provided by members of Kintyre Schools Pipe Band and Campbeltown Brass.

George Rahman, chairman of the Royal British Legion Scotland, Campbeltown branch, who was responsible for organising and directing Campbeltown’s commemoration, which was led by Rev William Crossan, also dedicated a new memorial bench at Kilkerran Cemetery on Saturday, after which poppy crosses were placed on the Commonwealth War Graves.

Speaking at the dedication, Mr Rahman said: ‘This morning we dedicate this new memorial bench to all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country and Commonwealth.

‘It will remain here for many years to come and it is with hope that it be used by families and visitors as a place for quiet contemplation, to remember the brave souls who are lying peacefully here.

‘We must never forget the sacrifice they made for the freedom we enjoy today. At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.’

After the commemorations, Mr Rahman told the Courier he would like to thank all those who attended the services.

He added: ‘It was a brilliant turn-out for the parade on the Sunday with so many from the town supporting the act of remembrance. It was great to see young and old marching together on the day. As the older generation fades away it is the young we must rely on to never forget the sacrifices that were made by so many over the decades.

‘Legion Scotland are the custodians of remembrance in Scotland and remembering all those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to the nation regardless of age or conflict is the main priority for Legion Scotland.’

Killean and Kilchenzie, like many other parishes in Kintyre, hosted its own Remembrance Day service at Glenbarr War Memorial, this year led by Rev Scott Burton.

On behalf of the Glenbarr War Memorial trustees, who own and maintain Glenbarr’s monument, Marion McDonald read out the names of the area’s fallen servicemen.

In addition to the wreath representing all the fallen heroes, which was placed by sea cadet James Reid, a special poppy cross was placed by Jake Rowan in honour of Private James Rowan of the 7th/8th Battalion Black Watch, who perished 100 years ago, aged 33, on April 22, 1919.

Private Rowan died in Oban after the war as a result of gas wounds. In his obituary, he was described as ‘an especially well-approved and attentive workman, a true and ever mindful son, a patriotic citizen and a brave soldier’.

Rev Burton explained that he wears a Black Watch shirt to remembrance services in honour of a serviceman who he received back to Brize Norton and buried in 2004.

A reading was carried out by army cadet Jennifer McMurchy, after which Rev Burton played The Last Post on his trumpet before the two minutes’ silence.

The silence was broken by Rev Burton’s trumpet, followed by piper Calum O’Hanlon who played Flower of the Forest.

Chairman of the Glenbarr War Memorial Trust and army reservist, Colour Sergeant Robbie Semple, of the 51st Highland 7th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland, thanked all who attended the service.

He presented a copy of the Glenbarr War Memorial book, which contains information about all the men named on the memorial, to Jake, James, Jennifer and Calum, all of whom have at least one ancestor named on the cenotaph.

Tayinloan’s lance corporal Kayleigh McNeill of the Tarbert Detachment Cadets took part in Tarbert’s remembrance service, laying a wreath at the village’s war memorial on Sunday.

Many schools in the area also paid tribute. At Rhunahaorine, where Private Rowan was educated, children prepared for Armistice Day by creating a remembrance garden, and each child decorated a small wooden cross on which they wrote a name of someone to remember from a war.

Everyone wrote the names of soldiers from the Glenbarr War Memorial on strips which were joined to make a paper chain.

A table was decorated with handmade poppy wreaths, medals and war photographs – including one of horses with a purple ribbon to remember the animals.

At 10.55am on Monday morning Calum O’Hanlon, who piped at Glenbarr’s service on Remembrance Sunday and was invited to perform at the school’s service, played the pipes as everyone gathered at the garden, including the nursery children and some members of the local community.

Louise Hurd and Lewis O’Hanlon read a verse from The Fallen by Laurence Binyon, and Austin O’Hanlon read John chapter 15 v 13 from the Bible, although he had practised so much he knew it by heart.

Following the readings a short silence was honoured with Rev Scott Burton closing with The Last Post on his trumpet.

Due to the blustery day Mark Byers held on to the unknown soldier silhouette and did so with unwavering respect throughout.