A SOLEMN AND ABIDING REMINDER OF THE HUMAN COST OF CONFLICT TO OUR COMMUNITY OVER THE PAST CENTURY
INFORMATION EDITED BY G. M. MACDONALD, 2003
The Kilsyth Chronicle of Friday, August 31st. 1923
The war memorial at Burngreen today - photo RK
UNVEILING OF KILSYTH WAR MEMORIAL
At long last, and
after many of the inhabitants had almost given up hope of seeing a public war
memorial in their midst, Saturday saw the unveiling of the monument an
accomplished fact. The
monument is in the form of a Celtic Cross of Aberdeen granite,
standing 18 feet high, on a broad base which contains three panels on
either side and one at each end, in
seven of these panels are inscribed the names of 227 men who were killed or died
on service in the war. On
either side of the upright column of the memorial is a pendant sword,
while underneath is a laurel wreath.
There are inscribed on the upper portion the words,
"Their name shall live for evermore."
In one of the centre panels is the inscription,
"Erected to the memory of our men who laid down their lives in the
great war, 1914-18."
The work was executed by Messrs Scott & Rae, Glasgow.
An iron railing with gate surrounds the monument,
the railing being the work of Mr McLay of Kirkintilloch. The cost of the memorial is fully £500.
The weather, unfortunately, did
not deal kindly with the occasion. Rain
commenced to fall during the proceedings and was coming down heavily,
before the close of the programme.
A procession was formed at the Academy grounds and marched round the town
and along Station Road to the Burngreen.
The Town Band led the way, followed by ex-service-men, the memorial
committee, representatives of public bodies, Public Band, Girl
and Boy Scouts. The Territorials formed a guard at the monument.
Apologies for absence were sent by Mrs. Moncrief,
Mr. Thomas Johnston, MP, and Mr. James Boyd.
The burgh flag
and the flag at the Bowling Green were flown at half-mast.
A platform was
constructed beside the memorial. On
this members of the memorial committee, the
clergy, and others taking part,
Mr. Charles Edmonstone, and
Mr. C. E. Horsbrugh had seats. Ex-Provost
Cook, chairman of the memorial committee presided.
Kilsyth Co-operative Choir and friends, under
the leadership of Mr. James H. Gibson, led the singing of the 46th.
Psalm. Rev A. G. Millar, High U.F. Church, delivered the prayer of invocation. In thanking God for granting victory to our arms he
prayed that as God had given us victory He would help us to reap the fruits of
it, and not lose the fruits of it
in peace. He prayed that, as we went backward and forward,
the monument would not only remind us of those brave men,
but be an inspiration for us all to live lives worthy of the great
sacrifice made on our behalf.
The Town Band,
in the Bandstand, rendered
"Memory of the Brave," and
the buglers sounded " The Last Post,"
silence was observed. Then
the buglers sounded "Reveille."
said that they had with them that day Sir Archibald Edmonstone, Bart.,
who needed no introduction to a Kilsyth audience.
The memorial committee considered that Sir Archibald was the right man to
unveil this memorial. He was
one who had taken a deep interest in the community and had the deepest sympathy
with those who mourned the loss of near and dear ones who fell in the war,
and was one who had known that very sad experience of weary waiting for
news from the front, and also, alas,
the pangs of the final blow. They
were greatly honoured in having Sir Archibald with them that day,
and he (the chairman) had much pleasure in calling upon him to unveil the
Edmonstone said :- My
friends, ladies and gentlemen, we
are assembled here for a very solemn purpose.
We have come together to do honour to the memory of the 227 brave men of
Kilsyth who gave their lives for us in the great war.
I know that words can very feebly express our deep feelings and emotions
– and mine, I fear, must be very
few and faulty- but I would like to say this:
I do not think that this occasion should only be looked upon as a sad one
and full of sorrowful retrospect. On
the contrary, I think our minds
should be filled with pride and thanksgiving
for the precious possession which has been given us in the memory and
example of these gallant men. I
hope, and believe, that this
beautiful monument round which we stand may prove a blessing and help to many in
Kilsyth. To those who mourn,
surely it will be a great consolation and happiness to see always in
their midst o perpetual emblem of the honour and reverence
of those they loved. Then,
again, to many others,
I think it will be a help, you know, ladies and gentlemen,
there come in every life moments of crisis and doubt and indecision,
when there seems a parting of the ways – one steep path leading upwards
towards duty and self-denial, and
the other sloping downwards to self-indulgence,
ease, and carelessness.
At such times, when men look upwards to this memorial, perhaps a voice will
come from it, saying :
"Remember us ! Think of us ! We
were young ; we were happy : we
loved our lives : we loved our homes, and yet we gave up everything, to do our
duty and the serve our King and country."
I hope, please God, that those who listen will be given strength to
follow worthily in the footsteps of these gallant
soldiers trod. Ladies
and gentlemen, I know of no finer
words that I can quote than those spoken by H.M. King George when he viewed the
graves of his fallen soldiers in France.
The King said- I fervently pray that both as nations and individuals we
may so order our lives after the ideals for which our brethren died,
that we may be able to meet their gallant souls once more, humbly,
yet unashamed. I have now the honour to unveil this beautiful
memorial. May it stand sacred
for ever in Kilsyth.
drew the cord which allowed the covering to slip from the memorial.
The Public Band
played "For King and
bells were rung .
Cameron, Parish Church,
delivered the dedicatory prayer, humbly
beseeching Almighty God that He would consecrate their thoughts and purify their
hearts, that they may worthily be remembered among the men who gladly
laid down their lives for the sake of their country and kindred ;
that God would strengthen us that we might walk worthily in their
footsteps ; and might the remembrance of all they did and suffered be an
inspiration and strength to us throughout all
our days. In the name of this community,
and by their request, he
dedicated for ever to their memories this memorial of their sacrifice and of
their heroism, and might God grant
unto us that the memory of these heroic men might ever be fresh and beautiful in
Kilsyth Pipe Band
played a lament.
Anton led of the placing of the wreaths round the foot of the monument.
His was followed by many others.
This proved the most touching part of all this afternoon's ceremony.
Some were as gorgeous as the garden or greenhouse could supply, others as
clever as the imitator of nature could fashion them, and others simply little
mementoes carried by widows to commemorate departed husbands,
little children in memory of their dad who never came back,
by parents who recalled a boy they lost, or sisters mindful of a brother.
Many found their grief welling up in tears,
and it was a severe trial to come forward to deliver their floral
tributes to place on the memorial.
Co-operative Male Voice Choir had sung "Soldier, Rest, thy warfare
Alexander Arneil, moving a vote of thanks to Sir Archibald Edmonstone, said they
were delighted to have him with them that day,
to mingle his sorrow with their sorrows,
and they thanked him for coming such a long distance to be present. Some might think their efforts had been small
after all the boys who had gone had done for them;
yet it was their names were
inscribed on the memorial.
said he had to thank the company very much and Mr. Arneil for the very kind
words. He could only tell
them that he was deeply touched by the kind wishes of everyone here that he
should come to be with them for this ceremony.
He did not think himself worthy of undertaking such a task as that which
had been placed upon him, except
for one thing, and one only, and that was that for more than fifty he had been
associated with Kilsyth and he had never known anything but kindness
and consideration from the people.
He could think of no people in the world whose heart was more filled with
sympathy and affection for Kilsyth and its people than his was.
He felt so proud of Kilsyth during the war for having done so splendidly,
for 1171 men enlisted in His Majesty's forces from Kilsyth;
and there were 227 who did not come home again for whose relatives one
felt so deeply. He wished
also to say just a word or two
To express how
deeply he felt the sorrow which had come upon Kilsyth recently through the pit
disaster. It was so awfully
sad to think of, and he felt so
much for those who had been so terribly bereaved amongst them.
The chairman said
he had something very important to say, but
the weather seemed to be breaking down and it would not be fair to continue the
proceedings too long. They
could scarcely think that it was nine years
21 days since their empire went to war.
Hundreds of their brave men answered to the call of King and Country; and, alas,
many of them never returned. At
the close of the war, scheme after
scheme was put forward for some kind of memorial which they felt ought to be
raised in memory of the brave men who made the supreme sacrifice.
Scheme after scheme was discussed and allowed to drop. At last the committee felt that the duty was incumbent
upon them to carry through a memorial of some kind.
They would have liked to have been in the position to have raised
something far larger than they really had got. But it was not the size of the of the monument that
would matter, for no matter how
large any monument might be that they could erect,
it would be as nothing to the debt we owed to the brave men who had laid
down their lives. He took the
opportunity to express their heartfelt sympathy with those who had lost near and
dear ones in the war, and
on behalf of the committee, thanked
those is any way helped to erect the and carry out the arrangements in
connection with the war memorial. At
this stage, in name of the war memorial committee and the inhabitants of
Kilsyth and district, he asked
Provost Freebairn as representing the Town Council,
to take this memorial into their care and keeping.
The trust, no doubt,
was a sacred one, a trust
which the relatives of the men whose names appeared on the tablets had reposed
in him, and he hoped the Provost would see that trust carried through
to the full.
said it was with the greatest pleasure that he,
on behalf of the Town Council accepted custody of this war memorial.
The Council accepted it as a sacred trust, and the war memorial committee would see that every care was
taken of the memorial, and all they
could do would be done for the sake
of the memory of those who made the supreme sacrifice. There had been something said of the men who had made
the supreme sacrifice, and they
were all agreed with everything that had been said.
There was just one thing he would like to say in addition,
and that was that they ought to remember the many who were walking about
– living dead. Many were
young men who began life with bright prospects or were looking forward to
something away in the future, laying
their plans and having their ambitions like those other men who went to the war.
He thought they also had made a supreme sacrifice for us.
It was quite within his recollection when he used to go into Glasgow
before the war, that he might walk
through the greater part of the city and he would scarcely find one man in the
same position as he was. But
he found now that it was hardly possible to turn a street corner but he had a
companion in misfortune; and many
with had to put them all aside and bow to the inevitable.
He hoped the Government and
the whole community would see their plans and ambitions in front of them to it
that they did not forget what these men have done.
He thought it was just as bad for those men walking about half-dead as
those who who made the sacrifice completely.
He was putting in a word for the men who had been disabled
and would have to bear the brunt for many long years.
JAMES J. ANDERSON
THOS. S. ARNEIL
ROBERT R. BLACK
JAMES R. BRYSON
THOS. C. COMRIE
Wm. G. EDMONSTONE
JOHN G. GRINDLAY
JOHN S. GRINDLAY
WILLIAM M. JARVIE
ROBERT U. LITTLE
DAVID D. MILLER
JOHN F. MILLER
JOHN G. RANKIN
JAMES A. RUSSELL
ROBERT B. STARK
CHARLES Y. WILSON
The following names of those who died in the above war were added to the War Memorial as under
ROBERT S. BLACK
GEORGE C. COCHRANE
WILLIAM O. COMRIE
WILLIAM D.C. CRAWFORD
WILLIAM A. ELLIOT
MATTHEW W. GRAHAM
WILLIAM B. LAING
JOHN M. LENNOX
ANDREW N. MELLING
WILLIAM T. MOONEY
ROBERT A. PARTICK
JAMES A. SHAW
JAMES W. STEVENSON
ROBERT D. STEVENSON
PETER M. TAUNS
JAMES L. WATSON
DAVID S. WHYTE
EION A. WHYTE
BERTIE M. WHYTE
ROBERT R. WILSON