Reverend David Railton remembered at St Brides Church

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The man who who had the inspired idea of creating the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey, London, was remembered on Saturday with a special service at St Bride’s Church, Onich.

The anniversary of the death of the Rev David Railton MC MA, who died in 1955, was marked by members of the Fort William and district branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland who gathered at St Bride’s for a memorial service.

The name of Rev David will not mean a lot to many people until it is pointed out that it was he who had idea of having a Tomb for an Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey, which could be used to recognise the sacrifice of all those who died and were buried as ‘unknown’ during the First World War. This military chaplain made his home in retirement at Ard Rhu, in Onich.

The event was organised by Bruce James and 12 branch members were present; the ranks were swollen by Kevin Gray, the CEO of Legion Scotland, and his wife; plus Major Janet McIntyre and Margaret Rae from the Salvation Army in Kinlochleven. Their presence was particularly poignant as David Railton’s father had been the Second in Command to William Booth who founded the Salvation Army.

For the memorial service all parties formed up in front of the grave and after a brief introduction from Kevin Lane, the branch chairman, The Ode of Remembrance taken from Laurence Binyon’s poem, For the Fallen, was read out.

Piper John MacCallum then played a lament during which the Branch Standard, carried by Drew Walker-Armitage, was lowered in homage. After a two-minute silence a second lament was played; followed by Kevin Lane laying a wreath on behalf of the branch.

The Rev Malcolm Kinnear then led the branch in the service of remembrance and prayers during which Bruce James read out a eulogy to David Railton.

The service ended with everyone visiting the inside of St Bride’s Church and then retiring to the Loch Leven Hotel for lunch.