War heroes remembered

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War heroes have been remembered at poignant services and ceremonies across Oban and area.

Wreaths were laid at war memorials and pipes played as communities turned out to show their respect.

Sunday’s parade from the Corran Halls to the war memorial on the Esplanade did the town proud said Oban councillor Jim Lynch.

He thanked Oban Sea Cadets for taking the lead in organising the parade as well as running the town’s Poppy Appeal. The cadets also held a Remembrance Day gathering on the seafront on November 11.

Deputy Lord Lieutenant Neil Mathieson led Sunday’s parade, accompanied by Oban High School and Oban Pipe Bands. Laying the wreath on behalf of Oban High school were head boy Angus Files and head girl Hannah Crowe.

About 200 people lined the esplanade. Westcoast Motors also provided a bus to get people with mobility issues  from the Corran Halls to the war memorial where a short service was conducted via a community PA system funded by the Oban Common Good Fund, said Councillor Lynch who also wanted to thank Oban FM for their support and the police.

Royal British Legion Scotland was also represented at the parade by standard bearer Archie McCulloch.

On Saturday morning swimmers paid tribute to service men and women who lost their lives at the RAF bases at Ganavan and Kerrera during the Second World War.

Three members of Oban Wild Swimmers collected Oban and Ganavan Heritage Group’s wreath from a boat out in the Firth of Lorn, and brought it back to shore where two Kilninver Primary School pupils, Heidi Bradfield Martin and Euan Robert Gordon, took it to the war memorial.

Swimmers Jenny Menarry, Morag Brown and Martin Hadlington handed the wreath out of the water and over to the children.

‘It was such an honour,’  said jenny. ‘I am overwhelmed. We owe such a big thank you to these people for what they did for us, and continue to do. They gave their lives for us.’

Neil Owen, a member of  Oban and Ganavan Heritage Group, said 122 air crew were killed from the two bases at Ardentrive and Ganavan during the war, and the sea floor is littered with at least nine aircraft.

Oban and Ganavan Heritage Group also invited families to draw poppies with red chalk, or lay down their own bio-degradable poppies, on the slipway where the Catalina, Sunderland and Stranrae flying boats were launched.

Organiser Jane Terris said: ‘The slipway at Ganavan was the gateway to the Battle of the Atlantic during the Second World War, flying boats would come in and out – although some never returned.’

At that time, the whole area of the car park was a RAF base for the repair and maintenance of the flying boats.

‘It’s a very important site,’ Jane said. ‘It was a direct line from Oban to the Battle of The Atlantic.’

Archie and Mo Dudgeon also took to the air in their red Waco biplane from North Connel to perform a flypast as part of the commemoration event.

In Kimelford, this year’s Remembrance started with a gathering around the war memorial at the church, led by Mary Sandilands. After the two minute silence wreaths were laid by Donald Smith, Crew Manager, Kilmelford Community Fire Station and Major Donald Campbell-Baldwin, late A&SH. Jim Robb was the piper and also present were representatives of Kilmelford Fire Station.

There followed a service inside the church, taken by Georgina Dalton. She read the prayers written by her father, in the absence of the Regimental Chaplain, while serving in the Royal Artillery early in 1943, for a service on a clifftop overlooking the Mediterranean at Messina.

Vice President of Royal British Legion Scotland’s Easdale Branch Jean Alexander, who is also the Session Clerk of Kilbrandon and Kilchattan Church, led the Act of Remembrance at Luing War Memorial, assisted by John Alexander President of Easdale branch.  Iain Cruickshanks from the island’s Auxiliary Fire Service was standard bearer and piper Innes MacQueen  played the lament.  Wreaths were laid by Alexander Shairp on behalf of the Easdale RBLS Branch, Michael Fothergill on behalf of the Fire Service and Joan Morgan on behalf of Luing Community Council.

About 80 islanders gathered on neighbouring Seil at Balvicar’s war memorial to honour the fallen of the two world wars and other conflicts. Crosses were also laid on the island’s four Commonwealth war graves.

The Kilbrandon remembrance service was led by Phil Moss who is acting padre of the Royal British Legion Scotland Easdale Branch. Wreaths were also laid at the war memorial by Alex Wright on behalf of the Legion branch, Guy Knight who is convener of Seil & Easdale Community Council,  Crew Commander of Seil’s Fire and Rescue Volunteer Unit Ronnie Robinson and from representatives of the community’s youth.

Pupils from Oban High School played a Poppy Scotland charity football match last week after one of its pupils designed a Poppy Scotland shirt. Yvonne Caddell who is Poppy Scotland’s Project Learning Officer was there to watch.