Remembrance tributes

Sunday's remembrance parade makes its way back along the Esplanade, as Jane MacLeod, Lord Lieutenant of Argyll and Bute takes the salute Photograph: Kevin McGlynn KM-T46-remebranceparade-2023-parade

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More than 100 people packed a poignant gathering at The Rockfield Centre on Sunday in an event that was the culmination of activities to celebrate the centenary of the unveiling of Oban War memorial.

On Friday two Eurofighter Typhoons treated Oban to a special fly-by. Photograph: Kevin McGlynn.

Among those present were families of some of the 247 service people whose names are on the memorial overlooking the town’s bay over to Mull, Lismore and Kerrera.

Angus Boyd, 91, made the journey from North Berwick to remember his big brother Iain who was just 20 and a corporal serving with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders when he was killed in action at El Alamein on October 29, 1942. Angus, who was 10-years old at the time, said the day that the devastating news reached home was still “all too vivid”.

Angus Boyd, 91, made the journey from North Berwick to remember his big brother Iain who was just 20 and a corporal serving with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders when he was killed in action at El Alamein on October 29, 1942. KG-T46_AngusBoyd3-2023-Rockfield
Angus and Margaret Boyd (centre) with Ian MacMillan and his wife Ann. Angus’s brother Iain Boyd, a corporal in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, is named on the war memorial but buried in Egypt. Photograph: Kevin McGlynn

An impressed Mr Boyd  paid tribute to the band of hard-working and dedicated volunteers of Oban War Memorial Group who organised a series of events for this year and spent the last 18 months carrying out painstaking research into the lives of those named on the monument, which has just been given listing status by Historic Environment Scotland.

Oban War Memorial group hands over its legacy work to Eleanor McKinnon from The Rockfield Centre. KG-T46_Memorialgroup1-2023-Rockfield
Neil Owen from the Oban War memorial Group hands over the legacy of its research work to Eleanor MacKinnon from The Rockfield Centre. KG-T46_Lestweforget02-2023-Rockfield

The legacy of the group’s work with photographs and life-stories appeared throughout the year in The Oban Times and is now contained for posterity in a number of Lest We Forget books that will be accessible to the public. One of the available user-copies will be kept in the hub of Oban at The Rockfield Centre.

John Scott, the grandson of the memorial’s sculptor Alexander Carrick was also in Oban for Sunday’s Remembrance. Lewis Owen wore an authentic First World War uniform to re-enact the Silent Soldier who stood head-bowed at its unveiling.

‘Silent solider’ Lewis Owen, who wore an authentic First World War uniform, meeting John Scott who is the grandson of Alexander Carrick, the man who designed Oban’s 100-year-old war memorial on the Esplanade.

It took four years of fundraising and subscriptions from townspeople to pay £1,450 for the memorial. Not all names of the fallen are listed – some families chose not to have their loved ones names displayed on it.

The memorial lists the name of 173 men with an Oban connection, who each gave their lives in the First World War. A further 73 men were added after the Second World War, and then in 1984, after the Falklands War, the name of Marine Gordon MacPherson was also inscribed on it.

This weekend all of those whose lives were lost in the world wars and other conflicts, as well as those who did return and continued to carry the physical and mental wounds, were remembered.

Lord-Lieutenant for Argyll and Bute Jane MacLeod, the region’s Provost Maurice Corry and MSP Jenni Minto paid tributes too.

Lord Lieutenant of Argyll and Bute Jane MacLeod lays a wreath at Oban War Memorial.
Photograph: Kevin McGlynn
Jenni Minto MSP laying a wreath in Oban
Photograph: Kevin McGlynn.
Argyll and Bute Provost Maurice Corry at Oban War Memorial. Photograph: Kevin McGlynn

Jenni Minto also made particular mention of the women who gave support on war fronts as well as from home, including those who nursed the wounded and who knitted socks for the men on the front line. That action still continues today, she said, referring to the many knitters and crocheters who handmade poppies to adorn town landmarks.

Earlier in the day Oban Pipe Band led serving soldiers, veterans, councillors, members of the emergency services and other uniformed groups and civilian organisations to the memorial. Members of the public filed in behind and walked up the west side of the bay in unison.

Lewis Owen in an original First World War uniform lays a wreath on behalf of Oban War memorial Group. The wreath was made by Jane Terris who re-created the same wreath that was laid at the memorial’s unveiling 100 years ago.
Photograph: Kevin McGlynn

As the pipes and drums ceased, the parade fell quiet with the Oban RNLI lifeboat standing at attention just off the shoreline. A speech of remembrance was then given by Reverend Peter Park. Two CalMac ferries entered the bay during the commemoration with the MV Isle of Mull sounding a symbolic blast of its horn at the end.

Oban High School head girl Suzanne Whittle and head boy Finlay Brown. Photograph: Kevin McGlynn
Diarmid MacMillan and Sandy MacLeod from Oban Commercial 180 Masonic Lodge. Photograph: Kevin McGlynn
Police Scotland’s Sergeant Cammy Lowe. Photograph: Kevin McGlynn

Earlier in the week, senior pupils from Oban High School and Tiree High School came together to present an assembly on the history and the importance of  Remembrance Day last week. Students and staff paid their respects, while taking time to pay special tribute to those community members who gave their lives. School captains laid a wreath at the school’s war memorial and headteacher Peter Bain played Last Post and Reveille.

Oban High School paid tribute remembering those from its own community who gave their lives.
The Dalmally War Memorial stands high on a rock above the fast-flowing river Orchy. Led by piper Iain MacIntyre the well-attended march to the memorial was bathed in glorious sunlight. Peter Mills led the words of Remembrance as cold winds tugged at scarfs and lapel poppies. David Deighton and Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Argyll and Bute Allison Davies laid wreaths. The respectful silence was observed with gravitas, the river’s gurgling providing a soundscape. On return to the church the worship was on the theme of peace. Photograph; Andrew Short/Steeve Beesley
Dalmally’s Remembrance Service
Photograph: Andrew Short/Steeve Beesley.

Kilchrenan began its remembrance event with an early morning breakfast at the village hall. Letters from soldiers writing home from the front were read and after a meaningful get together the congregation walked to the war memorial accompanied by piper Iain McIntyre.

“Reverend Tom Telfer led the services at the hall and up at the monument, where there was more pipe music accompanying the celebration. The early morning mist lifted just in time for a wreath laid by Chris Cowley,” reported Wimmie van Rein.

Morning mist lifts at Kilchrenan war memorial.
Reverend Tom Telfer and Piper Iain McIntyre leading the service at Kilchrenan War Memorial.
Kilchrenan began its remembrance tributes with an early breakfast meet in the village hall.

On Seil, a short service was held first in the old graveyard, where children placed crosses at the four Commonwealth War Graves. This was followed by the main Act of Remembrance, led by Fiona Cruikshanks. The piper was DJ MacDougall, the Legion Standard Bearer was Donny Reynolds. Wreaths were laid by Jamie Mellor as Depute Lord Lieutenant on behalf of the King, Peter Hadden for the Easdale Branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland, Ian McDougal for Seil and Easdale Community Council, Ella Bevis and Ruagh Smith for Easdale Primary School, and Fiona MacLarty on behalf of the volunteer fire service.

The gathering at the war memorial was followed by a Remembrance Day service in Kilbrandon Church also led by Fiona Cruickshanks.

Seil gathered to remember lives lost to conflict.
Seil residents make they way to the war memorial.
Wreaths laid at Seil’s war memorial.

Across the Cuan Sound, Luing also paid tribute at its war memorial. Members of the community and the Royal British Legion gathered at Kilchattan Church before being led to the war memorial by piper Innes MacQueen and standard bearer Iain Cruickshanks. During the service, conducted by Fiona Cruickshanks, wreaths were laid by Sandy Shairp for the Royal British Legion Scotland, Micheal Fothergill on behalf of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, and Mary Braithwaite for Luing Community Council .

Piper Innes MacQueen at Luing’s Act of Remembrance.

Kilmelford marked its Remembrance Day with a customary gathering around the war memorial at the village church led by Major Donald Campbell-Baldwin, late Argyll and  Sutherland Highlanders. Volunteer leader Keith Smith laid a wreath on behalf of Kilmelford Community Fire Station, with Sarah-Jane Edwards in attendance representing the Fire Station. Sergeant Pauline Rowell laid a wreath on behalf of Kilmelford and the wider community. As in former years, the piper was Jim Robb, who then led the crowd into church for the service, also conducted by Major Campbell-Baldwin.

Kilmelford Remembrance Day.