Duns men sing out Gallipoli tribute

It was one of the darkest days for the Borderers, one remembered at rideouts and summer festivals across the region.

Now the loss of local men at the battle of Gallipoli in 1915 has been commemorated in song.

SBBN June 2015 DUns Gallipoli song

SBBN June 2015 DUns Gallipoli song

Duns’ David Scott usually pens a poem or song for the Reiver’s Week celebrations, and this year he partnered up with Ian Aitchison, former Chief Marshall, on a song to mark the centenary of Gallipoli and the local men who fell there.

The song, The Borders Boys Kept Comin’ will be taken across to the memorial at Helles, on the Gallipoli peninsula, by Hawick men attending the centenary services there.

“The battle has become known in some circles as the Black day of the Borders, comparable to Flodden and other battles of the First World War.

“I thought, well, we have all these songs about Flodden, and other battles, so why don’t we have one for Gallipoli?

“It’s a very sad song,” added David. “We hope that while they’re over there, on the bus to the service, or afterwards, that they might sing it,or even just have it going around their heads.”

Duns lost nine men in the charge on Gallipoli. There were also fatalities from Castrum, Coldingham, Abbey St Bathans and Ayton.

“And these weren’t the full time soldiers,” explained David. “They were in what was called the territorials - the 4th battalion of the KOSB in particular, who lost around 360 men in less than an hour.”

Among those lost Company Sergeant Major John Wood a postman from Easter Street.

Also sent to take the Turkish trenches at Gallipolil was his brother. They lost two cousins, Archie and Glen, who lived in Galashiels, in the battle.

“We’re not wanting any financial contributions for this,” David went on, “songs are meant for singing.

“I have sent it out, and also had requests for it from KOSB reunion officers and the like, up and down the country.

“I think that you see the modern day version of the camaraderie these boys must have felt in the summer festivals, where all the Borderers are up singing their songs and riding together.

“We will remember them. It is their right. It is our duty.”