Remembering local heroes in Battle of Loos

Karen Batty (30) (office Manager at St. Georges School for Girls)  is going on a school trip to the First World War Battlefields where her Great Grandfather won the Victoria Cross. Pictured is her great grandfather piper Daniel Laidlaw'30/9/98
Karen Batty (30) (office Manager at St. Georges School for Girls) is going on a school trip to the First World War Battlefields where her Great Grandfather won the Victoria Cross. Pictured is her great grandfather piper Daniel Laidlaw'30/9/98

Special tributes are to be paid this week to Piper Daniel Laidlaw VC - known as ‘The Piper of Loos’ - in Swinton on Friday, September 25 and in Edrom on Sunday, September 27.

This year is the 100th anniversary of Piper Laidlaw receiving the Victoria Cross for his actions during the First World War battle Loos, where he famously piped his company into going over the top. The troops’ nerves about leaving their trenches were compounded as this was the first time that the British had used gas on the battlefield.

The story goes that Laidlaw’s music, which he played even after being wounded, was instrumental in the charge going ahead despite the soldiers suffered from the effects of gas.

Piper Laidlaw’s Victoria Cross commendation cites “most conspicuous bravery” prior to an assault on German trenches near Loos.

Born in 1875 at Little Swinton, Daniel Laidlaw served with the 2nd Battalion, Durham Light Infantry and then the KOSB. At the outbreak of World War One he re-elinsted in the KOSB. He is buried in Norham churchyard.

A special stone will be unveiled at the war memorial in Swinton at 1pm on September 25.

The ceremony will be attended by members of his family, and there will be a short service of commemoration and members of the public are more than welcome to attend.

Meanwhile Edrom Kirk is holding a special Open Day and Memorial Service, reflecting on the battle and also remembering Captain Sir George Houston Boswall, Grenadier Guards, of Blackadder House, who died on Sunday, September 27, 1915, during the assault on Hill 70.

The service at 2pm will include reflections on the life of Sir George by family member Alan Moore, a presentation on Sir George’s military service and the role played by the Grenadier Guards in the Battle of Loos by Col (Retd) Michael Craster, Grenadier Guards, and an account of the heroic service which gained Piper Laidlaw the VC by Lt Col (Retd) George Wood. Kings Own Scottish Borderers.

Wreaths will be laid at the memorial to Sir George in the Blackadder Aisle of Edrom Kirk.

Duns Historical Society will present old photographs. Anyone who has photographs, information or memories is encouraged to make contact so that the society can make this a truly meaningful event.