Respect is paid to those who sacrificed their lives

Remembrance Sunday service in Coldstream
Remembrance Sunday service in Coldstream

Services across Berwickshire have been held to remember the fallen from the First World War and other conflicts since then.

The approaching centenary anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War gave Remembrance Day services renewed poignancy as towns and villages across the county fell silent on Sunday morning at 11am and on Monday, November 11, at 11am for the traditional two minutes’ silence.

Parades were held in Duns, Eyemouth and Coldstream on Remembrance Sunday, villages holding their own services at their war memorials. The ultimate sacrifice paid by so many local men over the past century was also marked by a respectful silence in schools.

Alistair Birkett, a member of the chaplaincy team at Berwickshire High School, where a ceremony included the lowering of the flag, poetry readings, a short prayer and a time of silent reflection at 11am, said: “Today’s schools are busy places, rightly focused on academic achievement and quality learning opportunities, yet surely the short time taken to mark this important occasion must be applauded, and hopefully the value of this event in the lives of the students will more than make up for taking half an hour out of timetabled lessons.”

Councillor John Greenwell, the armed forces and veterans champion for the Scottish Borders, said: “Remembrance day is always a special time for me, all ex-serviceman and women and serving soldiers, remembering their comrades that are no longer with us.

“Not only servicemen and women, but families that have suffered the loss of loved ones during wars over the last 100 years gather on Remembrance Day to stand in silence to pay respect to those that never returned, those that paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to Queen and country.

“It was indeed a great honour for me to take part in Coldstream’s Remembrance Day parade.

“Coldstream is steeped in military history. This year we have commemorated 500 years since the battle of Flodden. Next year we will be commemorating 100 years since the outbreak of the World War I, so marching through Coldstream with many of the uniformed units from Coldstream and beyond was a very special moment for me.

“I was especially pleased to see wreaths laid by some of the younger groups such as The Boys Brigade, Girl Guides, and some of the old and bold such as the 1513 Club, the community council, KOSB, RBLS women’s section and many other groups. To lay the wreath this year on behalf of Veterans Scotland was indeed a great honour – the first time that this had been laid in Coldstream.”

The Remembrance Service at Foulden War Memorial on Sunday, conducted by the Reverend Christine Taylor, marked the 30th year since services were re-introduced at the war memorial.

The wreath was laid by 89-year-old Peter Daniel, who served in the Royal Navy on the dangerous Arctic Convoys and earlier this year received the Arctic Star. For the first time, the two minutes’ silence was signalled by trumpeter Danny Sanders, of Foulden, sounding the Last Post.

On Saturday there was a good crowd at Whitsome to see the re-dedication of the war memorials which have been re-sited from Whitsome Kirk to the gates of the village graveyard.

Reverend Alan Cartwright led the service and the whole congregation joined in the reading of the names on the memorials as part of the re-dedication service.

A number of people also returned to the new war memorial site on Monday, November 11, to observe two minutes’ silence.