THREE GENERATIONS WILL COMMEMORATE BORDERERS’ SACRIFICE AT THE SOMME
A 3 generation party from past, present and possibly future soldiers from the King’s Own Scottish Borderers are about to conduct a pilgrimage, to commemorate one of the most tragic battles of the war.
KOSB veterans, current members of 1 SCOTS and school pupils and staff from Queen Victoria School Dunblane, will visit The Somme battlefields in France from 31 Aug – 5 September, to mark the 100th anniversary of the battle. The 35 strong group will spend five days at the battlefields, seeing just where the soldiers of the KOSB laid down their lives, and visiting their graves and memorials.
Included in the party will be Liz Howard, the great grand daughter of Cpl Richard Howard, killed at the attack on Faffemont Farm, near Combles, by our 2nd Battalion on 3 Sep 1916. They took 187 casualties in one hour.
Lt Col Andy Middlemiss, one of the trip’s organisers, said he believed it will serve a valuable purpose:
“Everyone associates The Somme with 1 July and “Going Over the Top,” but actually the battle lasted 141 days,” he said “The courage and sacrifice of the British, French and Colonial troops must never be forgotten . On the first day our 1st Battalion took 548 casualties in an hour and a half, and effectively ceased to be a viable Battalion . We want to see the actual soil where our forebears fell in such terrible numbers, and we want to commemorate their memory in this trip.”
Pipey Gordon Ross- who served with the Gordons –Pipe Major at QVS Dunblane said:
“The children, who are coming with us, are not much younger than many of the fallen Jocks, and it’s going to be incredibly emotional for all of us to see where these very young men fell. We mustn’t forget that it would have been horrendous for those on the homefront too. The worst bit was probably the not knowing, and the length of time it took to get any hard information and news. We at QVS are thrilled and honoured to go. ”
Lieutenant Calum Duncan- leading the party from 1 SCOTS says:
“ The Somme is one of our main battle honours, and for today’s Jocks to walk precisely in the footsteps, on the ground, of the 1916 Jocks is going to be incredibly special. We must learn from what happened, we want to honour our forebears, and most importantly, we must talk about it in the future. It is a real privilege for the 6 of us to have been chosen by the Colonel to represent the Jocks of 100 years ago.”
After 4 and a half months hard fighting, with appalling casualties, both from disease and combat, the battle ceased , mainly due to the appalling winter in France that year . Hundreds of thousands had already paid the ultimate price with their lives. The KOSB lost over 2000 killed, and thousands more badly wounded or sick.
For Ian Gibbs, whose Uncle, Capt Alick Herries of the 2nd Battalion was killed at High Wood on 22 July, (pictured below with his father and grand father) this pilgrimage will be a powerful tribute to those who fell:
“It is important to remember that these men of the KOSB, and thousands of others on both sides, showed incredibly bravery in terrible conditions.” he said “So, the conclusion of our trip will be a small ceremony at the huge Thiepval Memorial, with 4 pipers, prayers from Padre Blakey and readings. It is going to be really moving to be there, to remember, and to see what was lost in human sacrifice. For all of us, the young school children, the serving soldiers from 1 SCOTS, and us “Old and Bold Borderers” -this is going to be a trip of a lifetime. We are really grateful to Legion Scotland for helping us fund this trip, with a generous grant from their WW1 Commemorations Fund.
Further details are posted in the Members Area at “BORDERERS BATTLEFIELD TOUR OF THE SOMME”
Always a Borderer