In continuation of a ceremony which dates back to 12 July 1916, Members of Hawick Callants Club met last Sunday, to lay wreaths in commemoration of the men from Hawick and District who served with the 1/4th (Borders) Battalion of the King's Own Scottish Borderers and lost their lives on the Gallipoli peninsula 100 years ago, in July 1915.
The Club was joined by Honorary Provost Stuart Marshall, over 20 members of local Ex-Service Associations and for this Centenary Year, Professor Norman Drummond CBE FRSE, Chair of WW100 Scotland Commemorations Panel and John Crowe, President of Gallipoli and Dardanelles International. Wreaths were laid at both the 1514 Memorial and War Memorial.
The first wreath, on behalf of the Callants Club, was laid by Club Vice President Bernie Armstrong at 1.30 pm at the 1514 Memorial with the verse from Laurence Binyon's poem For the Fallen being recited by Rev. Michael Scouler.
The party then reassembled at the Wilton Lodge Park gates at 2.00pm for a parade, where Bernie Armstrong thanked all those attending. The parade organised by Club Treasurer Scott Elliot and led by piper Colin Turnbull, playing the KOSB march Blue Bonnets over the Border and Horn player Colin Crozier marched to the War Memorial, where Hawick Saxhorn Band, with musical Director Alan Fernie and Bandmaster Greig Murray, played a selection of World War I music prior to the arrival of the parade.
Earlier in the morning Gordon Webber, Parks Event Manager, assisted by Club Members placed 132 crosses, one for each man who died, next to the War Memorial.
In this Centenary year a service was held to remember the men of Hawick and District who died as a result of the Gallipoli campaign.
A very poignant, emotional and fitting tribute was lead by Club Chaplain, Rev Charles Finnie, who began with a prayer for those who died. This was followed by Ex-Cornet and Club Past President, A. Philip Murray reciting the poem, Gallipoli-12 July 1915by George Hope Tait, which tells of the disaster of the battle at Achi-Baba where some 60 Hawick men of the1st/4th K.O.S.B were killed on the first day of battle, and was read at the first wreath laying in 1916.
The Roll of Honour of the 132 names was then read by Club Council Members David Chapman, Neil Anderson and Ex-Cornet Jamie Richardson in groups of 12, followed by a wreath being laid. The Gallipoli Comrades Association Wreath was laid by Vice President Bernie Armstrong of Hawick Callants Club, followed by Hawick Hon Provost's Council Wreath laid by Hon Provost Stuart Marshall.
Other wreaths laid this year were:
Past President Dr Charlie Oliver then recited the verse from Laurence Binyon's poem For the Fallen. The Lament 'The Flooers o' the Forest' by piper Colin Turnbull and Last Post by Colin Crozier were followed by Two Minutes Solemn Silence and then Reveille.
Rev Charles Finnie continued with readings from scriptures and a prayer before Psalm 23 was sung with music by Hawick Saxhorn Band. This Psalm was of special significance to this ceremony as it was sung by 1/4th KOSB after the Roll Call on the day in July 1915 when the Battalion suffered over 500 casualities.
There then followed the Benediction and National Anthem played by the Saxhorn Band.
The Ceremony ended with Colin Turnbull, playing Scotland the Brave, and Colin Crozier leading the Chaplain, Wreath Layers and Orators back to the Museum.
The Club are indebted to Club Member Colin Blaikie for an excellent sound system and to Ex-Cornet's Lass Gillian Paterson of The Flower Pot who prepared the two Wreaths around which KOSB Tartan Ribbon is entwined.
Many of those attending the Ceremony followed the Saxhorn Band to the Elliot Bandstand for an afternoon of music, while others searched the rows of crosses for their relatives.
The Callants Club are indebted to teacher Lynne Finnie and the P6 pupils of Burnfoot Community School who inscribed the names on the crosses made by Lily of the Valley, as part of a School project on the First World War and also to Richardson & Son Printers who produced laminated photos/pen portraits of 116 soldiers from records collated by Shaureen Lammie of Hawick Museum.
Descendants and relatives of those who died, who wish to have the cross with their relatives name can inform the museum, who hold a copy of the Roll of Honour, and they will be able to collect the crosses up until Sunday 26 July 2015. Thereafter they should contact Council Members of Hawick Callants Club or The Club Website.
As part of the centenary commemorations this year, a party of some 20 Callants Club members and friends lead by President Frank Scott and organised by Past President Derick Tait have been visiting the Gallipoli peninsula to pay their respects during the last 10 days.
Hon Secretary Brian Tait said 'I am really proud that the ceremonies organised by Hawick Callants Club this year, and especially the one at the War Memorial, were an exceptionally fitting tribute to the many men from Hawick and District who did not return from Gallipoli. I have received complimentary comments from those who were proud to have taken part, from members of the public who had attended the ceremonies in large numbers and from those who were impressed with the rows of crosses at the War Memorial.'
Brian Tait: 14 July 2015
Here Callants once at Flodden's fight
Renowned for deeds of matchless might
When Scotland's valour sank in night
Shone Hawick's on the Border.
And long as Hornshole Brig shall stand
That trusty valour through the land
Shall tell the story proud and grand
Of Hawick on the Border.
J L Hercus