Gala Water valley will pay its own special tribute in remembrance of the sacrifices made during the four “lost years”, 1914 to 1918.
The villages of Stow, Fountainhall and Heriot have three World War One commemorative events taking place during November, led by GWHHA (Gala Water History and Heritage Association),
Two of these events: a book launch and a play will be held on the evening of November 11, at Stow Town Hall, from 7.30pm.
The third, an exhibition, will be held on Saturday, November 17 from 12.00 to 3.30pm, again in Stow Town Hall.
The book, Gala Water in the First World War, by Fraser Simm, covers the stories of the men from the valley who went to serve their country and how local life changed while they were away. Four years’ research has gone into completing the book and it is one of the few books about local history in the area since Thomas Wilson’s history of Stow of Wedale, published in 1922.
Following the book launch is a short play written by Nettie Simm, titled “And a Blackbird Sang”. The play tells the story – in words and music – of the Gala Water during the war; the story centres on the men from Stow and the surrounding houses and farms, (such as Corsehope, Burnhouse, Cathpair, Torsonce and Torquhan) which feature in the book.
It adds local flavour, humour and pathos to their story; and songs of the time, will be interspersed throughout the story, sung by the cast, accompanied by Ruth Flavin (harp) and Nick Flavin (melodion). The performance of the play will be the first and only time it can be seen. The cast, which includes children, are all local residents.
The music theme continues after the play, with community singing led by Stuart Anderson.
Admission to both events (book launch and play) is £5, children £2.
Finally, there will be an exhibition on November 17, displaying over 100 items relating to the war, from letters, photographs and stories to household items and military equipment and artefacts. Highlights include a beautiful tapestry of the Stow war memorial, a Flanders Field newspaper, embroidered postcards and war bandages and a commemorative tea cosy.
Entry to the exhibition on November 17 is free. Enquiries for all events to 07906 388354.