Hawick to host service to honour fallen of First World War

Hawick's Common Haugh.
Hawick's Common Haugh.

The near-700 servicemen from Hawick killed in the First World War are to be remembered at a poignant centenary service in the town later this month.

This autumn will see a range of special services to mark 100 years since the Allies and Germans’ guns finally went silent at the end of the 1914-to-1918 conflict.

Alan Brydon.

Alan Brydon.

In total 690,235 Scots served in the Great War, and more than 100,000 lost their lives.

In Hawick alone, 693 men died, and the town’s branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland plans to remember them all with a drumhead service at the Common Haugh on Sunday, September 16, from 2pm.

The service will replicate those held on the front line during the First World War, when, in long-held military tradition, piles of drums with draped colours were used in place of altars.

The salute at the subsequent march past will be taken by legion president Alistair Irwin, and the service will be conducted by the Reverend Michael Scouler, previously an Army chaplain and now chaplain at the Borders General Hospital in Melrose.

The Hawick Saxhorn Band will lead the parade, and a massed band made up of various Borders pipe bands will also perform.

Although the service will reflect on all those who lost their lives in the war, those from the Borders will be at the forefront of the thoughts of those present.

The memorial event will also feature the first public performance of the song Always a Borderer by Hawick musician Alan Brydon in memory of members of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers killed during the Great War.

Former legion chairman John Aitken added: “Sunday, September 16, will be a memorable occasion for Hawick and the Scottish Borders as people of all ages reflect on the end of the First World War, a war that was meant to to end all wars and resulted in the deaths of so many.

“The event will give a sense of what a drumhead service would have meant to the troops who served in the First World War and allows us, 100 years later, to remember and give thanks for their courage.”

Young and old are welcome to attend the event, including veterans from all services.

It is the only drumhead service planned in the Borders this year and the first to be held in Hawick for over 20 years.

The last to be staged in the town was in 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.