Lest we forget: tributes paid to wartime fallen

Standard bearers lower their respective flags at the Wilton Lodge Park war memorial as current and former service personnel look on
Standard bearers lower their respective flags at the Wilton Lodge Park war memorial as current and former service personnel look on

MAJOR Steven Turner had no idea of the chilling significance of his words as he conducted Sunday’s Remembrance Day service at the cenotaph.

The Salvation Army representative spoke of the dangers in the current conflict in Afghanistan and the occurrence of attacks by Afghan security forces on NATO soldiers – so-called green-on-blue incidents.

Just hours later one such attack was confirmed as well as the subsequent death of Captain Walter Barrie, from The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland.

He said: “Afghanistan has always been a volatile country. In this melting pot of tribal and religious conflict, our servicemen and women are seeking to train Afghan nationals to look after their own security.

“Whilst politicians and media commentators debate the reasons for the surge in violence, the men and women of our armed forces continue to work for a secure Afghanistan.”

Although the last of the Great War generation may have gone, there was no sign of diminishing interest as young and old gathered in the heart of Wilton Lodge Park to pay their respects.

Babies in buggies right through to aged pensioners with medals pinned on proudly took their place at the war memorial on what was a beautiful autumn morning.

The strains of Hawick Pipe Band welcomed the marching fraternity to the memorial, led by Major Lou Godfrey and in the company of Sgt Majors Richard Nichol (ex-4th Tanks Regiment) and Ian McLeod (ex-KOSB), although crowds had gathered long before.

Pipe Major Cameron Renwick sounded the Lament and The Last Post echoed from bugler Colin Crozier.

There followed two minutes’ silence, which was impeccably observed and broken, at the end, by Mr Crozier who played The Reveille.

Provost Ron Smith laid the first wreath at the foot of the memorial and was followed by a vast number of people until the area was adorned with a sea of poppies.

The ceremony was conducted with the sounds of Alan Brydon’s song, Calling Doon the Line, in the background as well as music from Hawick Saxhorn Band.

Jim Coltman, chairman of the Royal British Legion Scotland (Hawick branch), who organise the parade along with Hawick Ex-Servicemen’s Club, said: “We would like to express our sincere thanks to everyone who turned out for the parade and to the public in general for being there.

“Also the special contribution made by the cadets who were exceptionally smart and a credit to their unit.”

Following the service, those in the parade marched along the High Street where the salute was taken outside the town hall.

Earlier in the day a service was held at the Boer War Memorial where wreaths were laid.