Remembering the fallen of Gallipoli

RECORD crowds turned out on Sunday to witness the Callants Club and local ex-servicemen pay special tribute to more than 50 Hawick soldiers who fell during the Battle of Gallipoli.

The annual ceremony – which marks the anniversary of the 1915 conflict at the tip of the Gallipoli Penninsula, which saw more than half the 1/4th (Border Battalion) of The Kings Own Scottish Borderers wiped out – comprised wreaths being laid at both the 1514 and war memorials.

Conducted by the Callants Club for several years now since the Hawick Comrades' Association became depleted in numbers, the commemorative events were attended by KOSB Association representatives including regimental secretary Lt Colonel George Wood, as well as members of the Ex-Servicemen's Association and British Legion, Provost Zandra Elliot and special guest Sir Chay Blyth.

And led by Callants Club president Ian Landles, it was a duty which the passionate Hawick historian felt hugely proud to be carrying out. "It was an honour and extremely humbling to be able to conduct this special ceremony," said Mr Landles. "And having been so closely involved with the battlefield tours for years I probably felt more affinity in doing so than some. On Sunday morning I reread the part of local author Derek Robertson's book about Hawick's invovle-ment at Gallipoli and looked at all the faces of those soldiers, which was very moving."

At 7pm Mr Landles hung the Callants Club wreath – with the wording "In Remembrance of the Hawick Territorials of the 1/4th Kings Own Scottish Borderers who fell bravely charging the Turkish Trenches, Gallipoli, 12th July 1915. The ancient spirit of our fathers hath not gone" – on the 1514 Memorial.

And during the ceremomy president Landles ensured he felt an even stronger connection to the fallen, for he was carrying a skiando, above, which had been in the sock of Hawick man Lieutenant J. B. Innes, when he recieved horrific injuries at Gallipolli on that fateful day.

Mr Landles explained: "I received a phone call out of the blue 20 years ago from a lady in Edinburgh whose father had been the chaffeur for Hawick's Innes family, who stayed at Lindisfarne near the convent. Lieutenant J. B. Innes was found injured during the battle by his cousin W. K. Innes. His arm was just about hanging off and he actually asked his cousin to cut off, which to us is just unimaginable. He sadly died very soon after, but W.K Innes brought the skiando back to Hawick.

"When the Innes' chaffeur retired, they gave him this skiando, but his daughter told me she felt it should be in Hawick and asked if I would give it a good home, and I've had it ever since."

He added: "I had it down my sock yesterday, which certainly provided a very tangible connection to Gallipoli."

After the laying of the wreath, Sir Chay Blyth read the short verse: "They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we shall remember them."

The company then reassembled at the museum to pay its respects at the war memorial, where piper Jim Coltman led the parade two abreast, before Callants president Ian laid the Gallipoli Comdrades Wreath.

The ceremony was brought to a close by Mr Coltman playing a lament, followed by bugler Colin Crozier's Last Post. A minute's silence was then observed, before being broken by piper Jim's Reveille.

All photographs by Alistair Learmonth.