War memorial returns home to Brodick school

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A memorial plaque remembering the eight former Brodick Primary School pupils who died in the First World War has been returned to the school.

Pupils and teachers and braved the light rain and and cold November temperatures at the a moving rededication service that was held last week for the plaque, which now takes pride of place at the school entrance, conducted by the Rev Angus Adamson. The service also honoured  the 126 men from Arran, including the former pupils, who gave their lives during the two world wars.

The memorial plaque had originally been dedicated and unveiled at the school in 1922 by the Marchioness of Graham and visiting dignitaries. It had faded into obscurity, though, having been placed out of sight high above the entrance to the current P1/P2 classroom.

The Arran Heritage Museum was later entrusted with the plaque which it displayed as part of its Remembering the First World War exhibition. After being in its care for two years, the museum offered it back to the school.

Initially thinking the museum was a fitting place for the plaque, the decision was put to the school’s parent council, which decided the plaque should return and should be given renewed prominence which had previously faded and largely been forgotten about.

Parent council member Laura Helliwell, who was a driving force in convincing the school to reclaim ownership of the plaque, spoke to the children about the Brodick youths mentioned on the plaque, many of them lived in Douglas Place and Douglas Row, and other locations immediately familiar to Brodick residents and the young pupils.

She also read a few paragraphs from the original dedication service from 1922 which urged the future guardians of the plaque to protect it in posterity and to guard and honour all those whose names are mentioned on it for giving the ultimate sacrifice for their community and their country.

Rev Adamson concluded the rededication ceremony with a short prayer and, while many of the younger children might not have grasped the importance of the occasion, the message and local relevance certainly had a humbling effect on the older pupils and all those parents and teachers who attended the historic and moving ceremony.

Prior to the service, pupils held a special remembrance assembly where they learned of the impact that wars have had on the young men and women from Arran and the importance of why remembrance is so important. Extolling particularly relevant local knowledge, Rev Adamson cited an example which drove the point home.

At the coronation of King George VI, local youths planted trees around the Brodick cenotaph. Years later, a groundsman, not knowing the relevance of the trees, decided to clean up the cenotaph and cut down them down.

The genesis of the trees had been forgotten but not so by the family whose son had planted one of them all those years ago and who, sadly, died at the age of 14. His family, however, had never forgotten and took a great deal of comfort in seeing those trees ageing over the years. The story of the tragic and unintentional mistake highlighted how easily memories can fade if efforts are not made to remember them.

  • Arran remembers see pages four and five.

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The memorial plaque remembers:

Pte James Barbour, Highland Light Infantry

FQMS John Currie, Royal Scots Greys

Pte Angus Dewar, 3rd Cameron Highlanders

Pte John McAllister, 9th Black Watch

Pte William McIntyre, 9th Black Watch

Pte Hugh N Reid, Royal Scots Fusiliers

Corp George Reside, 4th Argyll and Southern Highlanders

Corp William Watson, Canadians

Pg 1 pix

The First World War memorial plaque honouring the Brodick primary pupils who perished during the war now has pride of place at the entrance to the school. 01_B46BPS01

The whole school attended the rededication and remembrance ceremony.01_B46BPS02

Pg 2 pix

Rev Angus Adamson speaks to the school pupils about the importance of remembrance during a special remembrance assembly. 01_B46BPS03

Rev Angus Adamson rededicates the memorial plaque with all of the teachers and pupils in attendance. 01_B46BPS04