Tommies’ sculptures to stand watch over communities

Photograph Jamie Forbes 20.7.18 Kirkintilloch. Dedication of Victoria Cross Memorial Stone for John Meikle.
Photograph Jamie Forbes 20.7.18 Kirkintilloch. Dedication of Victoria Cross Memorial Stone for John Meikle.

East Dunbartonshire will mark the centenary of the end of the First World War with a number of special events taking place across the area.

In November, three sculptures – known as Tommies – will go on display across East Dunbartonshire after the council agreed to support the national ‘There but not there’ campaign to remember the fallen from the First World War.

Photograph Jamie Forbes 20.7.18 Kirkintilloch. Dedication of Victoria Cross Memorial Stone for John Meikle.

Photograph Jamie Forbes 20.7.18 Kirkintilloch. Dedication of Victoria Cross Memorial Stone for John Meikle.

The Tommies, specially designed six foot sculptures depicting silhouettes of soldiers, will be placed in the Community Hub buildings in Bearsden, Bishopbriggs and Kirkintilloch before being moved to the towns’ war memorials for Remembrance Day.

The Tommie in Kirkintilloch will stand watch in 
Barleybank – next to St Mary’s Church – over the memorial paving stone dedicated to 
the town’s Sergeant John Meikle.

The paving stone was unveiled earlier this year in a special ceremony presided over by the Depute Lieutenant of Dunbartonshire, Reverend Mark Johnstone of nearby St Mary’s Church.

Sgt Meikle was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross in July 1918 in recognition of his bravery during bitter fighting in France during the Great War.

The 19-year-old, who was born in Freeland Place, Kirkintilloch, was one of just 627 people to be awarded the medal during the 
conflict.

An exhibition, which featured a copy of Sgt Meikle’s Victoria Cross citation and other First World War memorabilia, was on display in the lobby of William Patrick Library in the town earlier this year. East Dunbartonshire Provost Alan Brown said: “John Meikle’s brave actions should never be forgotten.”

One of East Dunbartonshire’s best-known buildings will also be temporarily 
turning red to mark the 2018 Scottish Poppy Appeal.

The Kirkintilloch Community Hub and William Patrick Library building will be bathed in red light 
from Thursday, November 1, until Sunday, November 11, which is Remembrance Sunday.

An exhibition exploring the impact of the First World War on East Dunbartonshire through the stories of local servicemen, nurses and civilians will be on display at
libraries across the area 
from November 3 until 
November 24.

The exhibition content has been gathered over the past three years as part of the East Dunbartonshire’s War project by volunteers and staff from the 
East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture Trust’s 
archives and local studies collections.

Experts from the Scottish Military Research Group will be coming to do a Family History drop-in session on Saturday, November 10, from noon to 4pm at Milngavie Library to help you find out more about your First World War relatives.

Pupils from Turnbull High School in Bishopbriggs, and Boclair Academy in Bearsden, will be taking part in the Theatre of Remembrance project organised by The Scottish Council on Archives.

The students will work together to develop scripts directly from First World War diaries, letters and archive material before delivering a public performance for their local communities in November.

A Festival of Remembrance to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of hostilities in the First World War will be held at St Mary’s Church in Kirkintilloch on Saturday, November 10, at 4.15pm.

The event will be attended by East Dunbartonshire Council Provost Alan Brown and other community representatives and will be followed by refreshments.

The area will once again mark Remembrance Sunday (November 11) with services – organised by local churches and community councils – held in Auchinairn, 
Baldernock, Bishopbriggs, Kirkintilloch, Lennoxtown, Milngavie, Milton of Campsie, Torrance, Twechar and Woodilee.

A service organised by the council will also be held at the War Memorial, Bearsden Cross, commencing at approximately 10.40am, and will be led by the Rev. John Craib of Bearsden Baptist Church.

Provost Brown said: “As we prepare to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War these events give us all a chance to come together to commemorate the conflict and reflect on the devastating impact it had on our communities.

“On the centenary of the Armistice we will give thanks for peace and for those that returned, and pay tribute to those men and women who lost their lives in the service of their country.

“Together we will fall silent to remember them.”