Saturday, 5 December 2009

Scotland and the Spanish Civil War

The West of Scotland Branch of the Historical Association will be hosting a talk by Daniel Gray entitled Scotland and the Spanish Civil War next Tuesday 8th December 2009 at 5.30pm, in the Dyer Room at the Mitchell Library. The talk will be based on Gray's book “Homage to Caledonia”, in which he has collated extensive research from first hand sources on the conflict.

(Thanks to Chris Paton at the Scottish Genealogy Blog for the heads up!)

Thursday, 3 December 2009

New Headstone for Gordon Highlander

From the Press and Journal, 3rd December 2009.

THE grave of a Grantown World War I veteran that has been marked by two cockleshells for more than 50 years, is to be given a proper headstone for the first time.

Kenny “Cockles” MacKenzie, who served with the Gordon Highlanders, survived the conflict after seeing action in France, before also serving in India.

He returned to Grantown where he is said to have lived a solitary life until his death in 1955.

There was no money to pay for a headstone, but shortly after Mr MacKenzie’s death two cockleshells were placed on his grave and have remained there ever since.

Glenfeshie-born Mr MacKenzie was known locally as Kenny Cockles, possibly because of the seashells which he kept along the front of his home in Grantown.

Leonard Grassick, of South Street, Grantown, who was a Seaforth in the Queen’s Own Highlanders, and the Royal Naval Association, have now announced plans for a headstone to mark Mr MacKenzie’s grave. Mr Grassick as a lad used to deliver groceries to Mr MacKenzie, and was one of the few people allowed in his cottage. He said: “He was a character and a worthy from Grantown who deserves to be remembered properly as a brave soldier.”

Mr Grassick said it was hoped that the stone, which is expected to cost £600 and will be inscribed with two cockleshells, would be unveiled at Easter. The local branch of the Royal British Legion have already made a contribution to the stone.

As an aside, I would hope that the new headstone will incorporate the cockleshells which have marked his grave until now.