Thursday, 25 August 2011

Motivated by family's sacrifice

We've covered the story of the Cranston family on the blog before.

Here is an update from the East Lothian Courier

Motivated by family's sacrifice

Bryan Copland • Published 25 Aug 2011

A DESCENDANT of a Haddington family which was decimated during the First World War will next month travel to the town from Australia in his quest to have the family's loss commemorated.

Stuart Pearson, from Sydney, Australia, is a distant relative of the Cranston family - which lost four of its nine sons at war and another two were horrifically injured. Only one of the seven who went to war returned unscathed.

It is widely believed that this may rank among the most significant sacrifices made by a Scottish family in the Great War.

Mr Pearson has never been to Scotland before but has been in regular contact with local author and historian Bob Mitchell - with whom he is co-writing a book about the Cranstons - as well as the town's community council and East Lothian councillors.

A reunion of all the Scottish descendants of the Cranstons will take place on Saturday, September 17, while another Australian descendant will also attend.

While here, Mr Pearson also wants to discuss the possibility of an appropriate memorial to the family.

Mr Pearson has previously suggested that a stone cairn, or naming a street or local park after the family, would be a suitable tribute - though Haddington Community Council has been reluctant to provide a dedicated memorial without putting the loss into context, as it is concerned it may overshadow other families' losses during the war.

Mr Pearson said: "A previous request [for a memorial] was declined but this Antipodean descendant would like another opportunity to present his case, this time in person.

"It is my opinion that this remarkable Haddington family who made such an extraordinary (perhaps unprecedented) sacrifice, suffered such devastation yet ultimately survived should have their story told. They should be commemorated in writing and in stone.

"As we near the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, I hope that a memorial to the Cranston family could become a metaphor for every Scottish family's loss during that terrible event."

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