Thursday, 4 August 2011

New Craigneuk war memorial to be unveiled

From today's Wishaw Press

New Craigneuk war memorial to be unveiled

Aug 3 2011 by Robert Mitchell, Wishaw Press

CRAIGNEUK’S war memorial has sat proudly in the village for decades but the names of the fallen have been missing from it for all that time – until now.

Almost 300 people from Craigneuk died during the two World Wars and the community’s efforts to erect a new monument that pays respect to all of them are about to be realised.

Campaigners spent over three years raising around £65,000 to pay for the specialist work to add the names of the fallen to the cenotaph and the new-look memorial will be unveiled later this month on Saturday, August 27.

Joe O’Raw of Craigneuk War Memorial Group said: “The new addition of walls with the names of the fallen of Craigneuk and Berryhill district who died in the two World Wars and other conflicts is nearing completion.

“The new memorial will be officially dedicated on Saturday, August 27, at 11am but anyone wishing to attend should be at the memorial for 10.30am as a large attendance is expected.”

The memorial group tracked down the records of every person from the area who died during the two World Wars and later conflicts so their names could be added. The 1914-18 war claimed 159 lives from the area, the 1939-45 conflict saw another 84 men make the ultimate sacrifice and two lives were lost in Northern Ireland.

A special panel will be reserved for Victoria Cross holder William Clamp who, although born in Motherwell, was educated at Craigneuk Public School. He was killed when he rushed a machine-gun post in October 1917 at Poelcapelle in Belgium, capturing 20 prisoners before being cut down by a sniper.

Members raised tens of thousands of pounds for the memorial, which sits outside Craigneuk Library, with help from the community. The Environmental Key Fund handed over £30,000, while Orange Lodge members from Wishaw raised around £5000.

Patsy Tait is one of the locals behind the ambitious plan and she told the Wishaw Press: “We want the memorial to become a new focal point for the community, as we feel there’s something missing. For such a small village there’s a lot of war dead and we’d like the fallen to be honoured.

“The memorial is a real focal point for the local community and allows people to pay their respects. We’ve had lots of great feedback on our plans. Lots of children have been saying to us that they will be able to find their great-granddad’s name inscribed on the cenotaph.”

Details of the dedication programme and parking arrangements will be published in the Wishaw Press nearer the day. In the meantime, relatives of the fallen are asked to send their names to the war memorial group, even if they have done so previously.

The group have decided that family of the fallen should carry out the dedication part of the ceremony. While everyone is welcome to attend the event, it was felt the most solemn part should be carried out by relatives.

As there will be so many people there, 18 names will be drawn by the children of Craigneuk Nursery to represent all the relatives of the fallen, which is why the group are asking people to get in touch with their names as soon as possible. There will be six new panels on the memorial. Anyone wishing to lay a wreath after the dedication service will be welcome to do so.

Those wishing to take part in the draw to represent the families are asked to phone either Jean Ewart at Craigneuk Library on (01698) 376689 or Joe O’Raw on (01698) 350945.

Special honour for Victoria Cross winner

ONE of the fallen whose name will appear on the memorial is Victoria Cross winner William Clamp, who was killed when he rushed a machine-gun post in October 1917 at Poelcapelle in Belgium, and captured 20 prisoners before being cut down by a sniper.

For that act of bravery, he was awarded the highest award that can be given to British forces.

Patsy Tait of Craigneuk War Memorial Group said: “He’s not been truly recognised for what he did. There is a road named after him in Craigneuk, but I’m not sure how many people realise that.”

The VC winner was born to Charles and Christina Clamp of Motherwell’s Bridge Street in October 1892, and was educated at Craigneuk School.

He had eight brothers and nine sisters. Clamp also attended the local Salvation Army’s Sabbath School and played the bugle in the Motherwell Corps of the Salvation Army. He later became a member of the Good Templar Lodge.

In January 1914 he joined the 6th Scottish Rifles (Cameronians), the local territorial army unit. On the outbreak of the Great War, he was immediately called up and saw fighting with the 6th Cameronians at Festubert in 1915. He was twice seriously wounded and when he came out of hospital the second time, he was transferred to the 6th Yorkshires in January 1917.

Corporal Clamp won the VC for his bravery at Poelcappelle on October 9, 1917. When an advance was checked by intense machine-gun fire from concrete blockhouses and by snipers, Corporal Clamp attempted to rush the enemy. His first attempt failed and the two men with him became casualties, but he collected some bombs and two more men and, dashing forward, was the first to reach the blockhouse where he hurled his bombs, killing many of the occupants. He then entered, capturing a machine-gun and about 20 prisoners whom he brought back under heavy fire.

He went forward again encouraging his men and displaying the greatest heroism until killed by a sniper.

The memorial will be for all of the village’s war dead however, and the people behind the project hope that it will help transform Craigneuk

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