Saturday, 19 November 2011

Lost & Missing war memorials

Recent posts on the Scottish War Memorials Project have been heartening about the fate of missing war memorials and rolls of honour. Some have definitely been destroyed when a building has been demolished, and some have been thrown away in refurbishment, but as we add to the entries of memorials recorded by the project we are finding more memorials in storage and in private hands.

While some people place no value on them, it's obvious others do. People will happily hold memorials and rolls of honour for now defunct companies, churches and clubs in trust. Sometimes a new home can be found in a local museum but sometimes that is not possible and people just take them home rather than see them sit in a skip.

Even ones which we know have gone forever have sometimes been photographed. Both the St James's church and North Merchiston church in Edinburgh have been demolished but photographs of their war memorials are held by Greenside Church and St Michael's Church.

Killiecrankie School's Roll of Honour may have disappeared, and may never re-appear, but the names it listed were recorded in the local paper at the time and are still known to us today.

And hopefully in the absence of the original memorial a transcription will do.

In 1964 When St George's Church in Charlotte Square merged with St Andrew's on George Street in Edinburgh, St Andrew's was to be the home of the new congregation. The St George's war memorial was built into the fabric of the building so instead of moving it the names were inscribed onto a brass plaque and hung in the renamed St Andrew's and St George's. At St George's in Glasgow City Centre the names are listed on a contemporary glass plate. The original memorial has gone into storage but the most important thing on it, the names, are at least still on public display.

So while Killiecrankie may never get back its original Roll perhaps they can still create a new one with the names of those who never returned, and fulfil the hope of the people of Killiecrankie of 1922 that the names would not be forgotten.

p.s. Another Killiecrankie Roll survives from 1915 which lists those from Blair Atholl and Killiecrankie serving in the Forces.

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