Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial day KOSB Freedom of Wigtown.

There may not be a Steve Transcription today and we must bid a farewell too to the myspace indie dog. When a person leaves myspace not a trace remains. Their comments, emails, everything all vanish, it is as if that myspacer had never existed. Last night the puppet Indie dog committed suicide sadly...Rip. old dawg.

You might still find him here but not as he was...

From (in reverse order this time,), the ridiculous to the sublime. Did I not say that a piper adds gravitas and weight to an occassion? Final edit.



This is the campaign list of the King's own Scottish Borderers regiment. From which it was awarded over 200 battle honours. My great grandfather served in this regiment during the 14-18. He was from the regiment's historic catchment area. So there is it seems the mad Borderer reiver blood flowing through me too.

"The National Archives record great acts of courage for which Gallantry Medals were awarded. The most prestigious of these is the Victoria Cross, which was instituted by Royal Warrant in 1856 with the words:-

"It is ordained that this Cross shall only be awarded for most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy". The Victoria Cross could be awarded to any officer or man in the British armed services regardless of rank.

The VC is the most highly coveted and valued decoration, which might be awarded for performing a single act of valour in the presence of the enemy. Bars were awarded for subsequent acts of extreme courage. Until 1942, the medallions were made from the bronze of cannons captured from the Russians in the 1854 Crimean War. The award was made available to Colonial forces in 1867 and to the Indian Army in 1911.

Four VCs were awarded to soldiers of the KOSBs during WW1. The accompanying citations are indicative of the great courage involved:..."

And here is Wigtown's son, it's own holder of the highest recognition of bravery that this country can bestow. The Victoria Cross medal. This medal has very few recipients.

"....Louis, (Lewis), McGuffie
On 28 September 1918 near Wytschaete Belgium, during an advance, Sergeant McGuffie entered several enemy dug-outs and, single-handedly, took many prisoners. During subsequent operations he dealt similarly with dug-out after dug-out, forcing one officer and 25 other ranks to surrender. During the consolidation of the first objective, he pursued and brought back several of the enemy who were slipping away and was also instrumental in rescuing some British soldiers who were being led off as prisoners. Later in the day, while commanding a platoon, he took many more prisoners, but this very gallant soldier was subsequently killed by a shell on 4th October 1918. He was aged 24 and the son of Mrs Catherine McGuffie of 1 North Main Street Wigtown. He is buried at the Zandvoorde British Cemetery, Zonnebeke, Belguim. There are 1,583 servicemen of WW1 buried in this cemetery of whom 1,135 have not been identified.


I only mention this seeing as;

a) It is memorial day.
b) I still have my great grandfather's cap badge.
c) The KOSB have just beaten the retreat in the main square at Wigtown.

The "Cosbies" regiment were "raised" - established - in Edinburgh in 1689 and first saw action against Jacobite forces at Killiecrankie. As the folk song has it: "On the braes o' Killiecrankie O." It would take too long to go in with any depth into the long list of campaigns the regiment took part in.

It's now 2006 and the KOSB is about to amalgamate into a "super regiment." The Royal regiment of Scotland. At a stroke over 300 years of tradition, community link, may vanish. The regiments of the British Army have always had a great tradition and loyalty from where they recruit and perhaps none more so than the Scottish regiments. It may seem like military mumbo-jumbo. Battle honours, colours, medals, ritual. This tradition is greatly esteemed. The service man or woman I believe belong to something greater than themselves - almost eternal I suppose?

It is strange, though. I mean a customer came into the shop today and asked to see anything on collecting militaria, medals the like. I had to tell him that my other half is a pacifist and does not deal in such things. Has he not seen the peace pole? Google it!

Tonight in the main square at Wigtown with perhaps Sgt. McGuffie watching over the proceedings, the regiment "beat the retreat." All who were here were treated to an amazing set of slow marches from the military band of the KOSB. Looking as the Gaels would say, "cho spaideil" So smart. Full dress uniform, regalia, tartan, sgian dubh the lot. The last post was sounded. The town square echoed to the stirring sound of Scottish martial pipe music with a 45 minute "set" of splendid jigs and reels culminating finally with the:

"March of the King's own Scottish Borderers."

Then they were gone.

Now I could go into this in yet greater depth but you know what that sounds like, don't you?

The regiment are currently touring the places that served as historic catchment areas in Dumfries and Galloway, Stranraer and Newton Stewart and all of these funny wee places "we know little of."

If you ever come to GB or are a resident and sit and wonder at how every little town has it's war memorial - it is because the life blood of the shires and parishes was taken out of it by the Great War.

I thank Floratina for providing me with a couple more links which if you have read this far may serve further to illuminate.

As something of a pacifist, myself, I find it extremely hard to reconcile personal feelings about violence, aggression, weaponry warfare, militaria and military history - coming as I do from an RAF background - with those of peace and non-violence. Peace poles, Non Violent direct Action, the replacement of Britain's Trident nuclear weapons system "deterrent," with something even more fearsome at Faslane on the Clyde.

Nevertheless we will remember them.


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