Veterans Day Events in Kelso 2008
Veterans Day Events
Scottish Borders Council and Royal British Legion joined forces to celebrate Veterans Day in the Scottish Borders. Veterans Day is both a celebration of the contribution by all those who have served in the Armed Forces and a means of raising public awareness of Veterans issues
The afternoon of war poetry was made very special by the reading of poems written by a WW2 Veteran who came along to the event. His account in verse of the retreat of Dunkirk expressed the fear, agony and pride experienced. David Grant delighted the audience with his recitation of Robert Service poems. Other readers shared their favourite war poems, some humorous, some sad yet all thought provoking, from various conflicts.
The Kelso branch of the Royal British Legion was the venue for an illustrated talk by Kevin Laidlaw. His well researched subject was his great grandfather, Piper Daniel Laidlaw V.C. Kevin painted a portrait of the man – a regular soldier who re-enlisted just as the storm clouds of World War 1 had gathered. Piper Laidlaw won his VC at the battle of Loos in 1915 for conspicuous bravery by mounting the parapet and marching up and down, he carried on piping toward the German lines even after he was injured. Kevin gave a very poignant account of the 2005 visit to Loos to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the battle.
Friday evening saw a wealth of Border talent appear at the Tait Hall, Kelso at a concert narrated by Alasdair Hutton, the renowned presenter of tattoos around the world. After a parade of standards, first to delight the audience was Graeme Tinlin with his Border Ballads and his rendition of Grannies soup. The Tracey Graham dancers performed two numbers, Borders Jig and Borders Reel, whilst Tracey enthralled with her solo dance.
The audience was privileged to hear Lt Col Willie Swinton, commanding officer of the Scots Guards in Iraq give an account of what life in action feels like for our regular troops.
The Selkirk Silver Band under Colin Kemp played various numbers to get the feet tapping and also accompanied the standards, hymn and National Anthem
Volunteer soldiers were represented by Dr Cath Livingstone an anaesthetist at the Borders General Hospital who is also a Senior Medical Officer with the rank of Major in 225 GS Scottish Medical Regiment based in Dundee. Cath gave an illustrated account entitled a Volunteer at the sharp end based on her experiences in the Iraq war zone.
Alan Brydon sang his own composition Callin Doon the Line, a powerful song about pipers in World War 1, he then performed the song The Road to Passchendaele, commissioned for the 2007 opening of the memorial at the battlefield. Alan was very ably accompanied by piper Roddy McIntyre who also played a set of competition tunes on the pipes.
Poetry written by Kelso High School pupils inspired by a recent trip to the French battlefields recorded and accompanied by images was played at the event.
Major Alexander Trotter presented Veterans Badges to;
Lt Col Roger Binks
Major Cath Livingstone
Captain Peter Grey
Captain the Hon Gerald Maitland - Carew
He then presented Katie Douglas and Tiffany MacTaggart with their prizes won in the essay competition. Tiffany very ably said a few words to express thanks for my freedom – the subject of the competition.
The Rev. John Shields gave a short act of reflection and the evening was rounded off by Alasdair Hutton before the standards were marched away.
Veterans Day Events in Kelso 2008, Scotland