Archives » War Memorials

Markinch War Memorial

The plaque on this side, nearest the road, commmemorates the First World War. The individuals’ names are set into the stone plinths surmounting the surrounding walls.

The plaque on the far side commemorates the Second World War and incorporates the names of the fallen of that war, including a woman from the ATS – perhaps a ferry pilot.

Edited to add: I’ve now had a chance to look at the Scottish War Memorials Project and it says that Betsy L Wyse was a private in the Auxiliary Territorial Service.

Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery

The Museum and Art Gallery was gifted to the town by linoleum manufacturer John Nairn as part of the Memorial to the dead of the Great War. The building also houses Kirkcaldy Library.

The building lies behind the memorial here:-

Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery

From right:-

Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Galleryfrom right

The old entrance to the Museum and Art Gallery is to the left of the building. The Great War Memorial cenotaph structure obscures that entrance here:-

ld Entrance to Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery

This entrance (previously the Library entrance only) now serves for both the Library and the Art Gallery and Museum:-

Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery, New Entrance

Dedication inscription on Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery building (between the two entrances):-

Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery Wording

Traquair War Memorial

A traditional Celtic Cross constuction but with only a small circle in the stone. Situated at the junction of the B 709 and B 7062 at the edge of Traquair in the Borders; about 7 miles from Peebles.

There seems to be only one name for World War 2 (on the additional plaque at the foot of the cross.)

Traquair War Memorial

West Linton War Memorial

West Linton is in the former Peeblesshire, now subsumed into the Tweeddale area of the Scottish Borders. The good lady had wanted to visit there as it has a second-hand bookshop (which we found also sells new books.) She bought an illustrated book called Through Merrie England by F L Stevens – illustrations by Francis D Bedford. It was inscribed Ann G Nelson, 1929.

We had a wander round the village after our rummage in the bookshop and I came across the War Memorial.

It is situated in front of a church in a well kept triangle between Lower Green and Main Street, West Linton.

West Linton War Memorial

This close-up shows the cenotaph-like construction.

West LintonWar Memorial Close

Great War (upper) plaque:-

West Linton, War Memorial, WW 1

WW2 (lower) plaque:-

West Linton, War Memorial  WW 2 names

Biggar War Memorial

Situated prominently at the south end of the High Street in an enclosed space with colourful planting. (In the background to the right here you can see the Deco hairdresser’s I featured in an earlier post.)

Biggar War Memorial

This is a close up. The finial is unusual:-

Biggar War Memorial 2

And this the reverse angle showing a bit of the High Street:-

Biggar War Memorial reverse angle

The coat of arms on this side of the memorial has the wording, “Let the deed skaw.” According to this website that is the motto for Fleming of Clayquhat, Perth. I’m at a loss to know what exactly “skaw” means.

Cranstoun War Memorial

Acording to the Scottish War Memorials Project this is the War Memorial for Cranstoun and Pathhead.

It lies apparently in the middle of nowhere at the junction of the A 68 and A 6093 just north of Pathhead, East Lothian.

Cranstoun War Memorial

The front bears the First World War names. On the sides are the names for WW2.

Cranstoun War Memorial from side.

This side – unusually for a War Memorial – bears the name of a woman, Lucy Walker.

Cranstoun War Memorial Close Up


Today is the 500th anniversary of the most disastrous encounter between the forces of Scotland and England in history. (Bigger even than the 9-3 reverse at Wembley only 50 years ago. But that was a mere football match.)

On the 9th Sep 1513 14,000 men died on a battlefield in Northumbria. 10,000 of those were Scots – including most of the Scottish nobility and even the King, James IV, himself, the last British king to die in battle. The Battle of Flodden Field was at one and the same time the biggest clash of arms between the two countries plus it was the last mediæval and first modern battle on British soil. Never again was the longbow to be a major weapon, never before had artillery been employed.

My memories of reading about this were that it was an unnecessary tragedy as James had only invaded Northumbria as a sop to the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France. England’s king, Henry VIII had gone to war with France and Louis XII had appealed to the Scots king. One of the peculiarities of this situation is that James’s wife was Henry’s sister, Margaret. She had apparently asked him merely to “break a lance” to honour his obligations. I doubt that she thought he would not return.

Reading the BBC History magazine a couple of weeks ago it turns out that Henry VIII’s father, Henry VII, aware of his tenuous right to the English throne had foregone the English claim to Scotland and signed the Treaty of Perpetual Peace. Henry VIII had no such inhibitions – or else was eager to bolster his own position – and had recently reasserted England’s overlordship over Scotland. James, then, in effect, had no option but to stand up to Henry.

His initial efforts were successful, taking three castles in short order. He then set up a strong fortified position on Flodden Hill and awaited the English forces. The English commander, Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, apparently accepted battle on James’s chosen ground. However, being out of favour with Henry, he was desperate for a victory and instead of attacking at Flodden Hill, he made a flanking manœuvre, interposing his army between the Scots and the border. James was furious at this unchivalric behaviour and had to make a quick redeployment to Branxton Hill instead. Perhaps it was this anger that led to his lack of judgement in the battle. Wikipedia has the details of this dispute over the proposed battleground slightly differently.

Flodden Memorial from path
Flodden Memorial from path.

Flodden Memorial

The plaque reads, “Flodden 1513. To the Brave of Both Nations.”

The Scots artillery was heavier but more cumbersome and so less effective but at the beginning of the battle the Scots left completely overran the English right (if only!) and retired from the battlefield expecting the rest of the army to achieve overall victory. In the centre, however, things did not go so well. From their position on Branxton Hill the Scots could not see the boggy ground in the declivity between the lines.

Flodden Memorial. View to Branxton Hill

Flodden Memorial. View to Branxton Hill. From English start line.

Flodden Memorial from Scottish line

Flodden Memorial from Scottish line. Memorial is just left of centre here.

The Scottish Start Line at Flodden
The Scottish start line at Flodden.

The Scots infantry, armed with long pikes, whose efficiency had been proved in European battles, soon lost the essential formation necessary for success as they slipped and slid on the uncertain footing. The pikes also could not be anchored securely due to the underground conditions so were useless defensively. The English infantry, armed with much shorter billhooks, waded in to bloody effect. Dead bodies and blood soon made the conditions even worse.

Flodden Information Board

To their credit, as one of the information boards on the Battlefield Trail says, the Scots did not cut and run, but bravely fought on.

The memorial, built in 1910, is inscribed to the brave of both nations. I have been told the only other battle memorial to acknowledge both armies is at Quebec but cannot confirm this.

There is an information centre – in a red telephone booth – in Branxton village. It claims to be the smallest information centre in the world.

Flodden Information  Centre

James had been making his court and kingdom one of the most cultured in Europe, and Scots into a major European language. That process came to an abrupt end on his death.

The result of the battle at Flodden, the subsequent decline of Scotland’s influence, is probably the main reason why this post is being written in English rather than Scots.

The irony is that, despite the result of the battle, it was not Henry VIII’s descendants that would unify the crowns of Scotland and England and be monarchs of the UK but rather James’s, through his marriage to Margaret, their son James V and granddaughter Mary Queen of Scots, down to her son James VI and I.

The disaster is said to have inspired the traditional Scottish lament for the fallen, Floo’ers o’ the Forest,” sung here as The Flowers o’ the Forest by Isla St Clair.

Greenlaw War Memorial

Greenlaw is a village in the Scottish Borders just north of Coldstream on the A 697 to Edinburgh. The simple and dignified war memorial is set by the roadside in front of the quite imposing Town Hall.

Greenlaw War Memorial

The Great War names are on the main plaque, World War 2 names are below. If you look closely you can see the wording “The Great Wars” has economically had the “s” added at some point; presumably along with the second plaque.

Greenlaw War Memorial Plaques

Kelso War Memorial

The memorial is sited in a lovely garden hard by the Abbey.

Kelso Abbey + War Memorial

The memorial centres around a pedestal surmounted by a cross. This is flanked by stone walls bearing name panels.

Kelso War Memorial

This aspect faces the road. The pedestal has a figure in a niche and the inscription on the stone is to the Great War.

Kelso War Memorial close

This photo shows the plaques on the inner sides of the walls on which are inscribed the names. The lower plaque on each stone is for World War 2.

Kelso War Memorial Plaques

Lots of Polish soldiers were stationed in Kelso during World War 2 and trained there. This plaque – on the rear wall of the gardens – commemorates three who died in training.

Kelso Polish War Memorial

An accompanying plaque acknowledges the welcome the Polish forces received in the town. I believe they caused quite a stir among the local ladies!

Kelso Polish War Memorial Appreciation

Also at the back of the gardens is this plaque to a soldier from Kelso who won a VC in the Boer War.

Kelso Boer War Memorial

War Memorial, Cornhill-on-Tweed, Northumberland

This is a simple cross on a pedestal. The front lists 14 names for 1914-1918.

War Memorial , Cornhill-on-Tweed

The WW2 dead (4 names) are listed on this side.

War Memorial Cornhill-on-Tweed

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