Stonehaven and Dunnottar War Memorial (iv) – World War 2

The names of some World War 2 fields of miltary operations are inscribed on the base of the pillars supprtoing the lintels of Stonehaven War Memorial.

“North Atlantic, Narvik”

Stonehaven War Memorial Second World War Stone

“Dunkirk, Battle of Britain”

Second World War Stone, Stonehaven War Memorial

“El Alamein, Cassino”

War Memorial, Stonehaven, Second World War Stone

“Normandy Beaches, Burma”

Second World War Stone, War Memoria, Stonehaven

The World War 2 dead are commemorated in a series of four granite panels sitting by the Memorial’s pillars. The first is also inscribed with the dedication, “To the memory of those from the District of Stonehaven whose names are inscribed on these panels who lost their lives in the World War 1939 -1945,” as well as the names.

J Fraser Anderson – John Christie:-

Stonehaven War Memorial World War 2 Dedication and Names

William J Christie – James Mc I Findlay:-

Second World War Names, Stonehaven War Memorials

Robert T Foster – George Masson:-

Stonehaven War Memorial, World War 2 Names

William Masson – Alexander R Williamson:-

Second World War Names, Stonehaven War Memorial

Stonehaven and Dunnottar War Memorial (iii) – The Great War

The names of the Great War dead at Stonehaven War Memorial are inscribed on stone panels at the memorial’s centre.

James Adams – Frank Dallas:-

Great War Names, War Memorial, Stonehaven,

David Duncan – John Lennox:-

Stonehaven War Memorial, Great War Names

John Main – James Simpson:-

War Memorial, Stonehaven, Great War Names

James Sinclair – Alex W Youngson:-

First World War Names, War Memorial, Stonehaven.

Stonehaven and Dunnottar War Memorial (ii)

Stonehaven War Memorial interior:-

Wreaths and panel with Great War names, some World War 2 names on smaller panels behind:-

Wreaths and Panel with Great War Names, War Memorial, Stonehaven

The interior of the lintel above the entrance is inscribed, “Erected by the people of Stonehaven and District. A tribute to their dead, 1914 – 1919”:-

Great War Dedication, Stonehaven War Memorial

The other interior lintels of the temple-like memorial are inscribed with the quote, from Donald Hankey‘s A Student in Arms, “One by one death challenged them, one by one they smiled in his grim visage and refused to be dismayed”:-

Part of Lintel Inscription Stonehaven War Memorial

Part of Lintel Inscription, Stonehaven War Memorial

Part of Lintel Inscription, Stonehaven War Memorials

Stonehaven and Dunnottar War Memorial (i)

Stonehaven War Memorial sits prominently on Black Hill to the south of the town and is also visible from Dunnottar Castle. The winding path from the castle takes you towards Stonehaven and partly up Black Hill from where you can access the Memorial grounds.

View of Memorial from path leading from Dunnittar Castle:-

Stonehaven War Memorial from South

Stonehaven from Stonehaven War Memorial:-

Stonehaven from Stonehaven War Memorial

Memorial from west as seen from the road back to Dunnottar Castle:-

Stonehaven War Memorial from West

An information board says the memorial was deliberately designed to look like a ruin to symbolise the lives cut short by the Great War:-

Information Board, Stonehaven War Memorial

Stonehaven War Memorial from north:-

War Memorial, Stonehaven

The external lintels are inscribed with the names of Great War battles, here Jutland, Mons, Ypres:-

Stonehaven War Memorial

From south, Zeebrugge, Gallipoli, Jutland:-

War Memorial, Stonehaven

From southwest, Marne, Zeebrugge:-

Stonehaven War Memorial

From west, Vimy, Somme, Marne:-

War Memorial, Stonehaven

From northwest, Mons, Ypres:-

War Memorial Stonehaven

Dunnottar Castle (iv) – Surroundings

Waterfall by Dunnottar Castle from approach path:-

Waterfall by Dunnottar Castle

Cliffs to south from approach path:-

Cliffs from Path near Dunnottar Castle

Rocks below Dunnottar Castle:-

Dunnottar  Castle rocks

Cliffs to north and sea inlet, from Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven War Memorial on hilltop:-

Cliffs and Sea Inlet from Dunnottar Castle

Stonehaven War Memorial on hill:-

War Memorial from Dunnottar Castle Castle

After our visit to Dunnottar Castle we took a footpath which (eventually) leads to Stonehaven. This afforded more views of the northern cliffs:-

Cliff View  from Dunnottar path

And of the Castle looking back:-

Dunnottar Castle, From Path to Stonehaven

Dunnottar Castle, from North

Dunnottar Castle view

Northern cliffs again:-

Dunnottar Castle, cliffs, Aberdeenshire

Dunnottar Castle (ii)

Castle buildings:-

Dunnottar Castle

Part of Dunnottar Castle

Castle Building, Dunnottar Castle,

Small window in above:-

Small Window, Dunnottar Castle

From sea end of site:-

Dunnottar Castle Interior

Courtyard area from outside its wall:-

Dunnottar Castle , Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Remains of chapel:-

Dunnottar Castle Chapel

Interior of chapel:-

Chapel, Dunnottar Castle,

Remains (with arch; garden area in foreground):-

Part of Dunnottar Castle

Garden area with buildings beyond. (Stonehaven War Memorial on hill in background):-

Dunnottar Castle, Interior Ruins

Buildings (chapel to right):-

Buildings inside Dunnottar Castle

Late afternoon shadows (sea beyond):-

Part of Dunnottar Castle and Sea Beyond

Grand Day Out

I had two days out really.

On Friday on the way up to Aberdeen the good lady and I stopped at Dunnottar Castle and also took the chance to visit Stonehaven War Memorial which is walkable from there. (Photos of both will be coming eventually.)

Later in the afternoon she made a good trawl of the Old Aberdeen Book Shop in Spital.

Even better pickings were obtained at the Mercat Bookshop in Castle Street the next morning (I even bought two books) and then we had a look at two antique shops before we retired to a modern style hostelry for lunch with my younger son and his wife.

Imagine our surprise when the establishment was invaded by Sons fans who certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves, which the bar staff took in good part. The flag intimated they were from Helensburgh.

Fans of Dumbarton FC

On to the match, with ticket at the ready:-

Ticket for Dumbarton FC's Cup Game at Pittodrie

The Sons contingent had several good flags on the wave:-

Dumbarton FC Flags

The pre-match entertainmenmt was way over the top. There’s absolutely no need for this sub-USian rubbish:-

Razzmattazz at Pittodire

Even if the Aberdeen fans in the Merkland Stand also had a good array of flags:-

Aberdeen Fans

The teams emerge. Two more good Sons flags at the bottom here:-

Teams Coming Out at Pittodrie

Sons to the fore. This season’s ‘home’ strip – yellow and black wide stripes, with black shorts, on show (and a rather silly-looking Aberdeen mascot at top right. They had at least two mascots, which is probably two too many):-

Dumbarton FC at  Pittodrie 18/1/20

Sons line up for the game:-

Dumbarton FC Strip 2019-2020

An Away Trip

I remember football.

(Just.)

I remember away games.

(Dimly.)

The reason for our visit up north via Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven and finally Aberdeen last January was for one such away game; Sons’ 4th Round Scottish Cup tie at Pittodrie on 18/1/20.

Ticket to Aberdeen - Dumbarton Scottish Cup Tie, January 2020

Before the game we met up with my younger son and his wife, who were making a day of it, in a pub in Aberdeen city centre for some lunch. The pub had also attracted other Sons fans:-

Dumbarton F C Fans in Aberdeen Pub

They don’t half make a fuss before a game at Pittodrie.

Razzmattazz prior to Scottish Cup tie, Aberdeen v Dumbarton, 18/1/20:-

Razzmattazz at Pittodrie, 18/1/20

More Razzmattazz, Pittodrie, 18/1/20

Teams coming out:-

Dumbarton F C at Pittodrie, 18/1/20

Sons players:-

Pittodrie, 18/1/20, Dumbarton F C Before Game

Teams line up, Pittodrie, 18/1/20

Apart from the result it was a good day out.

I wonder when I’ll be able to have another away day.

Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon

In “A Scots Quair,” Hutchinson, 1966, 180 p. First published 1932. The cover shown is of a Canongate edition.

Sunset Song cover

The Scots Quair trilogy is widely seen as Gibbon’s major work, Sunset Song as one of the most important Scottish novels of the twentieth century. Set in the estate of Kinraddie, in the Mearns area, between Laurencekirk and Stonehaven, where Gibbon lived, the lyrical descriptions of the Mearns countryside speak of a deep attachment to the land.

Sunset Song in the main tells the story of Chris Guthrie, daughter of an overbearing father, John, and a mother, Jean, who is so ground down by childbirth that she kills herself and her young twins when she finds herself pregnant for the sixth time. Kinraddie is said by a new minister of the local kirk, a man called Gibbon, to be “fathered between a kailyard and a bonny brier bush in the lee of a house with green shutters,” despite their being no house with green shutters in the whole of Kinraddie. This of course is the author placing his novel firmly within the ongoing sweep of Scottish literature.

I have read nearly all of Gibbon’s novels – whether originally published pseudonymously as by “Gibbon,” or under his real name of J Leslie Mitchell. Sunset Song and The Speak of the Mearns are the most rooted in his home area, hence liberally sprinkled with Scots words. A prefatory note begs the indulgence of English readers in this regard. (I confess I have only a limited background in Scots – especially of words to do with agriculture – but found a lack of knowledge of precise meanings was not a barrier to comprehension. English or USian readers may beg to differ. However, I understand more modern editions contain a glossary.)

The novel is carefully structured to reflect the phases of Chris’s young life. It has a prelude, “The Unfurrowed Field,” which unfolds the history of and introduces the characters inhabiting the Kinraddie estate, followed by four sections, titled respectively Ploughing, Drilling, Seed-Time and Harvest, then an epilude – a word seemingly coined by Gibbon – also titled “The Unfurrowed Field.”

Kinraddie is depicted as a community that thrives on gossip. That would, in the old Scots phrase, be “minding everybody’s business” (which is in my experience immediately followed by the words “but their own.”) It also thrives on argument. At one point Chris tells her brother, “I don’t believe they were ever religious, the Scots folk. They’ve never really BELIEVED.” The kirk had just been a place to collect and argue, and criticise God.

In Kinraddie people are quick to think the worst of others – and never expect the same will apply to them – but still gather round to help in an emergency. Set in that pre-Great War era when mechanical devices were on the way but a rarity on most farms – though the small size of the holdings in Kinraddie make them more like crofts – life is hard and opportunities for harmless pleasure few, and savoured. The number of pages given over to Chris’s wedding (where everyone musical, and some who are not, give their party pieces or provide accompaniment to the dancing and Chris herself sings that great Scottish lament The Flowers of the Forest) – even though it did coincide with the arrival of a New Year – serves to highlight this. On music Chris reflects, “how strange was the sadness of Scotland’s singing, made for the sadness of the land and sky in dark autumn evenings, the crying of men and women of the land who had seen their lives and loves sink away in the years.”

In Harvest, all is ripped apart by the impact of the Great War. Not only are relationships within the community slowly eroded, the woods which protect the land are cut down to make aeroplanes and the like, and several young men do not come back from France. As its title implies the novel is a eulogy for the lost way of life. In the epilude, at the dedication of the War Memorial, a piper plays the tune of The Flowers of the Forest, the music of which is rendered in the text, a threnody to that now dead past. But the key sentence of the book is perhaps, “Scotland lived, she could never die, the land would outlast them all.” It has, it does, it will.

A couple of phrases appear which are unlikely to feature in a modern novel. After firing the whin bushes Chris’s brother Will is said to be “black as a nigger” and “fit to freeze the chilblains on a brass monkey” is nowadays usually expressed more scatologically. Yes, Sunset Song is a novel of its time – but it is also not of it. The Scotland that Sunset Song depicts may be no more, the people it describes are not.

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