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Pre-Twentieth Century War Memorials, Glasgow Cathedral

Highland Light Infantry, Indian North West Frontier 1863:-

War Memorial, Indian North West Frontier 1863

Memorial to Sutherland Highlanders of the Crimean War:-

Memorial to Sutherland Highlanders of the Crimean War

Boer War Memorial to Sappers James Hunter and Thomas Money of First Lanarkshire Royal Engineers, February 1901:-

Boer War Memorial (First Lanarkshire Royal Engineers South Africa)

Royal Army Medical Corps Boer War Memorial. Private W Munro, Erlandsfontein, 7/4/1901 and Corporals G G Penman, Bloemfontein, 12/11/1900 and J Howat,Bloemfontein, 1/12/1900:-

Boer War Memorial, Glasgow Cathedral

Boer War Memorial, Edzell

Edzell is a village in Angus, Scotland, about six miles from Brechin. We stopped there on our way down from Aberdeenshire hoping to go to Edzell Castle but it was shut for the winter.

I did however find a Boer War Memorial standing in a railed enclosure just off the road through the town. It takes the form of a Celtic cross inscribed, “To the memory of gallant soldiers belonging to Edzell & District who fell in the Great Boer War 1899-1900-1901-1902. ‘Decorum est pro patria mori.'”:-

Boer War Memorial, Edzell

From south, remembering Lt Colonel D T Laing, killed near Lindley, 3/1/1901, aged 41:-

Edzell Boer War Memorial

Reverse, dedicated to Private James Paterson, killed Magersfontein, 11/12/1899, aged 21; Private James Candy, killed at Paarderberg, 18/2/1900, aged 30, and Private William Walker, died of wounds, Wyndberg, 22/3/1900, aged 21:-

Reverse Boer War Memorial, Edzell 3

From north, dedicated to Colour Sergeant David Christison, killed Magersfontein, 11/1/2 1899, aged 30, and Trooper W A Mcnab, died at Kroonstad, 23/2/1902, aged 21:-

Edzell Boer War Memorial, from North

Dunkeld

Dunkeld is a village/town on the River Tay ten or so miles north of Perth. The bridge there which links Dunkeld to Birnam was built by Thomas Telford.

Dunkeld from the Bridge over the River Tay

River Tay looking south from Telford’s bridge:-

River Tay from Dunkeld Bridge

This is a view of Telford’s bridge from the Birnam side of the river:-

Bridge through trees

And from the grounds of the town’s historic cathedral:-

Bridge over Tay at Dunkeld

The Cathedral was for a time closed to visitors but in 2018 we had a peek inside. Cathedral altar and stained glass windows:-

Dunkeld Cathedral Interior

Just to the left in the photo above lies a memorial to the officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the Scottish Horse who gave their lives in the two Great Wars. “1914 -1918, Gallipoli, Egypt, Macedonia, France. 1939 – 1945, North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany.”

Below that are the words, “The souls of the righteous are in the hands of god. There shall…” the rest is obscured by the Roll of Honour. A barrier prevented me from getting any closer:-

Scottish Horse Memorial, Dunkeld Cathedral

In the square in Dunkeld itself is a memorial to the men of the Scottish Horse who died in the Boer War. I have previously mentioned it here.

Boer War Memorial, Dingwall

Dingwall has an impressive Boer War Memorial not far from the memorial to the twentieth century wars:-

It’s shaped as a tapered Celtic Cross surmounting a rectangular plinth:-

Dingwall, Boer War Memorial 1

The dedication reads, “Erected by the officers non-commissioned officers and men past and present of the Seaforth Highlanders, Ross-shire Buffs, the Duke of Albany’s in memory of their comrades who lost their lives in South Africa 1899-1902.”

Lower panel, “Killed in Action or Died of Wounds”

Boer War Memorial, Dingwall

South facing aspect. Names of those “Killed in Action or Died of Wounds”

Dingwall, Boer War Memorial Names

Dingwall Free Church behind. Memorial’s north facing aspect. Names of “Killed in Action or Died of Wounds” and “Died of Disease or Accident”

Boer War Memorial, Dingwall North Aspect

Roadside location:-

Boer War Memorial, Dingwall

Beauly Boer War Memorial

My previous posts on Beauly are here and here. I didn’t see a memorial to the World Wars of the twentieth century when I was there but I have since found out it’s situated on a hill to the south of the town. Maybe next time I’m up that way.

However in the centre of the town is a large memorial, “Erected by the Lovat tenantry and fuears… to commemorate the raising of the Lovat Scouts by Simon Joseph, 6th Lord Lovat….” (For full wording click on picture to where it can be enlarged.) It is also inscribed “Cape Colony” in the lower rectangle.

Boer War Memorial, Beauly

Northern facet. In the upper rectangle, “Of the Lovat Scouts the following fell in action or died of wounds or disease….” plus “Diamond Hill” in lower:-

Boer War Memorial, Beauly

Eastern facet. Bronze Frieze in upper rectangle. “South Africa” in lower:-

Beauly Boer War Memorial

Bronze frieze detail:-

Bronze Plaque, Boer War Memorial, Beauly

Southern facet. Names of Officers of the Lovat Scouts in upper rectangle. “Wittebergen” in lower:-

Boer War Memorial, Beauly

Boer War Memorial, Shrewsbury

Shrewsbury’s Boer War Memorial is fairly typical of the type showing a pith-helmeted soldier with rifle:-

Shrewsbury Boer War Memorial

Dedication. “To the memory of the officers, non-commisioned officers & men of the line, militia and volunteer battalions of the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry who were killed in action & died of wounds or disease while serving with the 2nd battalion of the King’s Shropshire LI (35th LI) in the Transvaal, Orange River Colony & Cape Colony during the campaign in South Africa.”

Shrewsbury Boer War Memorial Dedicatio

From west:-

Boer War Memorial, Shrewsbury

From east:-

Shrewsbury Boer War Memorial from East

Names:-

ome names Shrewsbury Boer War Memorial

Royal Scots Greys Memorial, Princes Street, Edinburgh

This memorial stands above Princes Street Gardens, to the south side of Princes Street, Edinburgh, and was originally erected to commemorate the men of the Royal Scots Greys who died in the Boer War, 1899-1902.

Royal Scots Greys Memorial Princes Street, Edinburgh

Dedication plaques facing Princes Street. The top one is the commemmoration of the dead of the Boer War (the Second Boer War, aka the South African War.) The lower plaque is to the Scots Greys fallen of the Second World War.

Dedication Plaques, Royal Scots Greys Memorial, Edinburgh

There are further dedication plaques on the western and eastern faces of the monument. The upper plaque here names privates of the Royal Scots Greys who died in the Great War. The lower states, “This memorial was erected in 1906 in memory of the Royal Scots Greys who gave thier lives in South Africa during the Boer War 1899 -1902. Tablets were added after the First World War 1914 to 1918 and after the Second World War 1939 to 1945. In 1971 the Royal Scots Greys amalgamated with the 3rd Carabiniers to form the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys.)”

Royal Scots Greys Memorial, Dedication Plaques

Here the upper plaque names officers, NCOs and men who died in the Great War. The lower plaque commemorates the dead of conficts since 1945; in Korea, Northern Ireland and Iraq.

Further Dedication Plaques, Royal Scots Greys Memorial, Edinburgh

The Australians in Nine Wars by Peter Firkins

From Waikato to Long Tan, Pan, 1973, 524 p, including i p acknowledgements, ii p list of illustrations, i p list of maps, vi p index of military formations, xv p general index, vi p bibliography.

The Australians in Nine Wars cover

The book covers Australian soldiers’ exploits from a time when Australia wasn’t even Australia but only a collection of various separate colonies. Some of these first sent men overseas to New Zealand to assist against the Maoris, then to Sudan in the aftermath of Gordon’s death in Khartoum and to China during the Boxer Rebellion. Its military prowess came to flower in South Africa in the (Second) Boer War – during whose duration Australia as a country was constituted – where, being used to the bush, they were able to play the Boers at their own game blending in to the countryside and showed for the first time their flair for unconventional warfare. The other wars covered are of course the two World Wars, the Korean War, the “Malaysian Emergency” and Vietnam.

The book’s thrust is that the Australian fighting man is unique, forming a citizen army there to do a job and get back to normal life as soon as possible, consisting of individuals full of initiative. In it we discover that it was Australians who won in Palestine and on the Western Front in the First World War, were essential in holding Tobruk, won at El Alamein, were the first to defeat the Japanese on land in World War 2 (which General Slim wrote was an inspiration to those in Burma) and even won in Vietnam! British Generals were crap (due to the class system) and prejudiced to boot. Moreover they apparently systematically underappreciated and failed to give credit to Australian contributions and leadership due to the “Union of British Generals”. Douglas MacArthur comes in for equal criticism for being insufficiently grateful for and appreciative of their efforts.

There is considerable force to this argument when you consider General Hunter Weston’s reply to a comment at Gallipoli that a third attack on Achi Baba peak was sure to cause heavy losses. “Casualties? What do I care for casualties?” he demanded, but Firkins’s strictures do no justice to the difficulties of prevailing in an age when defence had the advantage over attack and no-one involved had sufficient experience of the problems to be overcome. He asserts that the tank was at first “used so unskilfully that the one weapon which could have ended trench warfare was frittered away as an infantry support or wasted in its unsupported success at Cambrai.” Maybe so, but where were experienced tank generals to be found? Conjured out of thin air, perhaps? This point is ironically underlined later in the book when one of Firkins’s heroes of WW2, General Morshead, is quoted as saying of his early experiences in that war, “I didn’t handle my tanks well. I should have kept them concentrated and them all together. I didn’t know enough about tanks then as I do now.” Australian generals it would seem are to be cut slack not afforded to others.

In WW1 all Australians were volunteers, most of whom saw action in the frontline. Support services were provided by the British army as a whole as was the greater part of their weapons, ammunition and supplies. In the next paragraph Firkins says their “contribution to the successes of the British army was quite disproportionate to the numbers involved” and they, along with the New Zealanders and Canadians, did not receive due credit for their deeds till late in the war. Notwithstanding their valour and the very real downplaying of their role, how much could they have achieved without support, weapons, supplies and ammunition? But they were used as the spearhead of every attack after Gallipoli. The Australian casualty rate was 68½%; double that of the British Empire’s troops as a whole. They did however develop the tactic of peaceful penetration which dispensed with the usual preliminary heavy artillery bombardment.
Australians were “accustomed to judging their officers by their personal qualities and not by their badges of rank” and gained a reputation for indiscipline among British officers, an attitude which Firkins says was a main factor in their contributions being undervalued.

The book covers the heavy Australian involvement in the all but forgotten campaign against the Vichy French in Syria in WW2 – where more men were lost than in Greece and Crete combined.

Elsewhere the author pours scorn on “Churchill’s overriding concern for British Imperial interests, to the detriment of an Australia fighting for her life,” saying it “cast a grave reflection on his judgements.” It’s an odd injunction. Churchill wasn’t Australian; he was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. It was his responsibility to preserve British Imperial interests. Ultimately of course he failed in that, but the roots of that failure did not lie with him, they originated in the Great War, and perhaps in the tides of history. And has Australia’s subsequent cleaving to the US served it any better?

Firkins includes an illuminating aside uttered by a US liaison officer in Korea of the Australians’ former foes now allies, “When the Turks ran out of bullets they unsheathed their knives. They are as tough as their reputation. They obeyed only one order: Advance. Any other order confuses them,” and he sees the war in Vietnam as a necessary one against an enemy which perpetrated “vile cruelties and civilian slaughter” but he does predict (the book was first published in 1972) the final North Vietnamese victory when the US and its Allies‎ withdrew. He quotes approvingly Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies’s subscription to the domino theory. An additional forty-five years perhaps yields a different perspective.

Pedant’s corner:- Bridges’ (Bridges’s,) Gavril Princep (usually Gavrilo Princip,) Saint Stephens’ (Saint Stephens’s,) Colonel Holmes’ detachment (Holmes’s,) “until there were no infantry remaining to carry on” (Firkins has previously treated infantry as a singular noun, which it is; so, until no infantry was left,) Gheluvet (Gheluvelt, this was on a map,) Smuts’ (Smuts’s,) von Sanders’ (von Sanders’s,) Cairo headquarters were laying plans, (headquarters is usually treated as a singulsr noun,) the Australians forward positions (Australians’,) Larisa (Larissa,) Churchill’s staff were not enthused (staff was?) twleve (twelve,) Churchillean (usually Churchillian,) Mohne and Ede dams (Eder,) “it was estimated … about 5,000 Japanese had landed… In fact it was considerably less” (fewer,) Clowes’ (Clowes’s,) Potts’ (Potts’s,) of an enemy who were swarming past (was,) Japanese force with numbered more than (which numbered,) had showed (shown,) no more that a form flitting through foliage (than a form,) Mindano (Mindanao; on a map,) the rest were (was,) this area included……. and covers … (keep the tense the same.)

Boer War Memorial, Alloa

This is situated by the A 907 across the road from West End Park.

Here is a close-up of the inscription:-

This is the reverse view:-

The central plaque lists the names of the dead, 5 killed in action, 3 of wounds, 3 of disease:-

Dunbar War Grave

There is a churchyard behind the Boer War Memorial in Dunbar. On the external wall there is a plaque (like the one in Fort William) saying “Commonwealth War Graves here.”

The grave is of a First World War Royal Army Medical Corps private, W Lough. If you look closely you see he died after the armistice.

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