Widow of Spitfire pilot accepts Erskine funds

Strathblane Primary School, cheque presentation.
Strathblane Primary School, cheque presentation.

The 95-year-old widow of a World War two Spitfire pilot was thrilled to accept £5,000 for Scottish veterans’ charity Erskine last Thursday.

The money, which was presented to Mrs Isobel Kirkwood by P7 pupils at Strathblane Primary School, was raised in less than six months by the sale of a book called ‘A Village Remembers’ about the lives of 27 men from Strathblane who died in World War One.

Spitfire pilot Robert Kirkwood

Spitfire pilot Robert Kirkwood

It was put together by the Strathblane First World War Group in association with Strathblanefield Community Development Trust, which underwrote the venture.

The boys and girls, who are now studying the Second World War, took advantage of Mrs Kirkwood’s visit to quiz her about her life as a teacher in London during the Blitz and meeting her husband, Robert, who was involved in daring bombing raids over Germany.

The book’s main author/editor, Anne Johnstone, said: “Robert was an Erskine resident for the last seven years of his life and since his death in 2004 Mrs Kirkwood has become one of the charity’s champion fundraisers.

“As a former teacher, she is also involved in their educational programme, which encourages the next generation to support the survivors of armed conflicts as well as honour those who died.

“Last November each pupil “adopted” one of the men, whose names appear on Strathblane War Memorial, and on Armistice Day placed 27 inscribed small wooden Flanders crosses at the memorial.”

Meanwhile, the First World War Group is not resting on its laurels. Having discovered 16 more local men whose deaths in the conflict are not recorded on the local memorial, illustrated stories of their lives are being prepared and will be posted on the village website, www.Strathblanefield.org.uk, in the near future.

Copies of A Village Remembers are available from this website or by sending a return address and a cheque for £12.50 (inc. p&p) payable to SCDT to 19 Kirkland Avenue, Blanefield, G63 9BY. All proceeds to Erskine.