Remembering the people behind the First World War sacrifice in Strathblane

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Strathblane will remember them and their sacrifice - thanks to a cash award from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Locals preparing a series of events to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War have received £3,700 from the HLF.

Awarded through the HLF First World War: then and now programme, the centrepiece will be a booklet telling the stories of the local men who died, 27 of whom are commemorated on the community’s war memorial.

Eleanor Forrest of the Strathblane First World War Group, said: “Every Remembrance Sunday we gather at our war memorial and hear the words ‘We will remember them’ and yet we know little about these men who made the ultimate sacrifice.

“They are simply listed in alphabetical order without distinction, from the Etonian son of the local laird to the humblest Private.

“Looking at the names carved in stone, you sense how this monumental event was going to both transform and cast a shadow over our community right across the 20th century.”

The project, which is a Strathblanefield Community Development Trust initiative, is seeking volunteers to help research and write about the lives of those who died, using war records, census returns, newspaper reports, letters and local links.

The idea has already produced some poignant material, including a letter of condolence written from Eric Yarrow to Morag Barr on the death of her brother Jack, who had been killed in the Battle of Ypres in late April 1915.

Yarrow, the son of shipbuilder Sir Alfred Yarrow, was killed the very day after he wrote the letter. Both men, who were friends from childhood, had served as lieutenants in the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders.

The publication will include soldiers who are on local gravestones and church memorial plaques but, for one reason or another, do not appear on the war memorial.

For example, James Love, a private in the Seaforth Highlanders, who was the victim of a German gas attack in 1915, did not die from the effects until 1927, six years after the memorial was erected.

Mrs Forrest said: “We want to compare village life now and then, find the houses still in existence where the men lived and explore the impact the First World War had on the area.

“We hope to engage with the whole community, including school children, in raising awareness of their heritage and interest them in researching their own families’ involvement in the war.

“We are especially keen to hear from anyone who had relatives in the Strathblane area and who lost a family member during the First World War.”

For further information about the Strathblane First World War Project, contact Lynne James at Strathblane Library or Anne Balfour on 01360 770750.

A list of the names on Strathblane War Memorial can be found on the community website:

The information from the booklet will be made available online as a resource for posterity and in the hope that others will add to it as more details come to light.

Profits from the venture will go to UK forces charities.

A number of community events are planned for the centenary year, including an exhibition sharing the stories, keepsakes, and photographs of the men who fought in the conflict.