charities, featured, heritage

Town’s “forgotten fallen” finally remembered

Falkirk’s “forgotten fallen” have finally been remembered.

The names of more than 1650 servicemen and women have been added to the town’s war memorial in a £125,000 project, to be unveiled this weekend.

The memorial, in the town’s Dollar Park, was first unveiled in 1926. Unlike other memorials, it didn’t individually name the locals who died in World War I, or in the subsequent conflicts of World War II.

Now the memorial has been extended and improved – with the addition of new stone panels naming those locals who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

“It’s great to see the war memorial sensitively extended, with new stone sections and plaques,” said Morris Robb, the chair of The Friends of Falkirk War Memorial, which has led the project. “I hope the families of those who died will find some comfort from what we’ve done here.”

He added: “We’ve also made the site more accessible for people to visit from the park itself. Previously you could only access the memorial from the busy Camelon Road.

“This wouldn’t have happened without the support of Falkirk Council, local businesses and groups – and the many members of the public who have donated cash and support to the project. We’d like to thank everyone who has helped.”

This Sunday (November 3) – at around 10 a.m. – a service of “re-dedication” will take place at the memorial, led by Rev. Robert Allan of Falkirk Trinity Church.

Former soldiers, cadets and representatives from the Argylls – the local regiment (now part of the Royal Regiment of Scotland) – will take part. There will also be representation from the RAF, Navy and NHS.

Service personnel will unveil the new pillars that have been installed on the site. There will be speeches about the project as well as musical tributes.

The idea of revamping the war memorial came from former Falkirk Provost Pat Reid. He formed a committee with local historian Ian Scott, former architect Morris Robb, businessman Douglas Cameron, Tom McMorrow of the RAF Air Cadets, Cllrs Gary Bouse, John Patrick and Provost Billy Buchanan and Major Jim Bain to help develop the project.

Support also came from the Council – which owns the park – from Friends of Dollar Park and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders’ Association, as well as many individuals, including Gillian Gardner from Falkirk Trinity Church and Clare Mennim. The Friends group has also appreciated the support of the local media, including The Falkirk Herald newspaper.

Councillor Reid said: “We’ve been touched by the generosity of individuals and groups who have rallied to our cause.

“For instance, former soldiers manned a stall and collected money in the Howgate Centre. We also had cadets do bag packs and collections in Tesco. Across at ASDA shoppers can donate a ‘green token’ to help us. People have been helping us in other ways too.

“We’re still collecting money to cover some costs and would appreciate any final donations to the project. You can find out more from our website – www.falkirkwarmemorial.org.”

The Friends – a registered charity – commissioned an almost entirely local team to carry out the works on the memorial.

The main contractor has been C.A.M.S. Construction Scotland, based at Redding Industrial Estate.

Also involved in the project were:

  • Quality Masonry Services of Dalderse Avenue, Falkirk;
  • Falkirk Stonemasons of Bankside Industrial Estate, Falkirk;
  • TBB Architecture, based in the town’s Cockburn Street;
  • Sterling Precast, based in Stirling; and
  • The Helix Building Consultancy Ltd – quantity surveyors – based in Lenzie.

The project has also been given extensive support by the Eden Consultancy Group in Falkirk – designing the name plaques for the site itself, as well as materials to help promote the campaign.

Councillor Reid said: “The Friends group has been fortunate to enjoy the services of the team at Eden Consultancy in Hope Street to support this project. Douglas Cameron has also served on our committee.

“In fact, all the firms involved have been fantastic and we thank them for their skills and dedication.”

Tarpaulins have been placed over the new sections ahead of the ceremony on Sunday, November 3.

Work started on site in July. The extended memorial now includes new granite panels, imported from India, set into sandstone from the north of England (selected to match the original stonework).

Said Cllr Reid: “The original memorial was unveiled at a huge public event in 1926 to remember 1193 locals who died in World War I.

“Sadly – unlike other local memorials – it didn’t name the war dead, or the 463 others who died subsequently, in World War II.

“We wanted to properly remember Falkirk’s Fallen, adding their names on new panels, and making other improvements to the site. We’ve achieved that goal.

“Hopefully people can now visit this memorial and remember the brave souls who left our town and made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Falkirk War Memorial before the £125,000 revamp – to be unveiled on November 3, 2019

Issued by The PR Store on behalf of The Friends of Falkirk War Memorial.For more information, please contact Adrian Mahoney, 01506 823714 / 07967 150560; email: adrian@theprstore.co.uk or Pat Reid, Friends of Falkirk War Memorial, tel. 01324 628379.

Cover of postcard being distributed to promote the War Memorial project. Design by Eden Consultancy Group.
Cover of postcard being distributed to promote the War Memorial project. Design by Eden Consultancy Group.

Friends of Falkirk War Memorial SCIO, SC048322 – Registered charity. www.falkirkwarmemorial.org   www.fb.com/falkirkwarmemorial