It was a happy thought that prompted Auchentibber Inn owner JBH Struthers to invite Corporal Willie Angus to receive the Victoria Cross in 1915.
At the time of the presentation at the end of September 1915, there were few people who had not heard of the heroic acts on the bullet ridden fields of Flanders.
Crowds of people flocked to grasp the hand of the soldier whose story had lit up many communities with his bravery. Indeed two THOUSAND people flocked to the corner of Auchentibber that Sunday.
Although still not well, Corporal Angus sat on a chair at the edge of the quoiting green. Struthers, as usual was using the opportunity to fundraise, collecting from the crowd on behalf of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families Association. The soldier of the moment had motored across from Carluke with his father. Before leaving Struthers entertained the Carluke party for their thanks in coming by providing a lunch at his hostelry.
The huge crowd meantime had the opportunity to explore and enjoy the beautiful quoiting green grounds and gardens, which by 1915 were not only established, but quite some talking point! It was a sight which drew the keenest admiration. Although rather late in the season, many flowers were still in bloom and it was announced that the architectural beauty of the area was to shortly be further enhanced and expanded.
The presence of Blantyre Silver Band was also appreciated. Under the leadership of Mr James Marchant, the General Manager of Blantyre Picture House, the band played to the crowds. Mr Marchant had taken up the role again after a brief interlude.
Many people in Auchentibber assisted in making the crowds feel welcome, assisting Mr Struthers. It was said at the time, “Judging by the artistic roll of honour sitting in the field at the green, the lads of Auchentibber had so far responded nobly for their King and Country”.
This was all during WW1. Battles were still taking place in European mainland when this event took place at home. Exploring that a little further, on remembrance day, i took this photo of the former quoiting green, now overgrown, but with the flat of the sports ground and elevated former terraces still clearly visible now the summer growth had died back. It’s immediately behind the war memorial.
Going back to 1915 or so at the time of the event, this picture looked like this:
JBH Struthers is also pictured a year later in 1916 pinning another medal on to Arthur McAnulty, at the same location on his quoiting green, the white picket fences in the background clearly visible.