Remembrance Day, 1942

There’s a good description of the Blantyre Remembrance Day service in a local newspaper on 14th November 1942. I can only imagine how much more personal and solemn this service must have been to the people , actually experiencing the war and losing those men and women in those same years.

“A very large turnout of the Blantyre Company of the Home Guard under Major John Taylor and his officers, who were accompanied by their own pipe band, was a pleasing feature at the service, but there was only a mere handful of the general public. Standing on the outside fringe of the Home Guard was a tall, erect and sad looking lady. She remembered her three gallant sons. Her name was Mrs John Baird (formerly Mrs Campbell) of 46 Stonefield Road, now 84 years of age, who, with one exception, owing to illness has been present every year at this remembrance service, and the inclement weather did not deter her from being again present. Her sons killed on active service were Lieut, Wallwood Campbell, John William Campbell, and her other son, James who died in Canada as the result of wounds sustained on active service.

At the close of the brief service, which was conducted by the Rev. Archibald Mackenzie of High Blantyre Church, and the placing of the Home Guard wreath at the base of the cenotaph, Mrs Baird walked forward and also placed her floral tribute beside it.

Another lady left a wreath to the memory of her brother James Nimmo, who was killed on the same day as the Armistice had ben declared. The Home Guard then re-formed and led by the band, marched to the East Church of Scotland and took part in the mid-day service, which was conducted by the Rev, James G. Ritchie, M.A.”

Incredibly, having researched the Nimmo family extensively on Blantyre Project, I immediately noticed that the newspaper report contained an error. James Nimmo was not the brother that died on Armistice Day. It was his brother Robert Nimmo who died in 1918 on 11th November (as noted on the Auchentibber War Memorial and at the Cenotaph, High Blantyre.) The newspaper reporter, I believe made an error in stating the wrong name. Knowing also that Robert’s sister Mary died 2 months before this service, I concluded that the lady at the cenotaph laying the wreath must have been either Jeanie, Margaret, Agnes or Annie, one of Robert’s 4 surviving sisters.

It would have been little comfort attending such a service in wartime, hearing of the sacrifices of soldiers in WW1, whilst a Second World War was taking place and I’m sure the sermons would have been most sensitive and respectful of that.

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