New Paisley war memorial
New Paisley war memorial marks the fallen from 70 years of conflict
A new war memorial was unveiled in Paisley on Saturday 1 September. The memorial marks the sacrifice of the soldiers, sailors and aircrew from Renfrewshire killed in the 22 conflicts involving British forces since the end of World War II.
The dedication ceremony was attended by 120 guests including the Lord Lieutenant for Renfrewshire, Guy Clark, Renfrewshire’s Provost, Anne Hall and representatives from the Royal British Legion Scotland and local schools.
The service was conducted by the Reverend Alan Birss and Monsignor John Tormey. The memorial was unveiled by Charles McLachlan of Co-operative Funeral Care and James Wilson of the Royal Engineers’ Association.
The inspiration for the new memorial has come from the Royal British Legion Scotland. James Gaughan, Chairman of the Paisley Comrades Branch said, “We were in France a couple of years ago looking at the graves and war memorials. All these young boys were left over there to be buried and we wanted to do something to mark their sacrifice.
“The British Army usually buries its dead on the battlefield and this memorial gives relations somewhere where they can come and remember their loved ones. People can look at this memorial and think, ‘My papa or my granddad fought there, in Borneo or Cyprus or Korea.”
Mr Gaughan counts himself fortunate. He was wounded three times while serving with the 1st Battalion of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders in a military career that spanned 25 years. He said, “I was lucky, my wife never got that chap on the door.”
Sadly John McLachlan’s family did get, ‘that chap on the door.’ John was 18 years old when he was killed in Korea while serving with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers. His brother, Charles was just five at the time but remembers the sadness in the house. “John was posted missing in action. It was two years before we knew he was dead. We had some hope for those two years. We had to wait till all the prisoners of war were released in 1953 before we got John’s death certificate. We never got his remains.
“This memorial will be good for Renfrewshire and for my brother. This will give us somewhere where we can remember him. This is the first time that all these wars have been thought of or recognised. All these young lads lost their lives and there hasn’t been anything to mark them.”
Renfrewshire’s Provost, Anne Hall, said, “There has hardly been a year since 1945 that British forces haven’t been in action somewhere in the world. The names of these conflicts span the globe from the deserts of Dhofar to the jungles of Borneo.
“Many of the conflicts are hardly known here so it is right and proper that we name them and remember the brave soldiers, sailors and aircrew from Renfrewshire who lie in graveyards in far off countries.”
The memorial marks the fallen from fighting in: Aden, Afghanistan, Borneo, Bosnia, Brunei, Cyprus, Dhofar, the Falklands War, the Gulf War, India, Kenya, Korea, Kosovo, Malaya, Northern Ireland, Oman, Palestine, Radfan, Sierra Leone, Suez, the Cold War and Vietnam.
It has been erected with the support of Co-operative Funeral Care, McLaughlan Glaziers, the Paisley branch of the Royal Engineers’ Association, Renfrewshire Council, the Stirling Castle Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders and Barclays Bank.
All Paisley Photographs taken by Jean-Marie Stewart for www.paisley.org.uk