WW1 – The Thistles

Haddington’s WW1 Centenary remembrance.

The Thistles.

[Thistle carrier list] Last updated: 11th Nov 2018

Poem written Stewart Carruthers about the remembrance committals.

*** This year-long centenary commemoration has now completed with the final Thistle being committed on 11th November 2018 for soldier Private Francis Rennie who died this day 1914, aged 26, and they laying of a 131st Thistle for those are not named on the St Mary’s war memorial. ***

STV News covered the committal for Michael Kelly on the 22nd December. You can watch the footage here – over 14,000 views!

Armistice Sunday 2017 took us into the final year of the WW1 centenary commemorations. For this final year, Haddington Community Council is going to recognise the 130 names on the War memorial by committing a hand-crafted Thistle for each of the 130 names; Poignantly, each Soldier’s Thistle will be committed on the date they died.

At 3pm on the date the Soldier died, their Thistle will be carried in a small procession starting from either their recorded home address or, where this is not known or is located outside the Town boundary, from the St Mary’s War memorial, then taken for committal onto the surrounding fence of the Ferguson monument in Memorial Park. [The Park is also known locally as the West Park or the Wee park].

Updated 3rd Oct 2018: All dates are now taken for volunteering to carry a Soldier’s Thistle. However, priority will be given to any Family descendants who come forward. The list of names now have a suffix of [F] for Family, or [V] for Volunteer to assist with understanding the names.

A list of the Soldiers’ names and the date their Thistle will be committed is available here – Soldiers’ names and procession dates. This web page will be continually updated to reflect the family members or those who have volunteered to carry a Thistle.

Although there are 130 names on the War memorial, there will be 101 committals as some dates have multiple deaths recorded against them.

Here is the email address and Tel No to call for all correspondence –

haddingtonWW1@gmail.com    or Tel: 01620 825946

The format of a Soldier’s committal procession –

• At 3pm a Piper, The Burgh Flag, Thistle holder (others are welcome) and a Community Council rep leave from the starting point  and march to the Ferguson monument in Memorial Park.  The Piper will play a medley of marching music. The starting point will be the last known Haddington address, or St Mary’s War memorial.

• At the Ferguson monument, the Thistle will be placed onto a temporary holder that is attached to the monument’s surrounding fence.

• The Community Councillor will read the 4th stanza of the ‘For the Fallen’

• A Piper will play a lament.

• End of Committal.

To recognise those who are not named on the War memorial, a 131st Thistle will be committed on the 11th November 2018. However, there are higher level discussions being planned for the marking of Armistice 2018, hence this commemoration is yet to be ratified.

The Project would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the research carried out by Alastair Shepherd, Gifford. Alastair published a book in 2013, The Haddington War Memorial 1914 – 1918, which records the war records of each of the 130 names on the War memorial. Haddington Community Council are indebted to Alastair for this research.

If you would like to make a donation towards the cost of this Project, either contact us at the haddingtonWW1@gmail.com  email address, or by post to Haddington Thistles, 20 Dunollie Gardens, Haddington, EH41 4BW. This Project is funded from Community Council funds which includes devolved Local Priority funding.

Web pages last updated: 3rd Oct 2018

[Soldiers’ names and procession dates] [Additional Project information]  [Thistle information] [With Thanks to...]