Armistice 100: Hundreds brought to book for launch of First World War history in Hawick

Derek Robertson at his book Launch with Duncan Taylor at Hawick's Townhall
Derek Robertson at his book Launch with Duncan Taylor at Hawick's Townhall

Hundreds turned out in Hawick on the centenary of the end of the First World War for the launch of a new book chronicling the role townsfolk played in the four-year conflict.

Hawick Town Hall was filled to the rafters on Sunday when historian Derek Robertson officially unveiled his mammoth 800-page work, titled Hawick and District and the Great War 1914-1918.

Derek Robertson at his book launch with Stewart Donaldson and Burnett Smith.

Derek Robertson at his book launch with Stewart Donaldson and Burnett Smith.

Years in the making and meticulously researched, the book contains 1,800 images .

Some 400 Teries were in attendance for its long-awaited launch, with many lining up to have copies signed by the author.

Derek revealed that the history, a follow-up to a pictorial book of similar name published in 1920, is proving a runaway success, with more than half of its 750 print run already sold.

He said: “The book launch was a resounding success, with a far bigger turnout than even I had anticipated. The book seems to have been well received, with over half the number being sold already.

“Of note is the community spirit which has been shown by local businesses, organisations and clubs sponsoring the book so that the costs were effectively subsidised, which brought the purchase cost within the range of many folk who would have been unable to afford it otherwise.

“It also meant free copies could be given to local schools to keep the memory of Hawick and district’s history during the war alive into the next generation.

“The book’s printer, Richardson and Son, also deserves great credit for printing it at cost price – a superb example of Hawick at its generous best.”

The launch was also of personal importance to Derek, as he explained: “It was particularly poignant to me to have four generations of my Robertson family in the audience, with ages ranging from 23 to 96.

“Not only was the 11th of November the centenary of the end of the Great War but it was also the date in 1918 when my great-grandfather was sent home from Belgium on leave.

“A comrade in his battalion, George L Price, was the last Commonwealth soldier to be killed in the war, at 10.58am, with the armistice at 11am.

“If it had been my great-grandfather in his place, then Hawick would have been deprived of an honorary provost, a cornet, an acting father and all his direct descendants.”

The book, priced £25 with post and packaging, is available by emailing books@hawickhistory.scot