Ahead of this weekend’s celebrations in Jedburgh, John Daykins was remembered in Solesmes, France, at the weekend.
Shaun Carroll, the town’s Royal British Legion Scotland chairman, and his wife Marie, visited the site with Jedburgh Pipe Band pipe major Tosh MacDonald and his wife Mo.
The foursome were the only Scottish representatives on a commemorative tour run by the York and Lancaster Regimental Association, which visited the Solesmes, the place where Daykins earned his honour, and the York Cemetery in nearby Haspres, where many of his regiment, the York and Lancasters, were laid to rest.
“I was honoured to lay a wreath,” Shaun said. “A lot of the York and Lancaster soldiers’ descendants were there and it was very emotional.”
In an unexpected move, Shaun was invited to lay a wreath at the Menin Gate memorial in Ypres, Belgium, the following day.
“It was an absolute honour to be allowed to lay one at the Menin Gate. It was an unreal experience, but I was very nervous.”
The group were also invited to a civic reception hosted by the mayor of Hespres, where Shaun addressed their hosts and presented the town with a framed poppy from the Tower of London display.
Tosh, who played for wreath laying ceremonies at both Haspres and Solesmes as well as during the civic reception added: “It was an honour to play there. It was 100 years to the week since they were fighting all around that area.”
“We think this was a real first for the town, having taken part in this type of thing in an official capacity.”
A commemorative flagstone will be unveiled in the town on Saturday from 10.30am at the War Memorial in Abbey Place.
Read more about that here: https://www.thesouthernreporter.co.uk/news/jedburgh-set-to-honour-vc-war-hero-100-years-on-1-4815967