The ferocious battle for Gallipoli could be the centre of Kelso’s commemorations marking the centenary of the start of the First World War.
Earlier this year, First Minister Alex Salmond announced a five-year programme to mark significant events from throughout the conflict and beyond, including commemorating the centenary of major battles such as Gallipoli.
Addressing Kelso Community Council last week, Provost John Bassett said the heavy losses suffered by the King’s Own Scottish Borderers on the infamous Turkish peninsula made it an appropriate anniversary to highlight.
“The 4th (Border) Battalion was the local pals’ battalionwith a lot of men drawn from the Kelso area and considering the losses it sustained at Gallipoli in 1915, it would be a poignant focal point in 2015 for any local efforts marking the centenary,” he told us this week.
He added: “But I still need to consult the local Royal British Legion and if anyone has any other ideas, then I’d be delighted to hear from them.”
Ian Martin, from the KOSB Museum and Archives at Berwick, says Gallipoli was significant for the regiment, with the battle honour subsequently borne on the regimental colours.
“For the 1st Battalion, Gallipoli Day was celebrated annually on April 25, to commemorate the landing on ‘Y’ Beach, and the heroic rearguard action which enabled the safe withdrawal of the landing force,” explained Mr Martin.
“For the two territorial battalions, 4th and 5th KOSB, recruited from the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway, their only major engagement, near Achi Baba Nullah on July 12 and 13, in 1915, resulted in losses which the regimental historian described as resembling a ‘second Flodden....scarcely a household but mourned a son’.