A century of remembrance celebrated across the Borders

At 11am this morning, Borders branches of the Royal British Legion laid wreaths at their towns’ war memorials to celebrate the centenary of the organisation.

Friday, 18th June 2021, 2:44 pm
At Jedburgh, vice chairman, Peter Higgins, Dan Spratt, piper Tosh MacDonald, president Professor Alexander Davidson MBE and chairman Shaun Carroll conducted the ceremony. Photo: Bill McBurnie
At Jedburgh, vice chairman, Peter Higgins, Dan Spratt, piper Tosh MacDonald, president Professor Alexander Davidson MBE and chairman Shaun Carroll conducted the ceremony. Photo: Bill McBurnie

On 18th June 1921, with the trauma and painful after-effects of the First World War crippling the nation, four ex-service organisations came together at St Cuthbert’s Church in Edinburgh to unite for the greater good of the nation.

At that moment, the British Legion was born and today, 100 years later, a year of centenary celebrations is being launched in recognition of this historic, national institution.

At Jedburgh, the poignant ceremony included Pipe Major Tosh MacDonald playing the Floo'rs O' the Forest, and bugler Robert Hume from Jedforest Instrumental Band played The Last Post, as the branch president Professor Alexander Davidson – who was awarded the MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours last week for his work with PoppyScotland – laid the wreath, accompanied by vice chairman Peter Higgins, Dan Spratt, and chairman Shaun Carroll.

Professor Alexander Davidson MBE lays a wreath. Photo: Bill McBurnie

Jedburgh’s RBLS branch will celebrate its own centenary in September.

The simple ceremony was conducted in the other Borders towns, ensuring social distancing measures were in place.

Dr Claire Armstrong, chief executive of Legion Scotland said: “We are extremely proud to have reached our centenary year. It is a momentous occasion, not only for us as an organisation but for the wider public.

"Since our formation, the Legion has stood as a collective voice for the ex-service community in Scotland and this continues today.

Standard Bearers Dan Spratt and Jedburgh Chairman Shaun Carroll. Photo: Bill McBurnie

"Although we were founded in the aftermath of the Great War, there have been many conflicts since, and it’s vital that all veterans are supported and remembered regardless of when and where they served.

“Legion Scotland’s heart is in local communities with more than 20,000 members, 142 branches and 60 clubs in towns and villages across the country.

"No national or local wreath-laying ceremony would be complete without Legion representation and while many people associate November as the time of remembrance, we ensure that war memorials all over Scotland remain an important focal point for commemorations throughout the year.”