Rugby club leads way as Selkirk honours its war dead

Wreath bearers at the ceremony at Philiphaugh.
Wreath bearers at the ceremony at Philiphaugh.

Members, players and supporters of Selkirk Rugby Club gathered at Philiphaugh on Saturday to pay their respects to the 40 past players from the club killed in the two world wars and witness the unveiling of a permanent memorial in their memory.

Gusting winds and driving rain did not deter Souters, who braved the elements and turned up in sizeable numbers.

Selkirk RFC's remembrance plaque unveiling at Philiphaugh.

Selkirk RFC's remembrance plaque unveiling at Philiphaugh.

More than 100 club members and guests also attended a special memorial lunch before the home game against Musselburgh.

The memorial plaque, funded by individual donations from committee members, past players and supporters, was unveiled by club president Bennie Rafferty.

The names of the players were read out by Ali Cullen and Karen Findlater, representing the wives and mothers left behind.

Commemorative wreaths were then laid by David Deacon on behalf of Royal British Legion Scotland, Jim Newlands on behalf of Selkirk RFC past players’ club, vice-president Gus Boag on behalf of the general committee, Mary Inglis on behalf of supporters, club captain Ewan MacDougall for the players, Andrew Cochrane for the Selkirk High School rugby team, Ian Pretswell for Selkirk Youth Club and jointly by Hamish Cleghorn and Cameron Cowens on behalf of Selkirk Rhinos.

A minute’s silence was followed by a lament played by piper Kevin Turnbull.

Mr Rafferty welcomed guests to the lunch, sponsored by PoppyScotland and Royal British Legion Scotland.

The Selkirk Grace was recited by John Purvis and the loyal toast was proposed by David Deacon of the Selkirk and Ettrick Forest branch of the legion.

Vice-president Gus Boag gave his reflections on the players and the war and Jim Harold told some of the stories turned up by research on the players who did not return.

Selkirk’s players then capped the day with a hard-fought win over Musselburgh deemed by the club as “a truly fitting tribute to the young men whose shirts they now wear”.

On Sunday, piper Mr Turnbull will play When the Battle’s Over at Selkirk war memorial as part of a national tribute.

The parade will leave the Valley at 9.25am and head to Selkirk Parish Church, where there will be a service from 9.45am to 10.30am.

Following the service the parade will reform and head for the war memorial, where the last post will be played, flag dipped and wreaths laid at 11am.

The parade will then march back to the Valley, passing West Port and Market Place, where local dignitaries will take the salute at the pant well. The parade will be dismissed on the High Street.

At 12.30pm, again as part of a national event, the bell will be rung at Selkirk Parish Church.