East Kilbride folk once again turned out in their hundreds on Sunday to pay tribute to the war dead.
The weather was cold but sunny as former service personnel, Territorial Army soldiers, local dignitaries, uniformed youth organisations and members of the public gathered at the Royal British Legion Social Club in the Village to march behind the East Kilbride Pipe Band to the War Memorial.
The crowds were greeted at the Cenotaph on behalf of South Lanarkshire Council by Councillor Alice Marie Mitchell, chair of East Kilbride Area Committee.
This year’s service was conducted by the Reverend Anne Paton, minister of East Kilbride Old Parish Church, and Father Owen Ness, parish priest at St Bride’s.
Following the first hymn, a member of the local Boys’ Brigade played the Last Post and, as is tradition, those gathered fell silent at 11am to mark two minutes’ silence in memory of the fallen.
Silence over, Reveille was sounded and the first of the wreaths was laid by Councillor Mitchell on behalf of the people of South Lanarkshire, to the sound of a lone piper playing a lament.
Her tribute was followed by that of the town’s MP Michael McCann, MSP Linda Fabiani and former MP Adam Ingram, the latter laying a wreath on behalf of the charity Combat Stress.
He was followed by the services’ organisations – first the local branch of the Royal British Legion, followed by the Territorial Army, the Royal Corps of Transport and the Royal Air Forces Association.
The Sea Cadets, Army Cadets, Air Training Corps, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue, St Andrew’s Ambulance Service, Scouts, Guides and Orange Order followed.
Then it was the turn of members of the public to lay their wreaths .
To end the ceremony, John Cochrane, chairman of the local branch of the Legion, recited the words of Binyon’s poignant verses ‘For the Fallen’.
The parade then regrouped for the march back to East Kilbride Old Parish Church for the official ex-services’ remembrance service.
And, at the close of the church service, the ex-services’ organisations paraded back to the Royal British Legion Social Club where members of the Territorial Army, following tradition, served them with curry.
Because Armistice fell on the annivery of Armistice, representatives of the local branch of the Royal British Legion visited first East Kilbride Cemetery to lay poppies at each of the 16 graves of war dead there and then at Philipshill Cemetery, where they laid poppies on the graves of Corporal John Harrison, a 29-year-old Westwood soldier from the 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment, who was killed in Afghanistan in September 2009, and Private Steven Murray (Taylor), 23, who died in 2010 at a training camp in Lancaster.
This week John Cochrane told the News the Legion and other ex-services organisations had been gratified that there had again been a large attendance at Sunday’s services.
He said “The numbers attending seem to have grown in recent years and it is heartening to see it is people of all ages who are turning out to pay tribute to the fallen, not only of past conflicts but of the war on-going in Afghanistan and other conflicts around the world which are in the news on a daily basis.”