By Sandra McLennan –
Over 100 bandsmen including 72 pipers led a parade through Stonehaven to the Black Hill on Saturday (20 May) to honour the 100 year old Stonehaven War Memorial in a special rededication ceremony.
The event was organised by the Stonehaven Royal British Legion Scotland (RBLS) and attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Kincardineshire Alastair Macphie, military organisations, civic representatives, emergency services, community groups and Mackie Academy choir.
Leading the procession from the Market Square were pipe bands from across the north east including the Army Cadets, Banchory, Granite City, Howe O’ the Mearns, Lathallan, Lonach and Newtonhill.
Pipe and Drum Majors who led the massed band (photo courtesy of Iain Wood)
Saturday’s parade and rededication was planned to reflect the 1923 ceremony when the monument was formally dedicated and unveiled by The Right Honourable Viscountess Cowdray of Dunecht and Dunnottar Castle who donated the area of the Black Hill for the memorial site.
One hundred years later Viscountess Cowdray’s great grandson The Honourable Charles Pearson unveiled a commemorative plaque. The plaque will eventually be mounted onto a specially designed cairn and form part of the ongoing restoration and upkeep of the memorial.
From Right: The Honourable Charles Pearson, the Lord Lieutenant of Kincardineshire, Alastair Macphie, and George Pearson (photo courtesy of Carlo Williams)
Speaking at the ceremony The Honourable Charles Pearson said, “I am deeply honoured to have been asked to unveil this plaque which represents the rededication of this beautiful War Memorial at Stonehaven exactly 100 years after its original unveiling by my Great Grandmother, Annie, The 1st Viscountess Cowdray.”
Stonehaven Royal British Legion standard bearers with Lord Lieutenant of Kincardineshire Alastair Macphie, centre, The Hon Charles Pearson, right, and George Pearson, left. (photo courtesy of Jim Stephen)
A large poppy wreath crafted by volunteers from Poppy Scotland was laid at the memorial by the Lord Lieutenant accompanied by cadets representing air training corps, army cadet force and sea cadet corps.
Pam Gerrard RBLS branch treasurer and event co-ordinator said, “In the last 100 years, generations of us have experienced and witnessed so much change yet the War Memorial has been a constant, watching over the town from the Black Hill, as if standing guard.
”Today’s rededication ceremony brought generations of people together to reflect, remember and honour a monument that will forever remain timeless.”
During the ceremony local piper Ian Dallas played ‘The Black Hill – 100 years’ which he wrote for the rededication. Ian’s inspiration for the specially composed piece was his great uncle Frank Dallas who is remembered on the War Memorial Roll of Honour.
Iain McFadden (aka ‘Skirlie’) played the haunting Flooers O’ the Forest on a set of 100 year old bagpipes that belonged to Stonehaven Pipe Band’s first Pipe Major.
Marcus Coolahan who played the Last Post on bugle with Ian McFadden (photo courtesy of Jim Stephen)
“When I play these special pipes, I am always mindful of the 211 names inscribed on the war memorial, including the Pipe Major’s stepson and the importance of pausing to respectfully remember them,” said Skirlie.
The event committee wish to thank everyone for their invaluable support including local businesses and individuals for their time and generosity.
The stunning hill top setting of the War Memorial (photo courtesy of Carlo Williams)
FEATURE IMAGE – A 100 – strong The massed band led the parade to the rededication ceremony (photo courtesy of Carlo Williams)