How Clydesdale began to mourn before WWI ended

Lasting tribute...in Biggar to the town's war dead
Lasting tribute...in Biggar to the town's war dead
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IN the first days of August 1914 Clydesdale folk were in much the same boat as New Yorkers in the opening week of September, 2001.

Neither saw the greatest single tragedy of their respective histories coming.

The downing of the Twin Towers was, of course, a ‘surprise attack’ while historians now tell us that World War One had been simmering for at least 20 years.

But in that autumn of 1914, no-one in our area had a clue they’d ever get involved in that long-expected struggle for control of the continent.

It probably never even entered the heads of a pair of young brothers from Lanark’s Bannatyne Street that the shooting of some Archduke Franz-Whatshisname would touch their lives in any way.

Well, it did. In fact, it ended them.

And those of the others mentioned above and about 600 other mostly young men men from every town, village and hamlet in Clydesdale.

It might seem surprising - even morbid - to us today that, even before the last shot was fired and the last young life was cut short, folk in our towns and villages were already planning what kind of Memorial to create to their own community’s ‘Lost Boys’.

Meetings to discuss the subject began in the autumn of 1918 and so , surprisingly soon after the Armistice, those grim reminders started to go up apparently everywhere.