Armistice 100: Janie is town's living link to The Armistice

The 101-year-old Janie Stewart is now the custodian of a copy of Carlukes Kirkton Church Roll of Honour
The 101-year-old Janie Stewart is now the custodian of a copy of Carlukes Kirkton Church Roll of Honour

A remarkable Carluke lady, Janie Stewart, is very probably the town’s last living link with World War One.

At 101 years old, she was still a baby when the guns fell silent on the final day of a conflict in which Carluke lost 225 men.

The fallen included 23 of the 123 men from her kirk, Kirkton Church, who marched away to war.

On a happier note, Janie’s kin - the town’s well-known Brooks retailing family - were thankful that all five members it saw go off to fight returned safe and sound to Carluke.

This week Janie rekindled memories of her family and church’s part in the war by re-reading her copy of a special Roll of Honour book, passed on to her by one of those five war survivors.

Originally, the book, a record in words and pictures of the deeds of the church’s 123 combatants, was presented to her uncle Andrew Brooks in recognition of his war service as a gunner in France.

He went on to open a menswear shop in Glasgow and become a noted bulldog breeder and Crufts judge. He lived on for 70 years after the war, dying in 1988 at the age of 92.

His volume, now in Janie’s hands, includes the names and pictures of all five of the ‘lucky’ Brooks boys: Wilson, Andrew and William Brooks were brothers and Ms Stewart’s uncles while Alexander and Robert Brooks were her cousins.

The book records that Rev Andrew Hunter, the minister of the then-Kirkton United Free Church, served alongside the troops in France from August to October 1915 and survived.

He wrote in his foreword to the “Roll of Honour” book of the great efforts that would be needed to build peace.

At the end of the war, he wrote: “The true and lasting peace which the world so sorely needs is not to be secured by force of arms.”

Today’s Kirkton minister, the Rev Iain Cunningham, described his words as “an insight that is as relevant today as it was a century ago.

“The book produced at the end of the First World War is a thoughtful and respectful memorial to the 123 young men from Kirkton who answered the call to serve.” He added: “Sadly 23 of them did not return and nine received distinguished military honours. There can be no doubting the immense courage demonstrated by the people of Carluke, especially by so many young men during those years of conflict. Nor should we ever underestimate the enormous price that was paid by the whole community, not only in loss of life, but also in long-term injury, pain and grief.”