A bond between two Carluke families forged in World War One was renewed 100 years later at a moving ceremony in the town last week.
At the dedication of a special memorial stone to the memory of Thomas Caldwell on the exact centenary of him winning the Victoria Cross, his descendants met with members of the family of the town’s other VC winner from that conflict, William Angus.
A grandson of Thomas Caldwell, Christopher Duncan flew 5000 from his now-home in Hong Kong to attend the ceremony at Market Square led by Provost Ian McAllan and Lord Lieutenant Lady Susan Haughey.
The event was organised by South Lanarkshire Council with support from the Caldwell family and the Carluke Parish Historical Society and took place 100 years to the day since the battle of Audenarde, towards the end of the war, when Sgt. Caldwell took an enemy position single-handed and then led comrades to safety.
Last week, almost five decades since Thomas died, aged 74, his home town came to a standstill to listen to dedications from the Provost, the Royal Regiment of Scotland and the VC’s grandson.
Pupils from Kirkton and St Athanasius Primary Schools, who had worked on a project based on local recipients of the Victoria Cross, were also there, and the last post was played by a young musician from Carluke High School as Rev Ian Cunningham of Kirkton Church carried out the blessing of the memorial.
Provost McAllan said: “Thomas Caldwell was a son of Carluke whose actions on this very day a century ago delivered so many other sons safely back to their families.
“Heroic and selfless, he single-handedly saved numerous casualties, leading to the capture of 70 prisoners, eight machine guns and one trench mortar.
“This morning we honour Thomas’ name, we recognise his bravery and we acknowledge his achievements. We give thanks for his life and for the actions he took to preserve our freedom.”
Mr Caldwell’s grandson, Christopher Duncan, said he wouldn’t have missed the ceremony, despite the 10,000 mile round trip.
“Today is 100 years to the day that my grandfather, who was 24 years of age at the time, undertook a selfless and remarkable act of bravery. When you hear this you could easily imagine him as this tough, aggressive character. However, the truth is the complete opposite. He was a peaceful, loving and caring man.”