Scotland`s War Memorials
I have a large collection of War Memorial images, both in the UK and abroad and this section is due to be revamped with memorials listed in their respective regional locations and supplemented by historical images from the Imperial War Museum archives and other collections where available.
The Braemar War Memorial stands just off the village`s main street above the gorge containing the Clunie River and lists the Men of Braemar who gave their lives in the service of their country during the First and Second World Wars.
The Fife Arms Hotel, across the road, was taken over by the War Department in 1940 and turned into an army barracks. The hotel was used by the newly formed Commandos, who were being trained in mountain warfare. Many other Scots regiments were under canvas here with a large number of troops being trained in cross-country skiing. The other large hotel in the village, the Invercauld Arms, was commandeered by the Home Office and turned into a sanctuary for Belgian refugees, most of whom were children.
The aero engine alongside the main war memorial is a Pegasus engine recovered from the remains of an RAF Vickers Wellington. The WW2 twin-engined bomber, serial number R1646, which crashed in early 1942, is just one of many military aircraft that have came to grief on the Scottish hills over the years, whether on combat, transport or training missions.
This Imperial War Museum image shows a Vickers Wellington Mark I, similar to the one that crashed, about to land at Wick, Caithness, after returning from a reconnaissance sortie along the Norwegian coast in 1940. A trio of Hawker Hurricanes are parked on the airfield.
On Monday January 19th 1942, Wellington IC R1646/JM-D which belonged to 20 Operational Training Unit (20 OTU) took-off from its base at RAF Lossiemouth on on a training flight with a crew of eight men onboard. The aircraft failed to return and was listed as missing, presumed lost at sea.
The winter of 1942 was one of the worst that the North East of Scotland had ever experienced with heavy falls of snow and bitterly cold temperatures. It was to be several weeks before the fate of the Wellington and her crew was discovered.
Approximately one month after the aircraft had disappeared, a Gamekeeper on the Invercauld Estate near Braemar saw what appeared to be a large piece of the wreckage while scanning for deer through his telescope and informed the village constable. The following morning, a search party comprising the policeman, the gamekeeper and two of the latter`s relatives, set off from Braemar in deep snow.
After considerable effort, they reached the hill in Glen Clunie and discovered the aircraft with only the tail and rear gun turret visible, the rest being buried under snow with no sign of life. The search party could do nothing further and returned to Braemar. The RAF were duly informed and on February 22nd 1942 and a unit was sent to investigate the crash site. Atrocious weather prevailed making it incredibly difficult to reach the site, let alone access the wreckage. It took more than two months for the team to recover the remains of the eight men who died. They were buried in Dyce Old Churchyard near RAF Dyce (which was civilianised and became part of the current Aberdeen Airport site).
The driving force behind the Braemar Aircrew Memorial was Andy Brown, one of the original search party who first discovered the wreckage on a bitter February day. He was 15 years old at the time. The memorial honours the memory of not only the crew of Wellington R1646, but all UK, Commonwealth and Allied aircrew who have lost their lives in the nearby Cairngorm mountains, whether in Peacetime or War.
Following permission from the MOD, assistance of troops from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, and a Sea King helicopter from RAF Lossiemouth, were required for the uplift. Both engines were recovered, cleaned up, and the least damaged Pegasus was painted and incorporated into the tribute which was created by Aboyne-based Architectural Designer Gerry Robb.
The memorial was unveiled on Thursday 21st August 2003 by HRH The Princess Royal. The Wellington`s crew came from the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and these countries flags were flown along with the Royal Air Force ensign.
Braemar Castle was built in 1628 by John Erskine, 2nd Earl of Mar, as his highland Hunting Lodge and replaced an earlier building on the same site. The Earl of Mar, one of Scotland’s most influential noblemen, was a strong supporter of the crown and government unlike most of his neighbours who were sympathetic to the Jacobite cause. By the spring of 1689 John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount `Bonnie` Dundee was engaged in recruiting Jacobites for a rebellion and one of his most enthusiastic supporters was the notorious John Farquharson of Inverey, also known as the Black Colonel. Farquharson captured the castle then torched it to ensure that it could never be recaptured by enemy forces. Despite a resounding victory in July 1689, against Government troops at the Battle of Killiecrankie, Dundee was fatally wounded and the uprising collapsed.
In 1707 John Erskine, 6th Earl of Mar was Secretary of State for Scotland and when the Stuart Queen Anne died in 1714, the Stuart line ended to be succeeded by the House of Hanover. The new king, George I, immediately dismissed the Earl of Mar who, now seriously disgruntled, returned to Braemar and raised an army against the crown, instigating the 1715 Jacobite rebellion. Once again, however, the Jacobites were defeated and the Earl of Mar, to avoid capture and execution, fled to France. His lands and properties, including Braemar Castle, were forfeit and passed to the Farquharsons of Invercauld.
The building was left in ruins until 1748 when it was renovated to serve as a garrison for Hanoverian troops. In 1831 the military garrison was withdrawn and the castle returned to the Farquharsons to become their family residence. By 1750 Deeside had become established as `Royal Deeside` after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert purchased nearby Balmoral Castle. The royal couple were often seen at the annual Braemar Gathering which took place in the grounds of Braemar Castle.
This stone opposite the entrance to the castle features Lady Anne Farquharson-MacKintosh who was the wife of Angus Mackintosh, the Mackintosh Clan Chief during the `45 Rebellion. Angus Mackintosh, an officer in the Black Watch, fought on the Government side at the Battle of Prestonpans where he was captured by Jacobite forces.
He was eventually paroled and allowed to return home to Moy having given assurance that he would never again take arms against the Jacobites. The story goes that when he arrived home he was greeted by his wife, who said "Your servant, captain" to which he replied "Your servant, colonel" and thereafter, she was known as Colonel Anne.
Two months before the Battle of Culloden, Charles Edward Stuart was a guest of hers at Moy Hall when a large Hanoverian force attempted to capture the prince. Disaster was averted when lookouts, posted in a field interspersed with haystacks by Colonel Anne, saw the enemy approach at night during a storm. Shouts and musket fire from the Highlanders darting between cover, and the occasional bolt of lightning, created the impression that the Hanoverians were greatly outnumbered and they withdrew. This became known as the `Rout of Moy`. For her sympathies to the Jacobite cause, Anne was imprisoned for six weeks after the Battle of Culloden.
The Corgarff War Memorial takes the form of a large rustic granite cairn on a stepped base and stands in its own small enclosure close to the village kirk. Twelve casualties from the Great War are listed on the front, a large percentage of the male population for such a small community, with another two from WW2 added below.
The village is best known for Corgarff Castle, a reminder of the turmoil and conflict which spread across Scotland centuries before. The castle is thought to have been built around 1550 by John Forbes of Towie and featured prominently in the bitter clan feud between the Forbes and the Gordons. The bleak outpost guarded the quickest route from Deeside to Speyside which was, years later, improved as a military road to allow Hanoverian troops to deal with rebellious Highlanders. At approximately 100 miles long, the route between Blairgowrie via Braemar to Fort George at Inverness, was the last substantial military road to be built in Scotland. It was the brainchild of Wade`s successor, General Caulfield. The improved road network, however, often proved more useful to the clansmen during the Jacobite Rising than Government forces. By the time of the road`s completion there was little threat of rebellion but the improved transport network proved beneficial for trade and travel. It also allowed government troops to police the region more easily.
More information on Corgarff Castle, and interior shots, can be found here (LINK)*.
More information on Corgarff Castle, and interior shots, can be found here (LINK)*.
Above: Part of the Old Military Road from Coupar Angus to Fort George at Inverness. The new road follows the line of the old military road for much of the way but this section below, highlighted by unmelted snow, parts and veers off across the heather moorland.
This memorial takes the form of a Memorial Gate forming the entrance to the grounds of the village church. Constructed in Kemnay granite, the structure was the work of Messrs J Robertson & Son of Hardgate, Aberdeen. It was unveiled by Lt. Col. Dawson of the Gordon Highlanders on 4th May 1924.
The names of the Fallen of WW2 are on the rear. First among them is Major General Thomas Gordon Rennie, who commanded the 51st Highland Division during the push from Normandy to Germany. He served in the Black Watch and fell in to captivity at St Valery in June 1940 but later escaped to fight in North Africa and Sicily before returning to France in 1944. He was killed on 24 March 1945, aged 45.
Another of the casualties, Gunner Kenneth Smith, died as a prisoner of the Japanese. He was aboard the Suez Maru along with 640 other POW's when the vessel was sunk by the US submarine Bonefish. Although approximately 250 men managed to get out of the hold, they were subsequently massacred by the Japanese escort vessel.
The immaculate estate village of Monymusk lies on the south bank of the River Don, on the edge of the Grampian Mountains, around 11 km (7 miles) from Inverurie and 27 km (17 miles) from Aberdeen. The origins of the village date back to 1712, when Sir Francis Grant, Lord Cullen, purchased Monymusk House and its estates from a close friend, Sir William Forbes, for the sum of £116,000. The transaction was intended to clear the Forbes family debts, but the Grants didn`t inspect the lands and property before buying it. They were shocked to discover that the fields were of extremely poor agricultural quality with no enclosures and very few trees. Most of the estate buildings were old and semi-derelict. The existing village of Kirktoun of Monymusk, home to around 100 tenants, consisted of rough stone-built and turf-roofed dwellings.
Sir Francis Grant appointed his 20 year old son, Archibald, as estate factor and he immediately began making improvements, clearing the land of stones, building walls, planting countless trees and introducing new farming methods. The village was rebuilt to surround a central square designed to allow cattle drovers en route to market in Aberdeen to rest their cattle overnight in relative security. Most of the buildings standing today were built in the 1800s including the Grant Arms Hotel, village hall and manse.
When the Grants purchased the estate from the Forbes family, one of the items included in the sale was a small wooden box decorated in silver which had been stored in the House of Monymusk. The Monymusk Reliquary is believed to have been made by monks on Iona in about 750 AD, and is believed to contain one or more of the bones of St Columba. As a sacred battle ensign of Scotland, the Monymusk Reliquary is said to have been shown to the Scottish troops before their victory over the English at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. The Grants put the Reliquary on sale in 1933 and it was purchased for the nation. It is now on display in the National Museum of Scotland.
This memorial of Kemnay granite is located in the Square beside the main road through the village. It was unveiled by Col. Sir Arthur Grant of Monymusk on 21st November 1920. Unusually for a First World War memorial, as well as names, each casualty`s unit, date and place of death are listed. Two nurses, Sister Annie Wilson of the Royal Naval Reserve and Maggie I.K. Durno of the Voluntary Air Detachment (VAD) Woolwich are recorded along with the men. The Second World War panel only has names recorded.
Peterculter, also known as Culter, is a suburb of Aberdeen and lies just under 13km (8 miles) inland from the city centre on the northern banks of the River Dee. Following the 1996 Scottish council boundary changes the settlement became part of the City of Aberdeen's Lower Deeside ward. Due to its proximity to Aberdeen City and being only about thirty miles from the Cairngorm National Park, Culter is a popular base for tourists.
Near the western exit of the village, high on the steep, rocky bank of the Culter Burn which flows into the Dee, is a colourful life-size kilted wooden figure holding a broadsword and targe (shield) that supposedly represents Rob Roy Macgregor. Local legend has the famous outlaw leaping across the stream here to avoid capture by pursuing Hanoverian troops, but as most Rob`s exploits are centred around Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, this `story` appears to be just that. It`s thought that the original statue doubling as Rob Roy was a modified ship's figurehead.
The Peterculter war memorial is a tall rustic castellated tower with the commemorations and names of the dead in two grey granite tablets set into the sides. The memorial stands on the North Deeside Road on a hillock to the north of the former Culter Mills site and a short steep path from the main road leads to the location. An additional panel bears the names of local service personnel who lost their lives during WW2.
The busy fishing port of Peterhead has grown around the narrow estuary of the River Ugie and is the most easterly point on the Scottish mainland. The settlement was founded around 1587 by George Keith, the 5th Earl Marischal and his brother Robert. By the time the 18th century drew to a close, the town had established itself as a fashionable resort with a spa but it was also a major whaling centre. By 1820 it was second only to Hull in East Yorkshire. Later came the herring boom which peaked in 1890 when no less than 580 vessels were based here.
A new phase of growth was initiated in the 1970s when Peterhead became a major oil industry service centre and although nowhere near as busy as Aberdeen to the south, Offshore Support Vessels call frequently. In recent times, the town has suffered from several high profile company closures and is facing a number of pressures, including diminishing fish stocks and EU quotas which severely limit each boats potential catch. Many skippers have been forced to sell up, but fishing boats still crowd the harbour which can be an interesting place to explore.
Often fishing town and villages have tall memorials similar to this one which can act as valuable navigation aids when viewed from the water.
Names of service personnel from Peterhead who fell in the Second World War are listed on these cemetery gate posts behind the original memorial.
The Peterhead War Memorial was unveiled on 6 August 1922 and bears the names of those from the community who died during the Great War. It stands in an elevated position close to the seafront in front of the old kirkyard on South Road.
Like many similar coastal communities throughout the UK, Peterhead suffered a disproportionately large number of fatalities at sea during both World Wars, with many individuals serving not only in the Royal Navy but also the Naval Reserves and Merchant Navy.
Three miles south of Peterhead, at Boddam, this monument was erected in 2009 to honour the men and women who served at nearby RAF Buchan from 1952 until 2005.
Originally opened as an Air Defence Radar Unit, the site was used to coordinate all aspects of air defence in its Area of Responsibility. It was a valuable asset, particularly during the Cold War when Soviet aircraft regularly tested Britain`s reaction times.
Soviet aircraft transiting between Murmansk in northern Russia and Cuba were routinely intercepted and escorted by live armed fighters from Leuchars or Lossiemouth whenever they entered Northern UK airspace.
Following the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, the importance of RAF Buchan`s role gradually diminished and, in 2003, it was announced that permanently manned operations would end.
This memorial which was unveiled in 1920, lists 30 casualties from the communities of Rhynie and Kearn in Aberdeenshire who fell in the Great War. Twelve names were added from the Second World War. The statue, which stands on the village green, was the work of Robert Warrack Morrison who was based in Aberdeen. The church and Tap o` Noth, act as a fine backdrop and near the peak`s summit lie the impressive remains of the second highest hillfort in Scotland. It can be reached via a trail that leads from the designated car park, off the A941, approximately 2 kilometres west of Rhynie.
Additional images and information can be found on my blog, Clydeside Images.com. Further War Memorial and Military History content, not exclusively relating to Scotland, may also feature in the galleries of individual countries on this site. Also, check out my Stock Photography Archive for even more shots.