Gala Remembers 2018

Gala Remembers is a partnership of community groups and organisations working together to create a respectful commemoration for all those who served our country during WWI.

The 11th November 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice which ended the hostilities of WWI. One of the deadliest conflicts in military history, with millions of military personnel and civilians dead, including the 639 men commemorated on our War Memorial.

Energise Galashiels Trust needs your support to help us deliver the activities and events planned for this commemoration, please Donate now via our Just Giving Page.

Here are just a few of the poignant stories of those we will remember, taken from information collated by volunteers at the Old Gala Club, who will publish a book later this year.

Adam Davidson lived in 139 Halliburton Place.
He worked with Brown Bros at Buckholm Mill and was a keen gymnast. He was killed in action in Gallipoli, serving in the K.O.S.B., aged 20 years.
The Inglis family at 49 Glendinning Terrace suffered enormously. Piper Walter Inglis lost 3 sons. Charles, seen here in his Royal Marines Light Infantry uniform, and George and William, both in the K.O.S.B. and who are commemorated on the Thiepval and Menin Gate Memorials.
Robert Douglas was a painter to trade and a prominent footballer. He served in the Royal Scots and was killed in action in France. Robert had four children at home in Market Street.
John Walker, a clerk, was only 17 years old, never to return home to No. 5 Elm Row. Serving with the Cameron Highlanders, John was killed in action in France in 1915.

Max Gray, a compositor with John McQueen & Son, served in the K.O.S.B. He survived the war. Max kept diary notes from Ypres in 1918. He wrote: ‘our guns were held fast in the quagmire’. Later: ‘With so much mud, it was an unusual sight to see field guns galloped forward and the Cyclist Corps able to keep up with infantry.’

He recorded experiencing gas attacks and, when surrounded in a canal, hand-to-hand fighting and being re-supplied by air. The enemy was repelled – an action for which he was awarded the Military Medal. ‘Only half the men who crossed the canal the night before got back.’

After the Armistice was signed he thought he would be coming home to Gala– but no, 6th K.O.S.B. were to be part of the Army of Occupation. Over the next month, the Battalion marched 216 miles through Belgium, into Germany to Cologne.

Two of his great, great grandsons, Lachlan and Brody, live in New Zealand. When they visited Scotland three years ago, they wanted to see Max Grayʼs WWI medals. 100 years later, Lachlan Gray, aged 9, wrote this poem to commemorate Anzac Day 2018.

As the bullets fly, soldiers die
But all we know is the poppies grow
For love and hope
As they sacrifice their lives
Losing them cuts like knives
But all we know is the poppies grow
For wishes and every country’s peace
Blood was shed and lost some flesh
But all we know is the poppies grow
For light to defeat the dark
More and more crosses appear
But that’s one of the reasons poppies are here
To remember them
Lest we forget

Energise Galashiels Trust are launching this appeal to allow Galashiels to deliver the most fitting commemoration possible in 2018 and to create a legacy for the future.

Plans are in hand for an exhibition of WWI quilts; a series of lectures / research days; town centre banners; a commemorative cross – crocheted with 639 poppies; WWI films at the Pavilion Cinema; the publication of a book of WWI artefacts and memorabilia by Old Gala Club; a Tea Party and a Festival of Remembrance. This culminates with the Royal British Legion Scotland Remembrance Parade on Sunday 11th November and with a special Angel’s Wings Service that evening.

We are working on an ambitious Tear Drop sculpture, which will incorporate Regimental Cap Badges, created from 2,000 poppies produced from re-cycled plastic bottles and sited adjacent to the War Memorial. We are assessing whether we can ‘light up’ our churches around Armistice Day. We are researching what may be possible as permanent ‘legacies’ of this anniversary.
We need your support to help us deliver this commemoration.

We need your support to help us deliver this commemoration. Please donate now via our Just Giving Page