Category Archives: Scotland

Glen Cinema Disaster

On the afternoon of 31 December 1929, at an area of Paisley called Paisley Cross in Scotland, approximately 2000 children filled the Glen Cinema to watch a matinee. The film was put in its metal can in the spool room where it began to issue thick black smoke. (Nitrocellulose film which is highly flammable can burn without any supply of air.)

When smoke emerged from the film container, an attempt by the operator to smother the film caused the container to spring open releasing smoke and fumes into the vestibule. Everyone fled in panic towards the exits on either side of the screen causing a jam at the exit doors which were protected by a locked iron gate. Many who were crushed by the force of others died from asphyxiation.

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Source: http://images.rarenewspapers.com/ebayimgs/2.20.2011/image040.jpg

Sixty nine children lost their lives ranging in age from four to fifteen, and almost as many were injured. The tragedy was reported as far away as Memphis, Tennessee. The horror of the event was recorded by the Glasgow Herald Newspaper the following day. To read the detailed report ,click this link. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=6qNAAAAAIBAJ&sjid=oqUMAAAAIBAJ&pg=4000,90882&dq=glen-cinema&hl=en

The majority of the deceased are interred in Hawkhead Cemetery where a memorial is inscribed with the names of the victims and the words “To the memory of the seventy-one children who lost their lives in the Glen Cinema Disaster 31st Dec 1929“.

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Creative Commons License, Lairich Rig. Source: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/3609168
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Cairns

A cairn is a marker compiled of stacked rocks. Initially it was an ancient custom of burying the dead to protect the body from scavenging animals.

Cairns vary in size related to whether they are used as a marker for the dead, a memorial, or on trails as a guide.

Markers known as Inukshuk are used by the Inuit and other people of the Artic regions of North America for the purpose of navigation. The word ‘inuksuk’ means “something which acts for, or performs the function of a person’. The Inukshuk form has become a modern day custom of tourists to indicate ‘I was here.’

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Vancouver, Canada

Cairns also marked the places where coffin-bearers rested when the walk to the burial ground was a long one e.g. St Cyril’s Church (Cille Choirille), in Glen Spean, near Roy Bridge in Scotland. Gravediggers recited the Gaelic Prayer before filling the grave in this cemetery which has the most incredible view of any in the Highlands.

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Glen Spean

The area around Inverness in Scotland is rife with cairns. The Clava Cairn is a circular chamber tomb cairn, named after the group of three cairns at Balnuaran of Clava,

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Balnuaran of Clava

The memorial built at the site of the former Aignish Farm on the islands of Lewis and Harris is a a tribute to the people who took action to recover their homes and livelihoods in the land struggles between landlords and crofters in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The design of two stone structures reflects the idea of confrontation. The jagged stones reflect the aggression and tension of the event.

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This ‘new’ cairn, built by John MacKinnon of Arisaig, was erected on the shores of Loch nan Uamh by the Forty Five Association and unveiled on 4 October 1956. The plaque states: This cairn marks the traditional spot from which Prince Charles Edward Stuart embarked for France 20th September 1746. ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ who claimed to be the rightful heir to the thrones of England, Scotland, France and Ireland was supported by many Highland clans both Catholic and Protestant. Supporters known as Jacobites led risings to reinstate him to the throne.

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One of the most famous Scottish cairns commemorates the Battle of Culloden, the last Jacobite rising, fought on Drumossie Moor, to the north east of Inverness in Scotland. The cairn was erected by Duncan Forbes of Culloden in 1881, in memory of the fallen Jacobites. The inscription on the plaque of the 20 foot high cairn reads :
‘The Battle of Culloden was fought on this moor 16th April, 1746. The graves of the Gallant Highlanders who fought for Scotland and Prince Charlie are marked by the names of their clans’

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In ancient Scotland, cairns were rallying points before battles and fights. Each man placed a stone on the ground upon arrival and removed it after the battle. The number of stones left was an account of the number of Clan members lost in the battle.

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David Izatt Photography

Shells

Actual shell fragments left on gravestones in pioneer cemeteries represent the journey through death and rebirth. Shells that are not part of the gravestone were left there to signify that the deceased had not been forgotten.

In localities near the sea, entire graves were covered with shells because this product was cheap and readily available.

Although not a common symbol the shell most often used is a scallop shell which represents the baptism of Christ. Many baptismal fonts are often built in the form of a scallop shell.

It is also a traditional symbol of the Crusades.

This large scallop shell was designed by the deceased, Ransom Cook, some years before his death.

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The art form of a child cradled in a scallop shell was popular in North America during the 19th century. Sears, Roebuck and Company had a contract with a Vermont marble producer to sell the shell headstone by mail order.

The conch shell was revered by many cultures as a symbol of reincarnation and wisdom. In Buddhism, the shell’s call can awaken one from ignorance, in Chinese Buddhism it signifies a prosperous journey; and in Islam the shell represents hearing the divine word. People in the Bakongo area of Africa believe that the shell encloses the soul (Pagans also held this same belief regarding the shell as a source of life.)

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They Fell Asleep

I discovered this cross and markers in the older section of the New Cemetery, Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland. It is surrounded by hewn stone with engraved names and dates of members of the Mushet family. As the markers are relatively new they must represent broken or damaged headstones which have been removed.

The patriarch was William born in 1821. He married Robina Macfarlane who was born on August 28 1835.

William Mushet
Fell Asleep
April 1879
Robina Macfarlane
His Wife
Fell Asleep April 1911
Aged 77

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George Fred
Rests In India
Aged 22
June 29th 1878

They celebrated the births of 9 children.

  1. George Frederick was born on 1 May 1856 and christened on 25 May 1856. He died on 29 June1878, and is buried in Bombay (Mumbai)
  2. John Macfarlane was born 15 November 1857
  3. Janet Gray was born in 1858 and baptised on 16 January 1859
  4. William was born in 1861 and christened on 1 June
  5. Louisa Cecilia Mushet was born in 1863 and christened on 3 May
  6. Elizabeth Jane was born in 1864 and christened 13 December. Her stone is not visible in the images
  7. William Ernest. A second son born in 1871 was also named William. Given names followed a traditional naming pattern in Scotland by honouring members of the family. On occasion the same name was given to more than one child, if the first child had died, in order to perpetuate the name within the family. William Ernest was christened on 3 September.
  8. David Henry Cadell was born 25 April 1874-1881 and christened on 5 July
  9. Gerald was christened on11 February 1876. He died in 1906. His stone is not visible in the images

Thou Who Art The Hearer Of Prayer
All Flesh Shall Come Unto Thee
For Thine Is The Kingdom, The Power
And The Glory For Ever. Amen

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Willie Fell Asleep
Aged 3 ¼ Years
Dec 1864

David Henry Cadell
Fell Asleep
1871

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Janet Gray Mushet
Wife Of
John Morison
Of Newbattle
Fell Asleep 1939

Louisa Cecilia Mushet
Wife Of Rutherford Morison
Fell Asleep February 1904

Thanks Be To God Which Giveth Us The Victory
Through Our Lord Jesus Christ

St. Andrew’s Cathedral and Priory

The town of St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland, takes its name from one of Christ’s apostles, and was an important religious centre in medieval Scotland from where the bishops wielded great influence over Church and State.

The ruins of the Cathedral, at one time Scotland’s largest building, originated from a priory founded by Bishop Robert in the 12th century and was a centre of learning. Scotland’s first university was established there.

The cemetery within the ruins of the cathedral is large, spacious, well maintained and manicured. There are numerous tombstones relating to the armed services and the men who were lost during the great wars.

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Erected / By / Robert Corstorphan / In Memory Of / William Henry, His Son, / Who Was Drowned On The 1st of July  / 1839 In An Attempting To Save Another / From A Watery Grave / In The 18th Year Of His Age.

Whose Death Was The Grief Of A Fond Mother, / And The Slighted Expectations / Of An Indulgent Father / The Youth Grew Up Like A Well Watered Plant / He Shot Deep, Rose High / And Bade Fair For Manhood.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is regarded worldwide as the ‘home of golf’, therefore it is not surprising that more than a few golfers are buried here.

In Memory Of / Allan Robertson / Who Died 1st Sept 1859 / Aged 44 Years.
He Was Greatly Esteemed / For His Personal Worth / And For Many Years / Was Distinguished As The / Champion Golfer / Of Scotland.
Read more about this great golfer at http://www.worldgolfhalloffame.org/allen-robertson/

Fellowship and Gratitude

“The Brownes of Bendarroch were one of those families who lived to help other people, and the good work they did for our village can never be properly estimated…”

“When the Boy Scouts were instituted, Mary at once formed a troop and became a scoutmaster…” “Mary also set up a troop of Girl Guides after that movement started in the UK in 1910.”

The above information was gleaned from research by Helensburgh Heritage Trust director Alistair McIntyre.

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To make some nook of God’s creation a little fruitfuller, better, more worthy of God – to make some human hearts a little wiser manfuller happier…it is a work for God.  This original quotation by T. Carlyle is dated 1855. This grave is located in Faslane Cemetery at , Argyll & Bute, Scotland

When the World Scout Emblem was introduced in 1908 it wGarelocheadas in the shape of a fleur-de-lis arrowhead. The symbol was chosen by Robert Baden-Powell as a reminder of the arm badge of ‘reconnaissance scouts’ who served in the British Army. The addition of 2 five-pointed stars in the wings made the emblem unique to Scouting and therefore copyrighted. Each of the ten points symbolised one of ten Scout Laws.

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Baden-Powell later introduced the Thanks badge with the fleur-de-lis superimposed on a swastika. It was worn in various forms until 1935 and was recognized as a badge of fellowship among Scouts all over the world. It was offered as a token of gratitude.

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“I want specially to remind Scouts to keep their eyes open and never fail to spot anyone wearing this badge. It is their duty then to go up to such a person, make the scout sign, and ask if they can be of service to the wearer.” Robert Baden-Powell.

Although the swastika is synonymous with the German Nazi party and Hitler, it has been in use in many forms for 5000 years. The word is composed of two words in Sanskrit, “Su” (good) and “Asati” (to exist) which means “May good prevail.” Originally a symbol of good fortune, peace and prosperity, its true meaning was desecrated by the Nazis.

 

CWGC Graves

Following the two World Wars, discussion and agreement by Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom (member countries of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission) on the burial of the dead created a standardized format encompassing burial sites, layout and size of the gravestones, and the legend on headstones.

Commonwealth countries built burial sites close to combat zones to preserve the link with the battlefield, whereas the United States and France created huge regional cemeteries intended to make a significant impression on people’s minds.

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National Cemetery, Los Angeles, USA

The graves were arranged in straight rows and designed to be perpetual and permanent. The material used in the headstones varied due to the requirement of a weather resistant substance or occurrence of earthquakes.

The standard used ensured that every grave was marked with a headstone, originally 76 centimetres (30”) tall, 38 cm (15”) wide, and 7.6cm (3.0”) thick,  with upper case lettering designed by MacDonald Gill.

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Graves in Germany. Image Source: thebignote.com

Each stone contained the national emblem or regimental badge, rank, name, unit, date of death and age of each casualty. In the case of burials of Victoria Cross or George Cross recipients, the regimental badge was supplemented by the Victoria Cross or George Cross emblem.

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Image Source: thebignote.com

An appropriate religious symbol was included; most often a cross denoting Christianity, and sometimes a personal dedication chosen by relatives.

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Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. J. F. Kennedy

Far away in a distant land,
Suddenly struck by death’s strong hand
A loving son, strong and brave,
Lies buried in a soldier’s grave.

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Image Source: thebignote.com

No one knows the silent heartache,
Only those can tell
Who have lost their loved ones
Without saying one farewell.
We pictured him safely returning,
We longed to clasp his hand,
But God has postponed the meeting,
Till we meet in a better land.

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Image Source: thebignote.com

No one knows the silent heartache, 
only those that have lost can tell
Of the grief that’s borne in silence
For the one we loved so well. 

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Image Source: the bignote.com

And when he gets to Heaven,
To Saint Peter he will tell:
‘Just another soldier reporting, Sir.
I’ve served my time in Hell.’ Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland

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Do not ask us if we miss him,
There is such a vacant place;
Can we e’er forget that footstep,
And that dear familiar face.

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Image Source: thebignote.com

No loved one stood beside him to bid a last farewell,
No word of comfort could he leave to those he loved so well.
We little thought his time so short in this world to remain,
Nor that from when his home he went he would never return again.

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He marched away so bravely, His young head proudly held;
His footsteps never faltered, His courage never failed,
There on the field of battle, He calmly took his place,
He fought for King and Country, And the honour of his race.

…And decades later, the men and women who served are still remembered and accorded the same burial.

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