DAHT World War 1 Anniversary trip
Dunfermline Athletic Heritage Trust (DAHT) organised a trip to the WW1 Battlefields in 2016, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 1 July 1916 disaster for the British Army at the Somme. The group of 24 left East End Park on 29 June, returning on Monday 4 July.
The trip was particularly relevant to DAFC because of the decimation of McCrae`s Battalion (16 Royal Scots) with its Dunfermline platoon, including the deaths of half back Davie Izatt and committee member, Jimmy Morton.
One hundred years to the day from the disaster of the first day of the Battle of the Somme (1 July 2016), we attended the laying of wreaths at the Contalmaison Cairn, built by McCrae`s Battalion Trust. The DAFC wreath was laid by Bob Garmory, with Jim Leishman laying a wreath for Fife Council and Kenny McLachlan laying one from Co-op Funeralcare. After the ceremony we attended a commemoration meal with McCrae`s Battalion Trust at Le Tommy in Pozieres, and handed over to the Maire of Contalmaison a DAFC "Poppy" Shirt and a framed photograph of the 1911 DAFC team, including Davie Izatt.
We then had a tremendous reception from the people of Moeuvres, where DAFC Director Ian Hunter`s grandfather, A/Sgt Davie Hunter, won his VC in 1918. Gifts were exchanged at a ceremony attended by many in the village along with McCrae`s Battalion Trust and the Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 Scots).
Only two VC`s were won by Dunfermline men in WW1, and we later paid tribute to the other winner (Sgt John Erskine) at a ceremony at the Arras Memorial, where wreaths were laid by Graeme Hunter and John Simpson.
We visited some of the best-known locations on the Western Front, including Tyne Cot, Langemark, Vimy Ridge, Passchendale, Ypres and the moving football memorial to the 1914 Christmas truce at Messines.
At the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate, Bob Garmory and Jim Leishman again laid wreaths, and the crowd was enthralled by the playing of Queen`s Trumpeter Stewart Malcolm, who travelled with us.
Finally, we gathered at Black Watch Corner near Ypres, where one of the most decisive moments in the war took place in 1918.
It had been a memorable and moving trip