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A memorial to the north east's own regiment, the Gordon Highlanders is finally unveiled at National Arboretum


By Pat Scott

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The dedication ceremony and unveiling of a memorial to The Gordon Highlanders at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire has been described as a "glorious day to remember."

Around 270 Gordon Highlander veterans were present and heard an address by the Colonel in Chief, His Royal Highness, The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay who was unable to attend.

The new memorial with the poppy tributes laid at the unveiling. Pictures: James Finlay
The new memorial with the poppy tributes laid at the unveiling. Pictures: James Finlay

Lord Lieutenants for the shires of the regimental area of the north east, the Lord Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire, Mr Alexander Manson, the Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire, Mr Andrew Simpson and the Lord Lieutenant of Kincardineshire, Mr Alastair Macphie and the Lord Provost of Aberdeen, Councillor Barney Crockett attended.

The Lord Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire Alexander Manson gives his address at the Gordon Highlanders new memorial. Pictures: James Finlay
The Lord Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire Alexander Manson gives his address at the Gordon Highlanders new memorial. Pictures: James Finlay

Each of the Lord Lieutenants spoke with great pride of the links their respective shires and the City of Aberdeen had with the Gordon Highlanders and which had endured throughout the Regiment’s 200 year history and continued today.

Andrew Simpson, the Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire at the podium next to the Gordon Highlanders memorial. Pictures: James Finlay
Andrew Simpson, the Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire at the podium next to the Gordon Highlanders memorial. Pictures: James Finlay

The Dedication Service at the Memorial was conducted by the Senior Army Chaplain for Scotland, the Reverend Duncan Macpherson CF.

The Colonel of The Regiment, Lieutenant General Sir Peter Graham KCB, CBE addresses the company. Pictures: James Finlay
The Colonel of The Regiment, Lieutenant General Sir Peter Graham KCB, CBE addresses the company. Pictures: James Finlay

Following the Dedication Ceremony, a reception and buffet was held where the Colonel of The Regiment, Lieutenant General Sir Peter Graham KCB, CBE, gave a very moving speech in which he stressed that while it might be the last ceremony of its kind, the spirit of the regiment would live on in association branches across the UK and in particular, at the very special 5 star Museum the Regiment has in Aberdeen.

Lieutenant General Sir Peter Graham KCB, CBE; Lieutenant Colonel Gordon McKen MBE, TD vice chairman of The Gordon Highlanders Association, Gartly; Aberdeen Branch Standard Bearer, Mike McNamara; Davie Gordon; Major Bob Donald and from Huntly Robert Shand. Pictures: James Finlay
Lieutenant General Sir Peter Graham KCB, CBE; Lieutenant Colonel Gordon McKen MBE, TD vice chairman of The Gordon Highlanders Association, Gartly; Aberdeen Branch Standard Bearer, Mike McNamara; Davie Gordon; Major Bob Donald and from Huntly Robert Shand. Pictures: James Finlay

The Museum has been transformed during the last 18 months with the support and generosity of donors and is now welcoming back visitors from far and wide.

The day ended with a splendid Beating Retreat performed by the Pipes and Drums of The London Scottish Regiment, which has links with the Gordon Highlanders going back to the second Boer War.

The memorial in position. Pictures: James Finlay
The memorial in position. Pictures: James Finlay

Grenville Irvine-Fortescue DL, regimental secretary said: "The day evoked a mixture of sadness and poignancy but also great pride. It was a very happy occasion with much laughter, smiles and the telling of stories and an opportunity for veterans from across the UK to meet again having in many cases not had an opportunity to do so since before the start of the pandemic.

"One 93 year old veteran summed the day up with a simple sentence – ‘This has been the happiest day of my life! That really says it all."


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