Linlithgow is getting ready to mark the 100 years of the Armistice while honouring her many sons who died so that we might live.
St Michael’s Parish Church, which solemnly bears the names of some 158 war dead in its own World War One memorial, is participating in the joint British and German Government initiative with the Central Council of Bell Ringers .
Together, all parties appealed to communities across the world to ring their church bells on Armistice Day to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One – and Linlithgow will proudly heed that call after its Remembrance Sunday service.
The mood at Kirkgate will be one of respectful celebration that the horrors of the trenches were finally over and that no more lives would be lost.
Christopher O’Mahony, president of the Central Council of Church Bellringers, explained: “At midday we will take the muffles off the bells and at 12.30pm it will be more about celebration. The national mood swings then to gratitude, gratefulness and thanks.”
Session clerk Alan Miller said: “We are always honoured to take part in the civic memorial yearly and we are delighted to be taking part in this. We will ring the bell for 11 minutes to reflect the significance of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th year.
“It’s wonderful to have Germany involved in this because of their suffering too – and to remember that changes the way we do things.”
St Michael’s is also amongst 20 churches across the land, which is bathed nightly in the stirring glow of remembrance red thanks to another link up- this time with Poppyscotland.
Meanwhile, Linlithgow historian and tour guide Bruce Jamieson has also been talking about Linlithgow’s sizeable contribution to the war.
He said: “The young men of Linlithgow answered the call to serve King and Country and they are not forgotten.
“Over the years I have taken hundreds of Linlithgow folk, young and old, to visit the war cemeteries in Belgium, France and Turkey where they lie buried in Commonwealth War Graves.
“We have also visited the spot in Compiegne Forest where 100 years ago the Armistice was signed bringing to an end the conflict that they thought was the War to end Wars. How mistaken they were!
“Back in Linlithgow families lamented their dead while the women of the town soldiered on in a wide range of previously unheard of occupations such as making shells in the Nobel Explosives Factory.”