Local legacy of The Great War remembered on Armistice Day

John Manson, died on Sept 15, 1916
John Manson, died on Sept 15, 1916
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Local author and historian Bruce Jamieson is a busy and much-sought after individual – and not just on his home turf of Linlithgow.

Just back from leading a D-Day Beaches tour in Normandy, he also recently delivered a lecture at Exeter University.

That presentation, The Great War – the Local Legacy, will be presented at Linlithgow Academy on Armistice Day.

It seeks to provide a greater understanding of the role the Burgh played during the 1914-1918 war.

Bruce delivers this quite movingly, with an in-depth look at local individuals who played a part in the Great War.

On September 20th, 1916, Mrs Janet Manson of Paddock Hall Cottage, Linlithgow, received a letter with a British Field Post Office cancellation.

It came from William Cruikshank, a Royal Scots army chaplain, and informed her that her son, John Manson, had been killed in action on the Somme battlefield.

In addition to a grieving mother, John left behind his young Linlithgow widow whom he had married just a few weeks earlier.

It was not the first letter of its type to reach Linlithgow between 1914 and 1918, nor sadly was it the last.

When the guns fell silent on the 11th day of the 11th hour in 1918, Linlithgow had lost over 150 young men. Some, like John Manson, lay in marked graves along the Western Front.

Others like Robert McCurdie, who died in June 1915 on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey and is buried in the Lancashire Landing burial ground, lie further afield.

Sadly, some – like David Macgregor who died on March 24, 1918 – have no known grave. He is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial to the missing; a victim of the German’s Last Push in 1918.

These three Linlithgow men have not been forgotten.

Their last resting places have all been visited by pupils from Linlithgow Academy during school trips conducted by their then history teacher, Bruce Jamieson.

To remember them, and the many others who gave their lives, in the centenary year of the outbreak of The Great War, Bruce’s presentation will be staged, quite deliberately, on Tuesday, November 11, at 7pm.

Written and narrated by Bruce Jamieson, it will also feature multi-media effects from former BBC man, John Barker, with music from ‘Cockleroy’ and Linlithgow Reed Band.

Tickets for free entry should be obtained in advance from The Burgh Halls or Far From The Madding Crowd. Doors open at 6-30pm.

The presentation is being sponsored by Platform 3, Hunter’s Garage, Bo’ness Rotary, Linlithgow Round Table and West Lothian Council.