Ypres/Passchendaele Remembrance Weekend

Some video's of the Remembrance Weekend at Ypres and Passchendaele

Last Post Ypres 9 November 2008

Crest Farm Passchendaele 10 November 2008

Passchendaele 1917 Pipes and Drums playing "On the Road To Passchendaele"

Isla St. Claire at Passchendaele Church 10 November 2008

1 Year Scottish Memorial at Zonnebeke - 21 September 2008

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Private James MacKenzie VC, 2nd Batt. Scots Guards

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James MacKenzie VC (2 April 1889–19 December 1914) was a Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

MacKenzie was born in New Abbey, Dumfries in 1889 and enlisted in the Scots Guards on 16 February 1912. He embarked for France on 5 October 1914. He was 25 years old, and a private in the 2nd Battalion, Scots Guards, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

On 19 December 1914 at Rouges Bancs, France, Private MacKenzie rescued a severely wounded man from the front of the German trenches under a very heavy fire and after a stretcher party had been compelled to abandon the attempt. Private MacKenzie was killed later on that day while trying to carry out a similar act.

Private MacKenzie has no known grave but his name is listed on panel 1 the Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing in Berks Cemetery Extension near Ploegsteert in Hainaut, Belgium. the Berks cemetery at Ploestreet, Belgium. There is a memorial tablet at Troqueer parish church, Dumfries. His Victoria Cross is displayed at The Guards Regimental Headquarters (Scots Guards RHQ), London, England.

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2nd Batt. Scots Guards at Jabbeke - 8 October 1914

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Bob Grundy of the Great War Forum was so kind to mail me a photo of the 2nd Batt. of the Scots Guards leaving my home town Jabbeke on the 8th of October 1914. Of course this made me curious to the story behind it ! A Scottish unit in my home town how good could it get ?

Andy Pay, another forum member did get me the following :

2nd Scots Guards War Diary for this time reads:


Landed at Zeebrugge about 6am, by train to Bruges, arrived about 11am and marched to Varssenere. The Battalion took up an outpost position LF & RF. The object of landing the 7th Division at Zeebrugge was to assist the Belgium Army to withdraw from Antwerp which was at that time being very heavily bombarded and very hard pressed.


The Battalion marched to Ostend about 14 miles and billeted at Steene which is a small village outside Ostend. A German Taube aeroplane was flying over the harbour. The 3rd Cavalry Division reported to be landing at Ostend and the 20th Brigade was sent to cover their landing. The Taube was chased by an English aeroplane.


Left our billets at 6am and marched into Ostend where we entrained for Ghent about 7.30am. Two days rations were carried on the men accompanied by P/Line Transport. The town was crowded by wounded Belgians who had come from Antwerp. Antwerp was reported to have fallen. On arrival at Ghent at 11am the Battalion marched to a place in the town where it bivouacked and where the remainder of the Brigade joined later in the day. Orders were received in the afternoon to march and take up an outpost line to cover the retirement of Belgian troops which were returning after being in action for some weeks continously. They appeared to have had enough fighting. Ghent was full of German spies. The people seemed pleased to see the British troops. The outpost line taken up was as follows, Border Regiment on the right, 2nd Scots Guards in centre & 1st Grenadier Guards on the left. Gordon Highlanders in Reserve on the railway embankment, unsupported by any artillery.

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Caerlaverock Castle - Dumfries and Galloway

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Caerlaverock Castle is a 13th-century triangular moated castle in the Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve area at the Solway Firth, south of Dumfries in the south west of Scotland.

In the Middle Ages it was owned by the Maxwell family. Today, the castle is in the care of Historic Scotland and is a popular tourist attraction and wedding venue.

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Hermitage Castle - Borders

Hermitage Castle is a semi-ruined castle in the border region of Scotland. It is under the care of Historic Scotland. The Castle has a reputation, both from its history and its appearance, as one of the most sinister and atmospheric in Scotland.

It can be found at Newcastleton, Roxburghshire.

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Greenknowe Tower - Borders

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The lands of Greenknowe were obtained by the Setons of Touch in the early 15th century, when Alexander Seton married a Gordon heiress. The tower was built in 1581 by James Seton, and the date, his initials, and the initials of his wife Janet Edmonstone, are inscribed above the door. The castle is situated on a low natural mound, which was originally surrounded and defended by marshy ground.

In the 17th century, the tower was sold to the Pringles of Stichil, who made additions to the building, and enlarged the windows to suit the less dangerous times. The castle was occupied until the mid 19th century, and passed into state care in 1937 following restoration works.

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Jedburgh Abbey - Borders

Jedburgh Abbey is a ruined 12th century Augustinian abbey, situated in Jedburgh, in the Borders of Scotland. The abbey was founded in 1138.

Today, there is a cloister and herb garden to explore, and a visitor centre containing 8th century carvings and artefacts excavated from the abbey grounds.

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Dryburgh Abbey - Borders

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Dryburgh Abbey, on the banks of the River Tweed, Scotland, was nominally founded on 10 November (Martinmas) 1150 in an agreement between Hugh de Morville, Lord of Lauderdale and Constable of Scotland, and the Premonstratensian canons regular from Alnwick Abbey in Northumberland. The arrival of the canons along with their first abbot, Roger, took place on 13 December 1152.

It was burned by English troops in 1322, after which it was restored only to be again burned by Richard II in 1385, but it flourished in the fifteenth century. It was finally destroyed in 1544, briefly to survive until the Scottish Reformation, when it was given to the Earl of Mar by James VI of Scotland.

The 12th Earl of Buchan bought the land in 1786. Sir Walter Scott and Field Marshal Earl Douglas Haig are buried in its grounds.

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Battle of Bannockburn 1314

The Battle of Bannockburn (Blàr Allt a' Bhonnaich in Gaelic) (June 24, 1314) was a significant Scottish victory in the Wars of Scottish Independence. It was the decisive battle in the First War of Scottish Independence.

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The Battle of Culloden Trailer

Trailer for audiovisual film at National Trust For Scotland's new Culloden Battlefield Experience. A dramatic reconstruction of the Battle of Culloden, the last battle fought on British soil on 16th April 1746 between the Jacobite supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie and The British Army of George II. Directed by Craig Collinson & Produced by Nobles Gate.

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Bas agus Buaidh - Death and Victory

William Wallace

Scottish patriot born at Elderslie Renfrewshire circa 1270 A.D. who from the year 1296 fought dauntlessy in defence of his country`s liberty and independence in the face of fearful odds and great hardship being eventualy betrayed and captured, brought to London and put to death on the 23rd August 1305.

His example, heroism and devotion, inspired those who came after him to win victory from defeat and his memory remains for all time a source of pride, honour and inspiration to his countrymen.

Dico tibi verum libertas optima rerum nunquam servili sub nexu vivito fili. (Sir William Wallace)


I tell you the truth, the best of all things is freedom, never son, live under the bonds of slavery.

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Edinburgh Military Tattoo

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Scotland !

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Passchendaele 1917 Pipes and Drums at Museumweekend Zonnebeke

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International Conference St.-George's Day 1918


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Saturday 19 April


Location : Zeebrugge

Languages : English and Dutch/Flemish


Program :

9.30 Arrival of the participants at Channel 16 Werfkaai - Zeebrugge

Start of the conference will be 10.00

1. Marinekorps Flanders and the importance of the Flemish harbours for the German U-boat, torpedo boat and destroyer weapon by Johan Ryheul

12.10 : lunch, location at your own choice

13.45 : group gathering at the River Palace (ship)

14.00 : start program

2. Mines and torpedoes of WW I by Vincent Hoffman, DOVO (Belgian military service which defuses bombs etc)
Development and use of sea mines and torpedo’s in WW I.  Minefields such as Dover Barrage, the northern barrage and it’s effects on naval warfare.

15.00 Break, afterwards we walk to the Seafront theme park

Guided visit to the Russian sub of the Foxtrot class, we take a closer look at the development of subs from WW I till the cold war.  Also a visit to a light vessel.

Visit of the Seafront theme park.  We start with the part which gives us a closer look at torpedo’s of both world wars, see some parts of the movie Das Boot, etc.

At Seafront we continue the conference at 16.30 :

3. Dover Patrol, the RNAS and the U-boat war by Johan Ryheul

Afterwards we will see a large diorama of the harbour in the post war years and of the new harbour, which will give us a better idea of what we will see at night during the harbour trip by ship.

17.30 we continue our visit of Seafront a pay a visit to the temporarily exhibition on the Zeebrugge raid 1918.

18.30 We board the River Palace again and start in style with a glass of sparkling wine

19.00 We start the port tour with a 20 minutes movie made by the most famous German U-boat ace Lothar von Arnauld de la Perriere ! We follow him, his crew and sub during the attack and sinking of a number of ships.

Afterwards we continue with the last two parts of the conference :
4. Saint-George for England !
5. Conclusions : A twist in the dragon’s tail ?

With the help of a powerpoint presentation we will see the various locations that were important that night of the raid, and will see how it looked in 1918, what happened there, and how it looks now.  A perfect way to get an idea of what really happened and to see at the same time the present location.

20.30 An accordion player brings us WW I tunes and other music, while we have some sandwiches and wine.

22.00 End of the program of day 1

Sunday 20 April

9.30 : Zeebrugge, participation for those who want to the memorial service in Zeebrugge church, we also follow the group and military to the Zeebrugge churchyard and at the Admiral Keyes square.  The FEW will lay down wreaths at both locations.
We will return to the Zeebrugge churchyard for a very special message, as we seem to have identified one of the unknown officers buried here.

Lunch at the location of your choice

13.30 : we leave for Oostende and a visit to the Fort Napoleon, a fortress of the Napoleonic era and in WW I a German stronghold.  We visit the fortress, see a German painting, and take a closer look at the location where HMS Brilliant and Sirius stranded.

Afterwards we go to Oostende harbour for a visit at the location where the Vindictive partially blocked the harbour entrance and for a visit to the Vindictive Monument.

End of day 2 around 16.30 hours

This program is an organisation of the Dutch WW I Forum – Forum Eerste Wereldoorlog,  the Davidsfonds and Euro-Line.

Participation costs 35 euro, and includes :
Conference, guided visit to Seafront theme park, boat trip with the River Palace, a glass of sparkling wine, sandwiches and wine, music by accordion player, guided tour in Oostende.

Not included : all other meals, drinks, snacks, transport, hotel or other accommodations, entrance fee Fort Napoleon etc.

Transport happens with own means.  There is a possibility to travel along in the car of some of our Dutch/Flemish participants if mentioned in advance.

More information on how to participate will follow soon.

There is also a possibility to participate in the Saturday evening program only on the River Palace from 18.30 on, in that case the cost will be 25 euro.

For further information, you can PM me.

Press conference will be held on Monday 7 April at 14.00 at the Seafront theme park of Zeebrugge

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St.-Andrews Cathedral

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The Cathedral of St Andrew in St Andrews, Fife, Scotland was the seat of the Bishops (later Archbishops) of St Andrews from its foundation in 1158 until it fell into disuse after the Reformation. It is currently a ruined monument in the custody of Historic Scotland. The ruins indicate the great size of the building at 350 feet long.

The cathedral was founded to supply more accommodation than the older church of St. Regulus (St. Rule) afforded. This older church, was located on what became the cathedral grounds, had been built in the Romanesque style and probably dated from the 10th century. Today, there remains the square tower, (108 feet high), and the quire, of very diminutive proportions. On a plan of the town from about 1530, a chancel appears, and seals affixed to the city and college charters bear representations of other buildings attached.

Work began on the new cathedral in 1158 and continued for over a century. The west end was blown down during a storm and rebuilt between 1272 and 1279. It was dedicated on 5 July 1318, in a ceremony before King Robert I . When intact it had, besides a central tower, six turrets; of these two at the east and one of the two at the western extremity (rising to a height of 100 feet) remain.

A fire partly destroyed the building in 1378, and the restoration and further embellishment were completed in 1440. It was stripped of its altars and images in 1559. Greyfriar (Franciscan) and Blackfriar (Dominican) monks had properties in the town by the late 15th century and possibly as late as 1518.

About the end of the sixteenth century the central tower apparently gave way, carrying with it the north wall. Afterwards large portions of the ruins were taken away for building purposes, and nothing was done to preserve them until 1826. Since then it has been tended with scrupulous care, an interesting feature being the cutting out of the ground-plan in the turf. The principal portions extant, partly Norman and partly Early Scottish, are the east and west gables, the greater part of the south wall of the nave and the west wall of the south transept.

At the end of the seventeenth century some of the priory buildings remained entire and considerable remains of others existed, but nearly all traces have now disappeared except portions of the priory wall and the archways, known as the Pends.

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St. Rule's tower is located in the cathedral grounds but predates the cathedral itself. Originally, the tower was part of a church built circa 1127 to hold the relics of St. Andrew. St. Rule (St. Regulus) is credited with having brought the relics of St. Andrew to the area. Today the tower commands a beautiful view of the town, harbour, sea, and surrounding countryside. It is 156 steps from bottom to top.

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Kilchurn Castle

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Kilchurn Castle is a ruined 14th century structure on the northeastern end of Loch Awe, in Argyll and Bute, Scotland.

It was the ancestral home of the Campbells of Glenorchy, who later became the Earls of Breadalbane also known as the Breadalbane family branch, of the Clan Campbell. The earliest construction on the castle was the towerhouse and Laich Hall (looks onto Loch Awe). Today, its picturesque setting and romantic state of decay make it one of the most photographed structures in Scotland.

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Dunnottar Castle

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Dunnottar Castle is a ruined medieval fortress located upon a precipitous rocky headland on the north-east coast of Scotland, about two miles south of Stonehaven. Its surviving buildings are largely of the 15th-16th centuries, but an important fortress certainly existed on this site from Dark Age times. Dunnottar played an important role in the history of Scotland from the Middle Ages through to the Enlightenment, due to its strategic location overlooking the shipping lanes to northern Scotland and also being situated on a fairly narrow coastal terrace that controlled land movements, particularly the land access to the ancient Causey Mounth, the only medieval route from the coastal south via Portlethen Moss to Aberdeen. The site, now owned by private interests but open to the public, is visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists annually.

The ruins of the castle are spread over a three acre area virtually surrounded by sheer cliffs which drop to the North Sea 50 metres below. This L plan castle is accessed via a narrow strip of land joining the mainland and a steep path leading up to the massive gatehouse. The cliffs and headland formations which extend miles to the north and south are home to tens of thousands of pelagic birds, making this stretch of Scottish coast a notable bird sanctuary of northern Europe from the standpoint of total bird populations and diversity of species. Portions of the 1990 film Hamlet starring Mel Gibson and Glenn Close were shot there.

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2008 !

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Rothesay Castle and the Isle of Bute

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Rothesay Castle is a ruined castle in Rothesay, the principal town on the Isle of Bute, in western Scotland. The castle has been described as "one of the most remarkable in Scotland", for its long history dating back to the beginning of the 13th century, and its unusual circular plan.

The castle comprises a huge curtain wall, strengthened by four round towers, together with a 16th century forework, the whole surrounded by a broad moat. Built by the Stewart family, it survived Norse attacks to become a royal residence. Though falling into ruin after the 17th century, the castle was repaired by the Marquess of Bute before passing into state care last century.

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Bothwell Castle

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Bothwell Castle is a large medieval castle sited on a high steep bank above a bend in the River Clyde, between Uddingston and Bothwell in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, about 10 miles (16 km) south-east of Glasgow. Construction of the castle was begun by the ancestors of Clan Murray, to guard a strategic crossing point of the Clyde. Bothwell played a key role in Scotland's Wars of Independence, changing hands several times.

The huge cylindrical Donjon was built in the 13th century, but before the rest of the castle was completed it was severely damaged in a series of sieges. Rebuilding in the early 15th century enlarged the castle, but it was abandoned by the 18th century and became the present massive rectangular ruin, with the Donjon to the west and the later Great Hall to the east side of the rectangular central courtyard, enclosed by long curtain walls.

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Threave Castle, Dumfries

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Threave (or Thrieve) Castle is situated on an island in the River Dee, 2.5km (1.5miles) west of Castle Douglas, in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. It was the home of the 'Black' Douglas Earls of Douglas from the late 14th century until their fall in 1455.

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On the Road to Passchendaele - Alan Brydon

© Major Gavin Stoddart MBE BEM/ Alan G Brydon

There’s a light that shines in Flanders
As a beacon for the brave
From the distant past it wanders
To recall the lives they gave
And it tells each generation
To be wise and never fail
To remember those who’ve fallen
On the road to Passchendaele


On the road to Passchendaele
On the road to Passchendaele
Where the brave will live forever
On the road to Passchendaele

Come with me and I will show you
Why all wars should ever cease
Take a walk among the gravestones
And your tears will cry for peace
For their spirits walk in Flanders
You can hear the grieving wail
For the brave who laid their lives down
On the road to Passchendaele

On the road to Passchendaele
On the road to Passchendaele
Where the brave will live forever
On the road to Passchendaele

With sincere thanks to Alan Brydon for providing us with the lyrics.

You can download the song here :


Calling Doon The Lines can be found here in two versions :



For most of us the rather unknown Battle Dawn, on one of the albums of Scocha :


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Lyrics Calling Doon The Line - Alan Brydon

The Pipers Call (calling doon the line) © Alan Brydon

The boys stood on the platform in 1917
Waiting for a train to Salisbury Plain
They were only in their teens.
A lad to his mother said dinnae fret
We’ll be home by Christmas day
And the piper played Scotland the brave
As they waved the boys away


Calling doon the lines
Calling doon the lines
And they rallied roond to the pipers tune
(that was) Calling doon the lines

The Sgt Major pushed them hard
They were trained in only days
For to bear the brunt of the Western front
They would soon be on their way
So off they marched, rifles shoulder high
And all at once they sang
For we’re no awa, tae bide awa
Tae the pipers in the band


The thunder echoed through the trench
As the shells abin them rained
And the generals spent a thousand men
For every inch they gained
And the brave young men faced their battle dawn
So proud to do their jobs
And the piper stood in the line of fire
And played them ower the top


When no man’s land fell silent
And they counted all the dead
The victory claimed would disguise the shame
And nothing more was said
And the fallen brave on a foreign field
They gave their very best
And the piper played a sad lament
As they laid the boys to rest



And they rallied roond
Tae the pipers tune
That was calling doon
The lines

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Highland Cathedral

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Alan Brydon - On the road to Passchendaele

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Loch Lomond & the Trossachs

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Tolsta to Ness

The classic walk across the moor, extended down the west coast of Lewis as far as South Dell.

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Callanish to Stornoway and the Iolaire Memorial

Walking from Callanish to Stornoway, and on to the Iolaire Memorial at Holm Point.

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Balnuaran of Clava - The Clava Cairns

A picture collection of the prehistoric burial chambers and standing stones, near Inverness, Scotland.

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