Hundreds gather in Lerwick to remember

Wreath-bearers line up in front of the Lerwick War Memorial. Photo: Gordon Siegel

They came in their hundreds to remember as Lerwick fell silent to mark the centenary of the Armistice.

A large crowd, perhaps buoyed by the added poignancy of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One, lined the streets outside the town hall.

Royal British Legion members, army cadets, uniformed youth organisations and representatives of veterans’ associations made their traditional procession from Fort Charlotte to the town hall.

There the Rev Tom Macintyre led the Act of Remembrance, culminating with two minutes’ silence at 11am followed by the laying of poppy wreaths.

“Men and women have continued to pay the ultimate price,” the minister said.

“A hundred years later [since the Armistice] we stand here today, young and old, to remember lives sacrificed in the service of our country and those traumatised and injured in conflict.

“The heroism of those who fought and continue to fight is remembered.”

Territorial army stalwart Gary Irvine on parade. Photo: Gordon Siegel

Mr Macintyre listed some of the battlefields where so many lives were lost, including Shetlanders, during the Great War – Arras, Passchendaele, Ypres, Somme, Amiens and others.

The crowd united to repeat “We will remember them” before The Last Post was played, finishing as the town hall clock chimed to indicate it was 11am. Then silence fell, broken only as the Lerwick Brass Band started its rendition of The Reveille.

Wreaths were then laid by the Lord Lieutenant Bobby Hunter and on behalf of the following organisations: Shetland Islands Council; The Royal British Legion; The Lovat Scouts Association; The Royal Air Force Association; Merchant Navy Association; G Troop, 105 Regiment Royal Artillery; the coastguard; Police Scotland; RNMDSF; The Salvation Army; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; the British Red Cross; the RVS; Shetland Troop, Orkney & Shetland Battery; youth organisations and the Anderson High School.

As proceedings ended the crowd dissipated as people went back to their Sunday activities. It’s impossible to know what thoughts were in their minds, but collectively they had remembered.


Add Your Comment
  • Geoff Bailey

    • November 11th, 2018 15:54

    Please to see the Union Flag flying from the Town Hall today Remembrance Sunday. SIC has a poor record of flag flying in my opinion from the senior flagstaff. It’s the UK government’s and Scottish Parliaments policy to encourage councils to fly the Union Flag (Jack) on a regular daily basis. It’s very rare to see a flag flying any time except on the Lord Lieutenants flag flying days list of which is out of date.

  • Peter Hamilton

    • November 12th, 2018 17:39

    “History might as well be water, chastising the shore, For we learned nothing from your endless sacrifice”, said Britain’s Poet Laureate in her new poem, The Wound in Time, first aired on Sunday on Radio Four:

    It is troubling to hear elsewhere the British media still blame German militarism and nationalism for WW1, as if nationalism and militarism were ever missing from the British national outlook. All major European powers fought to gain advantage over neighbours.

    It is refreshing though to hear the French President tell world leaders, including Putin and Trump, that nationalism is a “betrayal of patriotism”.

    “By saying ‘our interests first and never mind the others’, you stamp out the most precious thing a nation has – its moral values,” he said, thereby insisting these sometimes exist.

    The European Union used to be widely regarded as a moral endeavour. It seems most of our neighbours still see it that way, as something worthwhile which tempers selfish instincts and secures peace.

    If Brexit goes ahead the prospect of Britain forgetting its responsibilities as a victor, as Churchill put it in, “for the immediate future of the world” looms large. Let us hope some lessons can be recalled.

  • ian tinkler

    • November 13th, 2018 16:52

    “Patriotism is when the love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.” – Charles de Gaulle

    Sadly we see Donald Trump, “America First!, Let’s make America great again”. A nationalist doctrine of utter selfishness! We seem the same doctrine of the Alt-right gaining a foothold in the UK and Europe. Remember “The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing”,

  • David Spence

    • November 14th, 2018 18:43

    It is a sad reflection of the many, many people which has died due to war and conflict.

    There is one institute which promotes, encourages and sanctions war and conflict more so than any other establishment within a modern society.

    We have probably killed and maimed more people in the last 150 years than at any other time in 2000 years. What has brought this to the fore is technology but also the institutes which have remained silent on such atrocities, this being the backbone of modern societies driven by economics, our banking systems.

    Never has there been so much money spent on war and conflict, never have so many countries been destroyed by war and conflict, and who stands by the sideline reaping in massive profits as a result, our banks.

    The Bible says ‘ For the Love of Money is the Root to All Evils ‘ never a truer word said with our modern banking systems.

  • Jane McBride

    • November 15th, 2018 0:17

    Rather sad that at a time when we remember those that saw the horror of so many European conflicts, we also saw the French and German leaders announce they want to create a “real” EU Army. I presume by “real” they mean, “the ability to kill people”. Not only was it tactless of Merkel and Macron, we surely have enough standing armed forces already in the world. Do we really need another?

  • Haydn Gear

    • November 16th, 2018 12:28

    Jane , I feel sure that Merkel and Macron were not thinking along the same lines as yourself . They stated the need for a ‘ real army’ without any references to the huge revenues that could be gained from the manufacture of arms. It’s all very well trying to pass their claim off as being for the strength and safety of Europe but with no reference whatsoever to the economic / financial benefits which would bolster the banking strengths of Germany and France. What an oversight !! Too much sauerkraut and champagne probably to blame. I wonder if their suggestion is in any way due to their much reduced popularity in their respective countries.

  • John Tulloch

    • November 16th, 2018 15:00

    I would have thought the present EU decision-making structure e.g. nations’ vetoes, is hopelessly incompatible with having its own military, capable of defending Europe against Russia, China and laughably, the US. How much will that cost (the US spends 4.5% of GDP vs Germany’s 1%!)?

    It will need massive further integration, possibly, to United States of Europe level (EU leaders’ stated ambition), a ghastly spectre that motivated many Brexiteers to vote ‘Leave’.

    • Graham Fleming

      • November 17th, 2018 20:30

      The U.S.A spent 610 billion dollars last
      year more than the next seven countries put together at 578 billion dollars( including China Russia France,England etc).To say that the E.U. should not work militarily together is preposterous.Europe has been divided by maniacs with delusions of grandeur,their own ego’s and agendas on too many occasions – the last fifty years has brought us peace,economic stability and a continent able to feed itself.I am sure Winston Churchill would be very proud of that after the hell of World 2,he fought like so many others for it and would be appalled at the prospect of Little Englanderism and the new Westminster faith with its no deal brexit nonsense!

      • Mr ian Tinkler

        • November 18th, 2018 14:31

        Graham Fleming, you’re nonsense, ” the last fifty years has brought us peace (Europe?), economic stability and a continent able to feed itself. Intentional false information or just plain ignorance?
        Hungarian Revolution of 1956, Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, The Bosnian War, The Kosovo War, Annexation of Crimea, The Ukraine crisis, The Russo-Georgian War and that is ignoring The Troubles in Ireland and countless terrorist attacks. We have a death toll here of tens of thousand and rising! Graham Fleming at least make a stab at historical fact occasionally.

  • Mr ian Tinkler

    • November 17th, 2018 21:02

    John, look at the EU command structure! The most expensive army on Earth would require a 27 Sate agreement before it could deploy. Then it could not fire a shot. If it hit an killed an enemy how about that enemy’s human rights? Iy takes ” The Europen Court ” about four years to reach a design! Thank God we are not talking about a European Navy, climate change and all that, sailing ships only.

    • Graham Fleming

      • November 18th, 2018 23:51

      All of these good things I mentioned happened within our European Union,the bad bit you mentioned truthfully – was Northern Ireland, mainly the domain and remit of the British state doesn’t bode well for the future at all,at all.

    • John Tulloch

      • November 19th, 2018 10:13

      Interesting that the Great War commemoration coincides with Theresa May’s abject surrender to the EU.

      One big threat from May’s deal is to the UK union itself with the proposal that Northern Ireland be separated from the rest of the UK and be under Brussels laws and regulations.

      As predicted, the SNP now want the same treatment and will use that as a “grievance” to win support for a second Scottish independence referendum.

      The current mess will also play straight into their hands by confirming their allegations of “Westminster incompetence”.

  • John Haswell

    • November 18th, 2018 18:30

    Many events over the past four years that have commemorated the sacrifice of so many people have been profoundly moving (and I hope, with the Shetland Youth Theatre production of ‘In The Still Of The Night Have We Wept’. I have contributed to that). However I have been a bit upset this year. I have noticed (I was in the Borders for the Armistice day, NOT Shetland) that local communities were trying to ‘outdo’ each other with their poppy displays. Well-meant I am sure, but remembrance is not about community ‘one-up-man-ship’, it is very personal and I am sad that in some places it has been turned into a ‘best display’ competition – a Halloween of who can remember best. The ‘War to End all Wars’ didn’t and people are still dying in horrific conflicts. We need to remember sacrifice in our own, sincere way, rather than in grandiose, and sometimes superficial displays. The greater the emphasis on the display, the lesser the emphasis on the tragedy that is war.

  • Mr ian Tinkler

    • November 20th, 2018 21:23

    Graham Fleming, what good things from EM troops? Dutch troops protecting Srebrenica, just a massacre followed due to spineless incompetence. French forces in Indo-China (Vietnam) great result there!. French
    forces in Africa, o dear me. You back an EU Army, with past recent history and going back 100 years or so, I prefer NATO, or perhaps going it alone and looking to our Commonwealth friends when help is needed. Our Commonwealth friends are immensely more helpful than the EU pals have ever been.

    • Mr ian Tinkler

      • November 22nd, 2018 19:12

      “Our Commonwealth friends are immensely more helpful than the EU pals have ever been.” The former is a direct reference to the EU, not a referral to European free nationals who fought long before the EU spawned and evolved. The incredible and bravery and sacrifice of Norwegians, French, Polish, Dutch, Czechoslovakians and all occupied by Nazi tyranny during WW2 can
      not and must never be forgotten. Also, Remember and honour the Hungarian, Polish and Chekoslevakians who died resisting the Soviets oppression.
      But what do have we now, Junkers and Barnier and the concept of an EU Army, enough said

  • Peter Hamilton

    • November 23rd, 2018 6:20

    In December 1911, prior to the disastrous Gallipoli campaign he himself championed Churchill wrote a letter to the then Prime Minister declaring: “it is no longer possible to force the Dardanelles…” Later he persuaded government to commit to the futile Gallipoli campaign because he sought an end to “sending our armies to chew barbed wire in Flanders.” Gallipoli saw a casualty rate of 25% with nearly half a million dead or injured to no gain.

    On the 25th of April 2016 Theresa May stated: “I believe it is clearly in our national interest to remain a member of the European Union.” Now, in tough times not of her making, she seeks to persuade parliament to leave because she wants to end to the relentless divisions in the Conservative party. Others might charitably will the self-appointed general toffs; Johnson, Farage and Rees-Mogg, to choke on their own xenoponbic bile.

    May likened the EU to NATO, stating it is right to “pool and therefore cede some sovereignty in a controlled way, to prevent a greater loss of sovereignty in an uncontrolled way, through for example military conflict or economic decline.”

    We can salute May’s composure, but Europe is plainly better united.


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