Forces day marked with quiet respect

Those laying wreaths gather on Colchester Square. 51_a25ArmedForcesDay01

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Anniversaries were the order of the day as Lochgilphead Armed Forces Day was marked in more muted fashion than in the past.

Gone was the pomp and ceremony of an event which annually – other than in 2020 due to the pandemic – pays tribute to the dedication and sacrifice of the UK armed forces past and present.

With Covid restrictions still in place it was a more intimate and particularly poignant commemoration on Saturday June 12 as community leaders laid wreaths and Reverend David Eynon, queen’s commissioned chaplain for the territorials and cadets, conducted the ceremony at Lochgilphead war memorial.

Saturday marked 100 years to the day since Lochgilphead’s memorial to those lost in the Great War was formally dedicated – the granite cross by Glasgow-based Scott and Rae monumental sculptors having been erected the previous month.

The town’s Armed Forces Day event also fell on the date chosen to mark the 81st anniversary of the Battle of St Valery at the beginning of the Second World War, in which a large number of Argyll men were killed or taken prisoner.

Socially distanced spectators gathered around newly-sparkling Colchester Square to join the two minutes’ silence.

Bugler Brian Robertson immaculately played ‘The Last Post’ and piper John Hunt of Tarbert performed ‘The Hills of Argyll’ and ‘Flowers o’ the Forest’.

Reverend Eynon spoke movingly of the sacrifices of so many men and women in the service of their nation and the debt of gratitude society owes them.

He added his best wishes to Her Majesty the Queen on her birthday.

Chairman of Lochgilphead Armed Forces Day committee Geordie Rhodick said afterwards: ‘Thanks to everyone who came along today to lay a wreath and to Reverend David Eynon for the service. We also greatly appreciate piper John Hunt and bugler Brian Robertson coming along today.

‘We would also like to thank BEAR Scotland and the police in Lochgilphead for their assistance with the event organisation.’