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For our tomorrows, they gave their today

Falkland has two indoor War Memorial Plaques both not easily accessible to all.  One is in the Church doorway and the other in the War Memorial Institute.  After the sale of the W.M Institute it was mooted in the village to have an outdoor War Memorial.


Members of the Falkland in Bloom Society had the idea of a structure on the green in Brunton Street.  A plan was drawn up, paid for and presented to Fife Council.  It was quite elaborate, and also floodlit, so was thought by local residents not to be suitable for the area.  So, it was put aside for a few years until it was again mooted at a Community Council meeting and afterwards I was asked to do research into the history of those whose names were on the plaques.


I set to and researched the names through Government War Memorial sites and my membership of Ancestry (that I'd used to research my family history).  This took the most part of a year.   The list was almost complete but still a few names caused problems.  On a visit to Cupar Library to get some information on the few illusive names I met Mariette Crichton-Stuart of Falkland Estate who offered to help.

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I turned up at the Community Council meeting with my findings, but although I was thanked for my work, it appeared to be for nothing.  I had to attend several more monthly meetings before a sub committee was suggested by the chairman, which unfortunately fell through from lack of interest.  Another sub committee was proposed but it also fell by the wayside.


 A few suggestions were made as to where to place an outdoor plaque, such as the outdoor church wall and the fountain wall until eventually, after a meeting with the surveyors and architects etc from Fife Council, we agreed on the ground at Bruton Green.  When I asked for money from the War Memorial Trust I was told I could get £1,000 towards a structure (funds from the sale of the War Memorial Institute).  Eventually Claire McLeod and I sat in her kitchen and made several phone calls to Government departments asking for advice.  From then on we co-opted people we thought would be interested onto our committee.  Our local County Councillor David MacDiarmid bought his enthusiasm and money from the local budget.  This began our gathering of money so we bought on board the Treasurer of the F.C.C., John Brown to look after it.  As word got around the village we got offers of assistance.  Bert Dalrymple, one of the residents, looked over the structure and joined our committee.  He was then persuaded to draw up some plans.  Marilyn Workman, another resident, was bought on board to suggest where we might obtain grants.  A few places were tried, but to no avail. 


We next bought in a builder to give us advice and an idea of cost.  Types of stone and name plaques were considered and a figure of £12,000 was mooted.  We sent out requests for money to several organisations and companies.  Collection cans were put in all the local businesses, who also kindly donated gifts for a raffle.  Luckily the money came in because the size of the structure increased, due to extra wording, which, of course, made it more costly.  In the end it was around £23,000.   

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John, David and I sat daily for weeks deciding on the wording for the structure's plaque.  We added names that, for some reason, were in the cemetery, but not on the old plaque.  We added the ranks of the soldiers, this was a hard decision as each word was £5.00 per letter.


As the date for the unveiling got nearer we enlisted the Church and Falkland Primary School.  The Church for the dedication service and school children to fill a pod that would be placed at the base of the structure.  My husband, as Chairman of the local Scots Guards Association had arranged a Pipe Band and Standard Bearers for the day.  One member of the co-opted committee had managed to acquire a parachute for us to cover the structure for the unveiling.  We made a list of people who had to be invited - all those who'd helped us along the way and the officials whom we were obliged to ask.


A  few days before the unveiling we arranged for all the children from Falkland Primary School to place their pod on the ground.  Songs were sung and the whole service made for a very lovely day.


On the day of the unveiling we were given the Community Hall to welcome all with a cup of tea and a biscuit, served by three volunteers; Margaret Stark; Isabel McBain and Helen McBain.  Everyone made their way to Brunton Green for the ceremony.  Those who wished to walk behind the Pipe Band did so, others made their way the short distance along Horsemarket Street.  Despite a little rain before the service, all went well and there was a nice surprise; one of the building workers brought along his doves which were released during the  ceremony.  It was a lovely touch.  Everyone was invited back to the hall for food and drink, provided by Jack, the owner of the Lomond Tavern.


As Polish soldiers were billeted at the Falkland Estate we added the word DZIEKUJE, meaning Thank You, at the bottom of the Memorial.  This information was passed to the Polish Embassy in Edinburgh who asked if they could have a dedication ceremony at the new Memorial.  We were glad to agree to this -  a service at the Memorial and a lovely tea in the Chapel was provided by the members of the Chapel Royal.  Thank you to the committee.  The "Well Dones" and appreciation from a good number of locals and members of the families of our war dead made it all worthwhile.


For our tomorrows, they gave their today.

Betty's own words