One hundred years ago this morning, The Battle of the Somme began in Northern France. It was the bloodiest battle in UK military history. On this day alone, 19,240 British soldiers died.Nineteen thousand, two hundred and forty.
Indeed there were over 57,000 casualties on Day One.
As part of the early advance that morning, a small party of the 16th Royal Scots took a small village called Contalmaison. Among the 16th were seven Raith Rovers players of McCrae’s Battalion:
James Logan. George McLay. Willie Porter. Willie Lavery. Jimmy Todd. Jimmy Scott. Jock Rattray.
Three of these men, Todd, Scott & McLay, paid the ultimate sacrifice.
The Battalion also comprised players of Hearts, Hibs, Dunfermline and Falkirk.
Today, at a cairn erected in memory of these events a century ago in Contalmaison, Davie Hancock and Marshall Bowman will represent Raith Rovers at a ceremony and a wreath will be laid.
Thanks in particular to Davie this year for his tremendous feat of completing a sponsored cycle from Stark’s Park to Contalmaison to be there today, and thanks as always to Marshall for making the journey all the way from Lybster in Caithness as our club ambassador.
Meanwhile, chairman Alan Young and Supporters Director Gordon Adamson will attend a memorial service in Edinburgh today.
For the last two years, Raith Rovers FC has worn a special commemorative strip in honour of our brave soldiers.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM