Council honours fallen soldiers at Battle of Passchendaele centenary

Provost presents Brian Harrison with wreaths

Provost Adam Montgomery welcomed  Brian Harrison of Loanhead to the Midlothian Council offices this week to present him with two wreaths to lay on behalf of the residents of Midlothian at the centenary commemorations of the Third Battle of Ypres, commonly known as Passchendaele.

Mr Harrison and his father served their country

Mr Harrison is one of a limited number of people invited to apply for tickets for the event as a result of his family’s long history with the armed forces. Mr Harrison, who served with the Scots Dragoon Guards, and his father Charlie who also served in the forces, will make the trip together.   

Honouring the fallen on behalf of Midlothian

Mr Harrison’s Great-Grandfather fought at Passchendaele, making the trip particularly poignant for the family.  Mr Harrison will lay the wreaths at both the Menin gate, where a traditional Last Post Ceremony will be conducted, to honour over 100 men from Midlothian who are listed, and the next day at Tyne Cot Cemetery itself where over 70 men from Midlothian are buried among the 12,000 graves.  There will also be a series of live performances, open to thousands in Ypres’ rebuilt market square that tell the story of the battle. Images and film will be projected onto the town’s famous Cloth Hall.

Once in a lifetime opportunity for father and son

Mr Harrison said: “I feel very lucky to have been given the opportunity to attend this prestigious event. With a long family history in the forces, stretching back to Passchendaele itself, it felt right to take this once in a lifetime opportunity to go and honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice. I will be proud to lay these wreaths on behalf of the people of Midlothian.”

Presented with memorial wreaths by Provost

Provost Adam Montgomery, in his role as Veterans Champion and on behalf of the Council added: “I am delighted to present Mr Harrison with two wreaths to lay on behalf of the council to honour the fallen from Midlothian. I have visited the Menin gate myself and it really is a sight to behold. When you see the names of the soldiers who lost their lives, many just 14 or 15 years old, and entire families just wiped out, it really brings it all home. It is my pleasure to do my part in keeping the memory of those who sacrificed so much alive.”

27 Jul 2017