Passchendaele Parade to provide a poignant reminder

Thousands of people from across the country are set to descend on the town of Crieff this Sunday (30th July) ahead of a poignant parade and service to mark the 100-year commemoration of the Battle of Passchendaele – a conflict that claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Allied soldiers.

The national event, which will launch the wider ‘Crieff Remembers’ fortnight and is being supported by Armed Forces charity Legion Scotland, will begin at 10:30am with a parade through the town featuring more than 150 veterans along with serving soldiers from The Royal Regiment of Scotland.

These days, Passchendaele is a small and sleepy village in the western part of Flanders, but a century ago it was the scene of the biggest battle ever fought on Flemish soil.

There was a massive Scottish presence in the battle, which was Sir Douglas Haig’s attempt to break through Flanders, with more than 50 battalions from Scotland fighting, joined by their expat comrades in Scottish battalions from Canada, England and South Africa.

Also taking part in Sunday’s parade will be a group of cyclists, representing The Black Watch (3 SCOTS), who will arrive in the town that day having cycled more than 600 miles to Passchendaele. Black Watch soldiers were involved in the Battle of Passchendaele, which is one of the many reasons why Crieff has such strong connections to the conflict, and the cyclists intend to carry their bikes as a poignant tribute to their fallen comrades from another era.

There will then be a service led by the Legion Scotland national padre. Several wreaths are to be laid, and among those taking part in the wreath-laying ceremony is Lieutenant General Sir Alistair Irwin KCB CBE, the President of Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland.

Following the service, entertainment will be provided in the form of pipe bands, charity stalls and music from Legion Scotland singing sensation Amy Hawthorn ensuring that a day of Remembrance will also be one of joy and happiness.

Festivals Crieff Chairman Alastair McClymont said: “We are delighted to have Legion Scotland’s significant input to the launch of our Crieff Remembers programme. It’s very exciting for us and the town to have the Legion’s National Remembrance of Passchendaele as part of the community’s programme of events to mark the centenary of Passchendaele and the First World War in general.

“A lot of hard work has gone in to making this happen and hopefully members of the public will find the military parade through the town and the Drumhead Service in Market Park enjoyable as well as a moving experience, and then enjoy the family day being presented by Legion Scotland.”

In attendance on the day will be James McCabe***, whose great-uncle, David Watson McDonald McCabe, fought and was wounded during the 2nd Battle of Ypres which took place two years before Passchendaele. He would return to the battlefield, but was seriously wounded and died as the Battle of Passchendaele loomed. There is added poignancy as David McCabe’s great-great-great nephew, David McInally, will be parading as a member of the Royal Regiment of Scotland band.