Glass Remembered … Cabrach War Memorial


Unveiling by His Grace The Duke of Richmond and Gordon

The picturesque little Parish Church of Cabrach, nestling in the wild uplands of Banffshire, was the scene of a solemn and impressive ceremony on Sunday, when a memorial tablet to the men of the parish who fell in the war was unveiled by the Duke of Richmond and Gordon.   The ceremony took place at the forenoon service and was attended by a large congregation, many of whom came long distances from the glens and hills of the scattered district.

The service of praise was appropriate to the occasion, and included the singing of the 66th Paraphrase, “How bright those glorious spirits shine” and the hymn, “For all the Saints”.   The Rev. Andrew Burt, B.D. Minister of the parish, preached from Joshua iv., 6 “What mean ye by these stones?”   He said that every parish and community throughout the country had been erecting its own memorial to keep green the record of the devotion shown by the men of the nation during those four fateful years of war.  In days to come, when their children pointed to these tablets, marble columns and piles of stones, and asked, “What mean ye by these stones?” they would have something to tell them.   These memorials were there to show them what a terrible thing war was, and to warn them that they must never go lightly into war again.  He impressed on them the fact that war meant death, disease, insanity, starvation, waste and sin.

In the second place, the memorials were a sign of thankfulness for a great deliverance and a memorial to the devotion and courage of their brethren.   These men went out to fight to gain nothing, but only for conscience sake.

Their own tablet was to be unveiled by the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, who belonged in a peculiar way to their parish, but also to the Empire, and it was fitting that he should perform such a duty to the memory of the men who died not only for the parish but for the Empire.



The Duke of Richmond and Gordon said he was much struck with almost the first sentence in the minister’s prayer when he said “Grant us rest.”  That was what they hoped was to come to them at the termination of that great struggle from 1914 to 1918.   They made great sacrifices to attain victory, but they were not greater than the occasion called for.  Had it not been for the sacrifices made by the youth of this country, our fate would have been to become a subject race under the Germans, the greatest tyrants in Europe.  Thanks to the exertions that were made by their soldiers and sailors, those at home were able to live in comparative comfort while those they loved were fighting for them.

Proceeding, His Grace asked if after the stress of war that rest which their minister prayed for was near at hand.  He did not mean a rest from foreign warfare, but a rest in the social conditions of the country.  No doubt all wars brought disasters in their train, and the state of unrest which we were now experiencing, and which was paralysing our industries and seriously menacing our future as a commercial nation, was directly attributable to the war.  The rest that we required in that connection did not at the present moment seem easy of attainment.   It was the duty of all of us from a civilian point of view to spare no effort to restore our country to that state of commercial prosperity which was hers before the war.

He appealed to every loyal citizen not to throw away the advantages they had gained, which, if properly used, would mean success and prosperity for the country.   The war had emphasised the gallant fighting spirit of the Highlanders, and although he would not say  even there that the Highlander was the best soldier in the British Army, he had never found one yet in his experience who was his equal.



In conclusion, the Duke, addressing the younger members of the congregation, said that the tablet he was about to unveil recorded the names of those who were not afraid to do their duty.   Some of those he was addressing, no doubt, had relatives and friends whose names appeared there, and he exhorted them not to forget that these men had died in the cause of the British Empire.   That fact should act as a reminder to them also, to do their duty should a similar occasion arise.  He offered the warmest sympathy to the friends and relatives of those whose names were on the tablet.

His Grace then removed the Union Jack from the tablet, at the same time saying – I unveil this memorial to the memory of the men of the Cabrach who gave their lives in the great war.

The tablet is a handsome brass plate, encased in an ornamental oak frame.  The inscriptions on the frame are “To the glory of God” and the names, which are set out in black lettering, is the sentence, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend.”



The names of the fallen are as follows: –

Cpl. Norman John Robertson, Lower Schoolhouse, 4th Gordons

Pts. Wm Douglas, Buck, 6th Gordons; Alexander Clark, Howbog do: Peter Clark, do: Peter Gordon, Bowmans, do: Jas. Crampshee, Largue, 3rdGordons; Wm. Hendry, Ardwell, 4th Gordons; Robt. McIntosh Duncan, Whitehillock, 5th Gordons; William James Donald, Bridgend, 1st Gordons: Alex. McConnachie, Broomknowes, A.D.C.: Thomas Dow Simpson, Elrick, Black Watch:  Piper John G. McGrimmond, Balloch, 2nd Gordons: Rrm. John Gordon, Auchmair, 4th New Zealand R.B.:  Tr. Alex. Watt, Ardwell, New Zealand, M.R.: John W. Innes, Hillhead, H.M.S. Vivid: Wireless Operator William Taylor, Bridgend.


After the Duke had read the names and inscription, the “Last Post” and  “Reveille” were sounded by Bugler Grant, Dufftown, followed by “The Flowers o’ the Forest”, played by Pipe-Major John Duncan, Kininvie.

After the ceremony at Cabrach, the Duke of Richmond and Gordon motored to Garmouth, were he unveiled the Garmouth, Kingston and District War Memorial in the afternoon.

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