Page 2 Contact Us Bannockburn News welcomes your comments, ideas and contributions. Please feel free to contact either Greg or Gordon using the details below. Editor Greg Christison Email: bburn-news@ talktalk.net Phone: 07903 197863 Letter: The Editor, Bannockburn News, c/o 68 Benview, Bannockburn, FK7 0HY Treasurer Gordon Jack gordonj@ harleyfinancial.co.uk Advertising All enquiries to the Editor or Treasurer Auntie Jean’s Cafe / One Stop Shop Hillpark, Bannockburn 01786 818282 All functions are catered for We offer: Barbecues Snack Bar Ice-Cream Van Opening times Monday- Saturday 6am - 2pm Sunday 9am - 2pm THE HISTORIC CHARACTER Lieutenant Meldrum This edition’s “The Local Character” has been altered to “The Historic Character” after we received this interesting piece from the great-great nephew of a former resident of the village. Visitors to the Allan Church cannot help but notice a large, beautiful plaque in the church vestibule which commemorates a man named George Meldrum. Many people who have lived in Bannockburn for years ask who exactly this man was. George was my great-great uncle who arrived from Torryburn, Fife with his parents in 1816 when he was only a few months old. His father, also George, was a weaver who would have been attracted to Bannockburn by the great success of the Wilson Mills. Between 1819 and 1837 four boys and three girls were born in Bannockburn to George and his wife Margaret Mitchell. One of the boys, Sandy, became the President of the SCWS in the 1870s; one of the girls, Catherine, was my great grandmother. For a time young George worked, like his father, in the Wilson Mills. Then in May 1837 he enlisted in the Army in Glasgow and was immediately sent to join the 26th Cameronians in the East Indies. He was appointed Regimental School Teacher but, tiring of that unexciting role, he transferred to the ranks and fought in the Opium Wars against China. Promoted to Sergeant at Nankin, George returned with the 26th to Edinburgh in 1843 and in 1846 in Dublin he became Sergeant Major. His Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Hemphill, strongly recommended George for a Commission and in 1854 George received his Ensigncy. The previous year, while stationed in Gibraltar, George had married Mary Back, originally from Exeter, who was 24 years old; George was 37. Newly married, Ensign Meldrum, now the Adjutant of the 26th Cameronians, sailed to Canada and in 1854 a daughter Annie was born in Montreal. In 1855 he purchased his Lieutenancy for £700; an enormous sum the equivalent today of almost £48,000. A son, George Alexander was born in Bermuda in 1854 and a second boy, Robert James, in Dublin in 1860. The regiment returned to Edinburgh in May 1861 when Lieutenant Meldrum, as Adjutant, played an important role in the decision to introduce the “One o’clock Gun” ritual which was first observed in June 1861. George played a part in the writing of the army manual for the newly introduced Lee Enfield rifle and it was while attending a musketry course in Fleetwood in 1862 that he fell ill and had to return to Edinburgh Castle. Lieutenant Meldrum died on the 29th March 1862 of Rheumatic Fever; he was only 45 years old. George was buried in the Grange Cemetery in Edinburgh with full military honours; the streets Bannockburn News by Jake Stewart The plaque at the Allan Church were thronged with people witnessing and crowding-in on the funeral procession. Among the mourners was Major-General Walker CB, Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in Scotland. George’s widow Mary was pregnant at the time of his death and a girl was born in Alloa four months later. The army granted Mary an annual pension of £40 equivalent to less than £3,000 today. Annie, George Alexander and Robert James disappear from the records until the 1871 Census. In 1867 Mary married her cousin Charles Philip Back in Exeter and there is no evidence that the three older children lived with their mother and step-father or even visited them in England. The youngest child, Poppy died with her mother in London when only nine years old. Tantalisingly, in the 1871 Census Annie is a pupil at Aberdona Villa School in Dollar; her two brothers are boarders at George Watson’s College in Edinburgh. The unresolved mystery remains as to who paid the school fees of these three children of George and Mary Meldrum. Where did they stay during the school holidays? The even greater mystery, of course, was where George obtained the money to buy his commission in 1855. Annie Meldrum became a Governess and married John Frater in Edinburgh in 1883; one of the witnesses at the wedding bore the wonderful name Strawberry Bain. George Alexander Meldrum married Jessie Brown Marr and their son Robert Marr Meldrum became the President of the Scottish Rugby Union in 1951. Robert’s daughter Aileen married the Honourable Robert Moncreiff of Tullibole Castle. Peter Meldrum, brother of Lieutenant George, Sandy and my great-grandmother, had a grandson John Oldroyd Forfar who won the Military Cross at Walcheren in World War II for his bravery as a Captain in the RAMC attached to the 47th Royal Marine Commandos; he was later Professor of Paediatrics at Edinburgh University. The Bannockburn Meldrums were quite an interesting lot; should anyone in the village know anymore about the family, I would be delighted to hear from them. Jake Stewart 01464 820055. For more information on Lieutenant Meldrum, see the September edition of the Allan Church Newsletter.
Bannockburn News The Second Account of Andrew Mor Andrew Mor, a Captain in the service of Thomas Randolph, recorded his memories of the Battle of Bannockburn, 1314. The following are excerpts from his second account. “ Now as the dawn breaks we make our way towards Edwards army. They appeared as one mass apart from the vanguard who make an army on their own, glowing red in the morning sun and shining like angels. Continuing towards them we stop and kneel in prayer. We can see them laugh and sneer. If they think this rabble they see before them is giving obedience to King Edward, they are wrong. We give obedience to a higher power, to God. We rise and we are the first division to rush towards them before they gain speed! Now it begins. The arrows begin to fall on us as we close the gap. We heel in our pikes as the horses crash in. The noise is frightening as shafts break and horses and men start to die, but our line holds. The divisions of Stewart and Douglas and Bruce join us until we are one. Now the arrows that have been falling fast on both armies thankfully stop. Their sheaves are with the wagons still at Falkirk. Our archers have thrown down their bow staves and now move steadily forward through the ranks, hammers and axes in hand. The zealous knights keep coming, smashing into our pikes. Horses rear and are turned back into Edwards lines. Unhorsed knights are attacked with glaive and hammer. If they fall an archer will lift the visor and dispatch them, even if they surrender. There is no surrender until the battle is won. Still they come, more foot soldiers now. As they finally get past the horsemen they are met with pikes as both armies push together. Anyone who lost footing never rose again, and the battle was now in the balance. We heard above the din a battle cry “On them! On them! They fail”. We repeat the cry and surge forward with redoubled effort. Troops joining Edwards army from the rear began to flee and were followed by ever more soldiers. Edward and his contingent were led from the field by Aymer de Valence towards the Castle. The Battle of Bannockburn Being refused entry by Philip de Mowbray, King Edward made his way by the “Round Table” to Linthithgow. Sir Giles de Argentine rode straight for Edward Bruce’s line but was met by so many pikes he was overthrown and killed. A great rout then ensued and many drowned in both the Forth and the Bannock or choked in the mud, or were killed in flight. They fled by many more routes to the south, and many fled to the crags under the castle, so many in fact that the Scots did not pursue them, allowing the English King to gain his freedom We stripped the battlefield and much spoil was taken: gold, silver, weapons, armour and clothes. We also took prisoners for ransom. By these means the Scots became free and rich for a time. Australians gather to celebrate our famous victory Information provided by John McNamara in Australia Unfortunately our village could not find a sponsor for this year’s Battle of Bannockburn reenactment and consequently celebrations of the famous victory appeared to be subdued, if not, non-existent. However, the Bannockburn News has learned that the event did not go unnoticed in a location over 10,000 miles away. The town of Bannockburn in Victoria, Australia, organised the Battle of Bannockburn Country Fair four years ago to celebrate having the same name as our renowned village. This year’s fair, which celebrated the 695 th anniversary of the battle, took place in brilliant sunshine on Sunday 14 th June at Victoria Park. Attractions included highland dancing, food and craft market stalls, as well as lots of entertainment aimed at local children such as jumping castles, slides, train rides, merry-go-rounds and an animal petting nursery. The 42 nd Battalion offered entertainment to the crowds in the form of marching and firing their muskets. Visitors to the event were also given the opportunity to participate in art activities and haggis throwing. The day also offered the spectators the chance ” The fair attracted around 2,000 people to see vintage and antique motorcycles, sheep dog trials, the skills of a local archery club and the state emergency service displaying their equipment. Local pipe bands and Celtic groups continually played throughout the day whilst at centre stage the Scottish once again were able to defeat the English with medieval re-enactment shows played out on the fields of Bannockburn. The event is held annually and is organised by a group named the Lions Club. Its members work tirelessly every year to ensure a fabulous day out is had by all 2,000 visitors. It is understood that the club are planning a major event to celebrate the 700 th anniversary in 2014. Bannockburn News thanks our Australian counterparts for celebrating our historic village and wishes them good luck with future events. Page 3 King Robert Hotel Thursday 6th August 2009 Wedding Open Evening All brides welcome to come along and see our NEW BALLROOM 6.00pm – 9.00pm Saturday 19th September 2009 Come along to the first of many tribute nights here at the King Robert Hotel! To start we have the fabulous TAKE THAT TRIBUTE BAND Plus disco with our resident dj 7.00pm – 1.00am Includes a three course set meal. £20.00 per person (One person in every party of 15 booked will go free) (Book early to avoid disappointment) Saturday 17th October 2009 The sensational MOTOWN MAGIC SHOW Plus Disco with our resident dj 7.00pm – 1.00am Includes a three course set meal £20.00 per person (One person in every party of 15 booked will go free) (Book early to avoid disappointment) Christmas brochures out now! FRIDAY, SATURDAY & SUNDAY – WEEKEND SPECIAL MENU Served from 12 Noon until 9.00pm Every Saturday evening you can enjoy live entertainment (Terms and conditions apply to all of the above) Glasgow Road FK7 0LJ 01786 811666 firstname.lastname@example.org