Rutherglen can do much better
Veteran’s grandson wants good turnout
A Rutherglen man whose grandfather was a WWI soldier has this week issued a rallying call ahead of the upcoming Armistice Day celebrations.
David McCutcheon is proud that his grandad John Branter served in the Great War and has his medals framed at home.
The father-of-two honours his grandad, who lived until 1972, and all soldiers who fought for their country by attending the Remembrance Day service at Rutherglen Cenotaph every year.
But David revealed he has been extremely disappointed with the turnout from locals, particularly last year where barely 100 people showed up.
“There should be hundreds attending, not one hundred,” David told the Reformer.
“We often say ‘Lest We Forget’ and want to educate the next generation about those who died fighting for their country.
“But when I look back at last year’s event there were very few kids attending. There are a lot of schools across the Rutherglen and Cambuslang areas and I believe that every school should be represented at the November 11 ceremonies.
“It is especially important this year as it’s the 100th anniversary of World War One ending.”
David’s aunt passed on a pile of old interesting photos of Rutherglen, many of which he has shared online.
One of those pictures was taken at a Remembrance Day service at Rutherglen Cenotaph in the 1940s.
Huge crowds can be seen packed into the Main Street in the black and white snap.
A stark contrast is drawn when you compare a photo David took at last year’s ceremony in the same spot.
Members of the military and lodges, council officials and dignitaries, along with some local residents and kids with the brownies and scouts made up a disappointingly small crowd.
David said: “In the 1940s and 50s there was hardly any room to move at the cenotaph because many people in the community showed up to pay their respects.
“When I was standing at the cenotaph last year I was thinking, ‘This is pitiful, Rutherglen’.
“As a royal burgh, we should be doing better than this. I hope more people show up in 2018 as this is the centenary, and I hope that the council does more to get all our schools involved too.”
A spokesman for South Lanarkshire Council said: “South Lanarkshire Council is leading on, and supporting, a wide variety of events over the coming weeks to mark the centenary of the WW1 armistice.
“Members, officials, community groups and schools, together with military and voluntary associations are involved in a wide ranging programme leading up to remembrance events across South Lanarkshire on November 11.
“As this is the centenary of the first Armistice, the opportunity has also been taken to discuss how groups and organisations attending the service at the cenotaph might be extended, to represent all sections of the community.
“All involved are keen to encourage greater representation from schools and local cadet forces, for example, and this will be reflected in the guest list being co-ordinated by the Old Parish Church.
“Hopefully this will lead to more younger people attending in this the centenary year, as well as acting as a catalyst to ensure more young people participate in the act of remembrance in the future. Additionally a number of projects are taking place in our primary and secondary schools.
“We are confident that the varied and inclusive programme of events we have planned, features activities designed to appeal to all sections of our communities, and look forward to as many as possible joining with us to mark such a hugely significant moment in our history.”
The town’s cenotaph, on the west end of Main Street, has been refurbished by the council ahead of the centenary service.
It will take place at 12.30pm on Sunday, November 11, marking the agreement signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities.
The peace pact took effect at 11am — the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” of 1918 – and church services will be held throughout the area at this time on November 11.
A procession will then take place from the Old Parish Church to the nearby cenotaph for the special commemorative event.
Hopefully this will lead to more younger people attending in this the centenary year
1940s Main Street in Rutherglen is mobbed as huge crowds turn flock to the cenotaph on Armistice Day
2017 A poor turnout at the same spot last year