Memorial to be built in Carronshore in honour of village’s war heroes

A war memorial will finally be built to commemorate the brave sons of Carronshore who gave their lives for their country in the First and Second World Wars.

By Jonathon Reilly
Thursday, 24th January 2019, 2:07 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th January 2019, 3:09 pm
The site at Carronshore Cross where the villages war memorial will be built. Picture: Michael Gillen
The site at Carronshore Cross where the villages war memorial will be built. Picture: Michael Gillen

The young men who left the area to go to war in the early 20th Century, only never to return, are rightfully saluted on Remembrance Sunday services at Bothkennar and Carronshore Parish Church every year. However, plans are now in place to create a 
lasting legacy in their 
honour.

Given the number of war memorials already in Falkirk district, Carronshore Heritage Forum (CHF) members felt the creation of such a monument in the village was long overdue.

The committee, formed in May 2018, has taken it upon itself to deliver the project which it hopes will act as a focal point for the community in what was once a renowned spot for Carronshore residents to enjoy a seat and a blether.

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Made of granite and comprising at least 30 names of fallen Carronshore men, CHF now has planning permission to construct a ten to 15 feet-high and a five to eight feet-wide monument on a grassy area at Carronshore Cross at the junction of Main Street and Kincardine Road.

The original plan had been to have the memorial built by last November to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that formally ended First World War hostilities.

Although that aim didn’t materialise due to time constraints, CHF is hopeful residents will appreciate the £7000 monument which, once it is completed, will feature new benches to replace the originals that were removed several years ago to make way for the Fern Lea Grove housing development.

Craig Martin, CHF secretary and former Falkirk Council leader, said: “One thing Carronshore doesn’t have is an outdoor memorial to those who served.

“It has one inside the church which does all the remembrance.

“The idea is to have the memorial and the two seating areas where people can sit and chat away. It’ll be nicely fenced off.

“We want to create a focal point in Carronshore that brings the community together.

“It’ll bring back memories for some of the older people because that’s what their parents used to do. Hopefully we’ll bring back the idea of people meeting there and talking.

“There used to be benches and all the old guys used to sit down and solve all the world’s wrongs, watching everybody going by.”

He continued: “We’ve got funding in and we’ve got to thank Falkirk Council because it’s mainly coming from them and Larbert High School because we got the pupils to do designs.

“We’ve made it clear we don’t want it to be used for Remembrance Sunday because the church does that every year.

“We’ll lay a wreath but we don’t want to take that away from the church.

“We’ve had our knockbacks and things that didn’t go our way but we’ve also found ways of getting round them.

“We’re in a position now this year where we’ll be ready to go and we’re looking forward to it.”

A long and thorough research process, aided by the local church and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, has seen CHF’s original estimation of the number of Carronshore’s war dead more than double.

Mr Martin explained: “We started off with 15 names and it went up.

“There are 30-odd from the First World War and only one name from the Second World War which is a bit surprising.

“We think we’ve got all the names but we’re sure there’ll be somebody missing somewhere so we’re still looking for names.

“If people know of any of their relatives who died during the wars they can get in touch with us.”

Members are aware their efforts to trace certain names may take longer than others due to the literacy levels of the time — but that won’t stop them from trying.

Stewart Wright, CHF committee member, said: “We’re going to leave a space on the memorial in case we’ve missed any.

“Away back in the First World War a lot of people couldn’t read or write when they enlisted.

“So you’ve got names which were misspelled depending on how the guy decided to put his name down!”

In addition to the financial backing from the local authority to help build the monument, the forum has also been supported by a number of residents and businesses in the village.

Davy Mac Plant and Landscaping Services has offered to carry out work for free while both The Carronshore Bar and The Victoria Inn have offered to host fundraising events on its behalf.

Mr Wright thanked the firms for their backing on behalf of the forum and said: “The pubs have been brilliant with their fundraising. The Carronshore Bar has done bingo and we’re having a night in The Vic and we’ve had local landscaping companies saying they’ll dig it out for nothing.”

The forum is eager to hear from anyone who believes they may be able to support the forum in its quest for names of Carronshore’s war dead after completion. Members can be contacted on Facebook by searching for Carronshore Heritage Forum.