Flagpole damaged ahead of Bonnybridge D-Day 80 commemorations

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A ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings went ahead in the Falkirk village of Bonnybridge despite vandals cutting the flagpole rope that was to be used in the event.

Baillie Billy Buchanan says he was furious to discover just before the ceremony at Bonnybridge’s Memorial Gardens that the rope appeared to have been cut deliberately.

The ceremony on June 6 – hosted by the Ancre Somme Association Scotland – included a special commemorative flag being raised to mark the occasion and a wreath being laid.

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A Ukrainian flag has been flown every day in the gardens by Baillie Buchanan since the Russian invasion to show his support for the country and its people.

The memorial flag is raised in Bonnybridge. Pic: Michael GillenThe memorial flag is raised in Bonnybridge. Pic: Michael Gillen
The memorial flag is raised in Bonnybridge. Pic: Michael Gillen

And while he had noticed it was missing, he thought it had just blown away.

Baillie Buchanan said: “A few weeks ago I noticed the flag was gone but as the weather was really windy at the time I just thought it had blown off.

“However, when I went down to the memorial gardens to set up for the D-Day event – which included raising the D-Day flag – I found to my anger that the flagpole rope had been cut down and obviously they got the flag.”

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Baillie Buchanan said it was only thanks to the “ingenuity” of resident George Lees that the full ceremony was able to go ahead.

St Mungo's and Denny High School pupils with the 80th anniversary flag that was raised in Bonnybridge. Pic: Michael GillenSt Mungo's and Denny High School pupils with the 80th anniversary flag that was raised in Bonnybridge. Pic: Michael Gillen
St Mungo's and Denny High School pupils with the 80th anniversary flag that was raised in Bonnybridge. Pic: Michael Gillen

Pupils from Denny High School and St Mungo’s High School helped to raise the special flag as the community paid their respects to those who took part in the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944.

He thanked all those who took part in the poignant ceremony, particularly the pupils who carried the flags, flag master George Lees and piper Kevin McLean, in full paratroopers uniform.

But Baillie Buchanan added that he was “disappointed that there is a person or persons within our community that would be responsible for this”.

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Speaking after the event, he said: “If they had wanted a flag so badly, they just had to ask me and I would have given them one”.

The councillor has asked Police Scotland to investigate the issue as this is the second time that the Ukrainian flag has been stolen in Bonnybridge.

The flag was stolen last May from the Memorial Gardens but on that occasion the rope was not cut and it was quickly replaced.

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