In pictures: Remembering Falkirk district's ten TA soldiers who died at Cromwell Lock

Family members joined with old soldiers and members of the community to remember the tragic loss of ten part-time soldiers.

The annual remembrance service and parade to mark the terrible time in 1975 when the members of the Territorial Army died is always held on the Sunday closest to date of the tragedy.

It pays tribute to the members of 131 Independent Parachute Squadron, Royal Engineers, including two brothers, who had set off on a weekend exercise to Nottinghamshire from where the majority never returned.

During the early hours of September 28, during an 80-mile night navigation exercise on the River Trent and in extreme weather conditions, their boat tragically capsized after a power failure caused the navigation lights on the Cromwell Lock, known locally as Devil’s Cauldron, to go out.

Ten of the part-time squaddies drowned with only one – Sapper Pat Harkin – surviving by clinging on to the assault boat.

Those who died were Raymond Buchanan, Norman Bennett and Terry Smith, all aged 20; James Black and Alexander O’Brien, both 18; Ronald Temprell, 26; Joseph Walker, 21; brothers Stuart, 22, and Peter Evenden, 19; and the youngest victim Ian Mercer, aged only 17.

Although an inquest in 1976 did not assign any blame to Sapper Harkins, he never publicly spoke about the events, living quietly in his Denny home until his death in 2012.

In the days following the tragic events on the River Trent, towns across the district came to a standstill as the funerals of the young, part-time soldiers took place with people filling the streets to pay their respects as the coffins, some on army vehicles, were driven to and from the services.

A memorial stone to the ten was erected in Grangemouth’s Zetland Park, close to the town’s cenotaph bearing the names of the soldiers who went off on weekend exercise never to return.

This year marked the 48th anniversary of the tragedy and Sunday morning’s service was attended by former members of the Parachute Regiment, veterans, representatives of the Royal British Legion Scotland and family members who lost their loved ones.

There is also a memorial garden at Cromwell Lock with a block of Scottish granite bearing the names of the men who died and they are also commemorated at The National Arboretum in Staffordshire.

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