Remembrance 2017 Gallipoli to Passchendaele
It is now over three years ago on the last Saturday of March 2014 that the Players of Glasgow Hawks stood in silence alongside their opponents from Aberdeen Grammar to remember the teams of 100 years earlier who lined up in March 1914 to play a match which was for many of them their final match
There was not to be a next season
Facing the War Memorial Pavilion at Old Anniesland as the lone piper Kenny Hamilton played the Flowers of the Forest we remembered them and we still remember them now
We have now charted that generation of young Anniesland and Balgray players from training camps in Scotland to the beachheads of Gallipoli where Tommy Stout ,and two Scottish Caps Eric Young and Willie Church fell together in one morning to the slaughter of the Somme where Arthur Laird ,Alexander Murray and Arthur Russell made the ultimate sacrifice,to the massive losses of Scots at Arras and on to the mud of Passchendaele
On the 28th June 2015 100 years on to the hour we assembled at the War Memorial at Kelvinbridge to respect The 7/8th Scottish Rifles who went in at Gully Ravine Gallipoli that morning in support of the 1st Border Regiment a day when so many of our players fell together
The following month on our behalf friends at Hawick Rugby Club laid a simple wooden cross on the battlefield as they respected their losses in the same action lads who a year earlier had played rugby against each other had died together
Despite their terrible casualties and to their eternal credit the Cameronians saw out that tragic campaign and covered the final evacuation in January 1916 .
Today GHK wear the colours of that famous regiment with pride
The statistics from our associated schools make stark reading. There were 480 former Glasgow High School pupils 327 from Glasgow Academy ; 131 from Kelvinside Academy killed
By the conventions of the time almost without exception these young men would have played rugby
In a War of sad statistics one of the saddest school statistics relates to the Glasgow Academy where the percentage killed to those serving was suggested as the highest in Britain higher than Eton, Harrow or Winchester
This season Hawks have played at both Balgray and New Anniesland on fields that are in effect War Memorials dedicated to those who made up these sad statistics
We have not only recalled those who had fought and died in the colours of the Scottish Regiments of the 9th ,51st and 52nd Divisions but also those who had fought with the Irish Divisions in the Ulster and Munster Regiments such has been the makeup of Hawks over the seasons with so many players from Ireland having worn and presently wearing our jersey
Many Kiwis and Aussies like Glenn Metcalfe and Andy Plastow have played at Anniesland so we also have paid tribute to those of the ANZACS who had fought alongside us particularly at Gallipoli which was underscored later by the desire of the 1927 Maori Tour Party to play at Anniesland because of bonds forged in War and hospitality given to their soldiers in Scotland .In the same year the War Memorial Pavilion opened at Old Anniesland and we hosted the NSW Waratahs
In more recent times Angus Hamilton played for us he was a pupil at Scotch College Melbourne another school deep rooted into that War
We reflect on our South African rugby connections through Gareth Newton and salute the bravery of their Brigade who were attached to the Scottish 9th Division when they made their heroic stand in Delville Wood .When the few survivors were relieved they were piped out of the woods back to the lines by a Scot Pipe Major Sandy Grieve a Boer War veteran formerly of the Black Watch
This year with our links to Canada through the McCrindle family we identify with the massive losses of the Canadian Corps at Vimy Ridge a century ago in 1917 Some from our associate schools like Gardner Benzie and William MacKissock fell serving with the Canadian forces at Vimy
Before the Armistice Day 1918 that list will include two more Scottish Caps George Lamond of Kelvinside Academicals and William Hutchinson Glasgow HSFP They are listed on the Kanatte and Arras Memorials respectively
In September this year our connections with France were cemented when a special Rugby Memorial created by Jean-Pierre Rives, the great French player was unveiled at Aisne on the battlefields of Chemin des Dames with an attendant Book of Remembrance to record all rugby players who fell in that war to end wars Many of our founder clubs players are recorded there and this was recognized at the dedication ceremony two months ago
The preface to this Memorial reads
"It sounds trite but it is true that the values of comradeship, which attract young people to our game today, are those same principles that attracted their predecessors a century ago to join our clubs, and then inspired them to join up to fight in the war.” "Sportsmen, with rugby players to the fore, volunteered in disproportionate numbers and inevitably formed a disproportionate number of the killed and wounded.
That number included many from our founder clubs all of whom gave some but some gave all
Since Hawks were formed several of our players like Danny Ablett Neil Mitchell Matt Stevens Jamie Mackinnon and the sadly missed Craig Hodgkinson have all served
Time moves on and the seasons change but some things remain constant and this season our top try scorer is Kyle Rowe a young player who was educated at Queen Victoria School Dunblane a school dedicated to support the families of Service personnel particularly at the time of the Great War
'When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today'
"Some were decorated and died heroically; others fought and fell quietly "
The Final Whistle by Stephen Cooper
Updated 08:44 - 15 Nov 2017 by Hugh Barrow