Great grandson of First World War hero helps launch national commemoration

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Descendants of four brothers killed in the First World War have helped launch the national commemoration to mark 100 years since the First Armistice.

More than 1,000 people, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Princess Royal, will attend a service at Glasgow Cathedral on November 11.

A limited number of tickets for the event, organised by WW100 Scotland in conjunction with Glasgow City Council, are available to the public.

Robin Scott-Elliot, whose great grandfather was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross (VC), will be attending the commemoration with wife Karen and daughters Iona, 11, and Torrin, 9.

His great-grandfather Lieutenant Colonel William Herbert Anderson was killed a week after his youngest brother Teddie, while his brothers Charlie and Ronnie also died.

Mr Scott-Elliot, 48, who lives in Helensburgh, said: “It is unthinkable what the parents of Bertie, Charlie, Ronnie and Teddie must have gone through, losing all four sons in less than four years. 

“When I reflect on their stories and think about when they died in relation to my age now, I’m struck by how truly short their lives were.

“The impact of their deaths was felt in the family for years – their parents never recovered, and my grandfather, who was a toddler at the time of Bertie’s death, had to go through life without a father – an experience which was shared by many after the war.

“I am very proud of the brave actions of my great-grandfather and great-uncles and will be remembering their sacrifices – and millions of others – with my family at Glasgow Cathedral on 11 November.

“It’s so important to pass these stories on to the next generation so that the devastation caused by the war is never forgotten.

“As we get further away from the war it is easy to forget but the least we can do is remember what they did and what it cost them, and remember all the other men and women who suffered the same fate.”

Torrin Scott-Elliot and sister Iona look at a plaque in memory of their relatives in Glasgow Cathedral (Warren Media/WW100 Scotland/PA)

He was awarded the VC for courageously leading his command in a double-counter attack, successfully driving the enemy away despite being overwhelmingly outnumbered.

However his bravery cost him his life and he died behind enemy lines on March 25, 1918, at the age of 36.

A week before his death, his youngest brother Teddie, who had transferred to the Royal Flying Corps, went down in a plane over Winchester on March 16, 1918, aged just 21.

His brother Charlie had died on December 19, 1914, at the age of 26, followed by Ronnie on October 8, 1915 at the age of 30. The brothers were from Glasgow.

The service at Glasgow Cathedral will be broadcast live on BBC One Scotland.

It will have a multi-generational focus, with the National Youth Choir of Scotland singing alongside the Glasgow Cathedral Choir.

To begin the Service, Orcadian Andy Cant will play a specially commissioned Fiddle tribute entitled Glimmers of Goodbye and a commemorative prayer by Professor Norman Drummond, chairman of WW100 Scotland and the Scottish Commemorations Panel, will be read by three generations of one family and by young people from Canada, Australia and New Zealand representing the Commonwealth.

Professor Drummond said: “We believe we have created a fitting, traditional yet contemporary service to reflect the mood of the nation at the time of the First Armistice 100 years ago.”

Meanwhile on Monday a special wreath-laying ceremony was held at the Edinburgh Garden of Remembrance.

Singer-songwriter and BBC radio presenter Ricky Ross, has also composed a song inspired by the symbolic figure of the Unknown Warrior for Armistice Day.

The story of his Ballad of the Unknown Warrior will feature in an hour-long BBC Radio Scotland documentary on Sunday, November 11 at 10am.

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