12/11/2015

Remembrance

On Wednesday I joined a number of colleagues, veterans and members of the public for the two-minutes silence to mark Armistice Day.  This is always a very important day and it is remarkable to watch as the centre of Dundee comes to a standstill for a couple of minutes.

I think that it is important that we remember the impact of war and those who have lost their lives in wars.  This is not about glorifying warfare but rather about remembering the impact of war on real people and families in our community.  I was reminded of this on Sunday as I stood at the war memorial at St Joseph's Church in Wilkie's Lane.  The war memorial there contains 234 names and when it was unveiled in 1924 it was said to be the biggest number at any church in Dundee.  It is sobering to think that all of those names are of people who lived and worked in the West End.  The congregation at St Joseph's are trying to find out something about all of those named on the memorial in order to tell the stories behind the names.

One of the names on the memorial is that of Fr James Shine, an Irish priest who served at St Joseph's until 1915 who was killed in France in 1918 while serving as a British Army chaplain.  I spoke about Fr Shine at a conference at Bath Spa University in the summer.  I think that this is a very interesting story which deserves to be much better known.

I am a strong supporter of Great War Dundee which aims to mark the centenary of the First World War in a variety of ways, and reflect the many different aspects of life in the city which were impacted by the First World War.  The Great War Dundee project is trying to find the stories behind the city's roll of honour, and has launched an online version of the roll of honour.  If you have a story of a family member then Great War Dundee want to hear from you.