Battlefields Tour Report

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Scottish War Blinded members visited the World War One battlefields in May 2015 as part of the charity's Centenary Programme of Events.

Members visited various sites in Belgium where the first lethal gas attacks were launched during the second Battle of Ypres in 1915, leading to significant numbers of allied war blinded and the foundation of Scottish War Blinded. Members also visited a number of museums, memorials and attended a memorial service at the Menin Gate.

A Scottish War Blinded wreath was laid as mark of respect for all who have lost their lives during the conflict.

Re-tracing the Footsteps of Relatives

Scottish War Blinded World War One Battlefields TourVeteran Derek McDonald travelled to Belgium, as he was keen to re-trace the footsteps of his grandfather, Alexander McDonald, served in 2nd Battalion Royal Scots and was awarded the Military Medal whilst serving on the Western Front.

Mentioned in dispatches, Alexander McDonald was part of a four man patrol on 15 July 1917 looking out for signs of possible enemy gas deployments. The patrol successfully captured four Germans who provided the regiment with much needed intelligence. Upon his return, Derek shared his experiences through an article titled 'Reflections of Ypres'.

George Gowans also successfully located a link to his family's World War One history:

"It was such a memorable trip to the battlefields. It's very difficult not to be moved when you visit the war graves where there's thousands of grave stones disappearing into the distance. I was also amazed with how well-kept the cemetaries were, they are a real fitting tribute to the men who lost their lives during World War One. I had an uncle who died during the Battle of the Somme. At the memorial we didn't think we would find his name considering how many there are, but I was lucky enough to find it. I took a picture of his name which I now have at home."

Audio DiariesBattlefields Tour Report

Scottish War Blinded member Rev. Dr. Mackie has produced a series of audio commentaries from the battlefields tour for members who could not make it to Belgium.

Rev. Dr Mackie said:

“I felt that this was something that needed to be done as a means of sharing the sights and share the feelings encountered during the trip. It was not until we arrived at the first location, the Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest British and Commonwealth War Grave, that I realised it would prove too overwhelming. So I had to make audio notes and do the diary when I returned home.”

 

 

 

 

Battlefields Tour Report