Monday, 12 November 2018

A Cycle to the Kelpies...


Saturday and Stuart organised a cycle from South Queensferry along the coast to The kelpies and on to The Falkirk Wheel, then a return to Edinburgh along the Union Canal,
The day dawned clear blue and was a perfect winter blue sky day, the day would cloud over and by sunset cold November rain rolled in for the last 2 hours of the day as we rode back to Edinburgh in darkness along the canal...
Most of the pics are stills from the Go pro as i filmed short bursts as we cycled...


Leaving from under the Forth Rail Bridge...






Winter sun shadows...




Time for some daftness...


Lol!...





That yellow box must be bad for the business next door!



The Urban sprawl of the BP works at Grangemouth...


Soon we were there...








Fed and watered we rode on to the Falkirk Wheel...








First of two cool tunnels on the Union Canal...


Also several Aqueducts...




This tunnel was cool and a highlight of the ride...


Took nearly 3 minutes to ride through...


The rocks looked amazing in the lights...



Out the other side and the return back to Edinburgh...


Impressive Aqueduct...







Into Edinburgh as the dark closed in and we were all getting wet and cold, good friendships kept the grins coming and banter  as we rode down to the van at South Queensferry


64 miles and a long day that ended with real cold rain the last 2 hours, but was an ace route, thanks Stuart for organising and planning and a lift in the big van!
Here is some film, Song is `Dayvan Cowboy` by Boards of Canada


Cycle to the Kelpies; Nov 2018 from coastkid71 on Vimeo.

More soon...

Sunday, 11 November 2018

WW1, the day the guns fell silent...

Gallipolli April 1915

Today marks 100 years since the end of WW1, A war of unimaginable slaughter and suffering that we today will never really know just how bad the conditions of trench warfare was...
In my lifetime the last men and woman who served in the conflict passed away, leaving filmed interviews, diary, books and items of their own experiences on land, see and air, and on the home front.  The war probably effected every family of the British Empire and today we will remember and pay respects to the fallen from the wars since...


Here is some of my own families history from WW1,
A few years ago one evening when i visited my late father in the nursing home he handed me a folder...
"I think you will want a read of this son, of a very brave man in our family"  Dad said...
My Second Cousin has been doing family researching and received an historical of my Great Grandfather Archibald Love McKinnon`s war records...
fourteen/eighteen/research war record...






Call to arms...
All over Great Britain young men like my great grandfather often along with their  friends eagerly signed up  after listening to Lord Kitchener's Call to Arms, to get in on the action before it was all over by Xmas 1914... whole streets of men often signed up and joined the same regiments...
Lord Kitchener's famous  poster...

As we know the war would not be over by Xmas 1914 but would drag on over a 4 year bloody stale mate.
The Gallipoli Campaign starting with Anzac landings on April 25th 1915 after a failed Naval assault.
It was planned to secure Russia`s  Sea route by capturing Constantinople (modern Istanbul)  when Turkey entered the war joining the Germans. The campaign would fail after a 8 month hell of slaughter and operations were moved to Egypt. It is said to this day to be one of the most brutal conflicts of battle, ever...
Slaughter, disease, and no Geneva convention treatment was given to many captures soldiers...
Some pics from my Great Grandfathers War Record;

Gallipoli pics...


French troops...



British troops...



Turkish troops...


The Gallipoli Campaign claimed over 100,000 lives between both sides and many more injured, and no doubt lived with the mental scars of their experiences of war...

Wounded troops going home...


Some of many who never returned home..



Wiki link Gallipoli Campaign


My Great Grandfather was just one of hundreds of thousands of men who fought through the horrific slaughter of WW1... He fought in the Gallipoli campaign, a failed campaign that has been described as one of the most horrific battles of WW1...

Extracts from the Service record;
The Records give an insight into the Operations with Officers reports and maps showing the miles of trench systems, Reports of patrols, casualties, and Archibald's involvement where he is mentioned, or his unit is mentioned.

The 4th Battalion  of the Royal Scots Fusiliers was created for the new Territorial Force (TF), on 1st April 1908. Originally formed for Home defence it would later serve overseas. Headquartered in Kilmarnock Ayrshire it had a number of drill halls in the region. One was in Kilwinning where Archibald lived in 1911 and was used by `B` Company. Archibald enlisted on 20th January 1915.

Royal Scots Fusiliers badge...


Into battle;
Archibald arrived at Gallipoli on 6th June 1915 having sailed with the Battalion from Liverpool on the ship `Mauretania` on 21 May 1915.

The `Mauretania`




Transferred to HMS `Reynard` his unit landed at `V` beach and came under fire when the beaches were shelled several times that evening, shells coming were from the front line and several miles away across the Dardanelles. They were stationed at the beach until late on 9th June,
Map of the Gallipoli Peninsula 1915...



Gallipoli Peninsula today...



`V` Beach today..


Onto the Front Line...
Ordered to hold the front line the 1/4th  and 1/5th Royal Scots Fusiliers (RSF) occupied a labyrinthine of trenches which were in full view of the Turkish front line. The Records mention the trenches made little sense with no signs  and few maps to navigate. Guides sent to bring the RSF into position got lost, and The trenches were under constant sniper fire.
On 11th June a heavy bombardment killed Captain A. Logan and one man. and wounded 21 men.

The records create a scene that must have caused great fear to Archibald and his fellow soldiers. the stench of dead decaying bodies in the searing heat, lice, rats, disease, must have been hell...


Trenches at Gallipoli...




Over the top;
The records state it is not clear when Archibald Love Mckinnon was trapped behind Turkish lines but it indicates probably on 12th July 1915 when after a British bombardment, the Battalion went `over the top` in four waves as part of a much larger assault in which most of the Division took part.
`The attack was quite successful` says the war diary with `C` Company capturing another trench and advanced 250 yards on a 1000 yard front.

13 Officers had become casualties along with 49 men dead, 150 wounded and 62 missing, It is possible that Archibald was among the latter, many of whom later reported.

The battalions position on the day was to the right of 157th Brigade, east of the Achi Baba Nullah in the vicinity of  `Hyde Park Corner` on the map below...

Trenches around Krithia and Achi Baba Nullahs..



Service Documents and maps;





Officers Daily reports are included, here is one for 12th 13th  July 1915...


 The report printed out...



Many maps included too...





Discharge from the army;
There is no information with regard to Archibald`s evacuation home or his condition, but he was discharged under Kings Regulations 392xvi on 31 December 1915


Silver War Badge;
Archibald was awarded the `Silver War Badge` for his services. The badges were numbered individually; Archibald`s was 514572. He was not awarded it until 1920, which rather defeated the object of giving the man something to use to show publicly that he had served.
He did not need to apply for his campaign medals as they were sent automatically. Archibald qualified for the 1914-15 star and the British War and Victory Medals, a standard combination for men who went overseas in 1915. They were normally dispatched to the man in 1919 (the Star) and in 1921.
The medals are still in possession by a McKinnon family member...

My Great Grandfather died before my mum met my father and  married,  Dad said he was a kind man and a popular person in the family's home town of Kilwinning.


Archibald Love McKinnon in civilian life in Kilwinning after WW1...

Dad said as a child his Grandfather never talked to him about his experiences in those trenches,
Not many of these brave men did talk of their own experiences, It must have been horrific what these men did and seen in those trenches, and those that survived and came home had to try and return to a normal civilian life, For what these men did should always be remembered for what they did for our country...


WW1 Souvenirs...
I was given two items owned by my late father,  a WW1 British Officers 1917 compass and a 1918 whistle given to him when he was young by a man who served in WW1 that dad used to go fishing with when he grew up in Ayrshire.
One item that could have saved lives and one that could send men to their deaths over the top...





Next time you pass a WW1 War Memorial stop and take a few moments and read some of the names of the fallen, these men gave everything for us to be here today in a free life...



More soon...