Down Memory Lane

Three officers from the 8th Royal Scots taking part in a game Christmas Day 1918. Capt Mitchell  (Centre) had been with Battalion since 1914 and held the Military Cross for Gallantry. Photo was taken by Major James Tait from Penicuik, also a decorated veteran of 1914. Incidentally they wore Hearts style strips when they played.

Three officers from the 8th Royal Scots taking part in a game Christmas Day 1918. Capt Mitchell (Centre) had been with Battalion since 1914 and held the Military Cross for Gallantry. Photo was taken by Major James Tait from Penicuik, also a decorated veteran of 1914. Incidentally they wore Hearts style strips when they played.

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Last weekend thousands of people all over the country gathered together to remember those who gave their lives in the two world wars and other conflicts.

Many of the tributes came from football teams, such as Heart of Midlothian FC, who had their famous recruitment in the 16th Royal Scots, (McCraes Battalion).

The men of Midlothian loved their football and many of the men from the Junior and Juvenile game from all over the county enlisted to serve King and Country.

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Unsurprisingly it did not take long for the first of the men to fall.

A mere three weeks into the war Private James Clark, a committee man with Newtongrange Star, was killed at the battle of Le Cateau, he was a reservist serving with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

With so many footballers away at the Front there was a great demand from them for footballs and bits of kit so they could still play when away from the trenches.

William Dow who ran the Harrow Hotel in Dalkeith was a great benefactor for the troops and regularly sent out gifts of footballs and cigarettes to the Dalkeith Company of the 8th Royal Scots.

The 8th were a magnificent team, and twice won the 51st Highland Division championship, Private John Hannan from Lingerwood Cottages wrote home to friends at Newtongrange Star that the team “had been presented with magnificent silver match boxes for winning the championship”.

Naturally in wartime there are casualties, and for some of the players there were career ending wounds, for others sadly, they paid the ultimate price and laid down their lives for their country.

Frank Orr was a Belfast boy, but his auntie stayed in Newtongrange, and he moved there where he worked in Newbattle Pit and played with the United.

He was a nimble forward with an eye for goals. In 1915 he enlisted in the Royal Irish Regiment and was posted to France.

On May 5, 1915, he was shot through the head and died instantly. He was 24 years old.

James King from 55 High Street,Dalkeith served with the Machine Gun Corps, he had three other brothers serving with the Army.

In peacetime he had played on the right wing for both Dalkeith Thistle and Newtongrange Star, he was killed in action on April 11, 1917 at the battle of Arras, he was 27.

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