Kirkmichael School WWI & War Memorial Competition Entry - Images

Images used in competition entry


In 2013 – 2014 the pupils of Kirkmichael Primary School researched the lives of 2 young men from Mount Blair area who died in the first world war. In 2015 Community Memory Map was drawn by taking it to various archive drop ins, and to both the Strathardle Gathering and the Community Council drop-in day. A time line was also drawn using local knowledge.


These are photographs, sketches, posters, and letters created or used for the purposes of the Royal British Legion Scotland’s competition for primary schools. The competition involved researching the local war memorial and the stories of the men who appear on it. The Kirkmichael entry was a video called ‘Peter and Harry’ and it told the story of two men from Strathardle who fought and died in World War One – Peter Mitchell and Harry Morrison. YOu can find a PDF document at the bottom the page which tells their story.



Transcription of ‘In Loving Remembrance’ postcard:

“ Dear Jemi,

I have been a long time in writing but I have at last found time. We are getting very bad weather here just now but I see it is the same all over. I had a letter from mother and she saw where there was a man saved off the Defence and is a prisoner in Germany so there might be a chance yet. We will not give up hope although there isn’t much to cling to.

Hoping this finds you in the best of health as it leaves me at present,


Transcription of Peter Mitchell’s letter to his mother from HMS Defence:

“Dear mother,

Just a few lines to let you know that I am in the best of health and enjoying life. We are getting very dirty weather at present, raining all the time. I had a long letter from Jemi [Jemima, his sister] yesterday saying she had got her broach alright. I also sent one to Miss Ross but I have had no word from her yet. Jemi was saying they were getting pretty rough about Dundee, plenty of ice and snow. We did not get any of that. I have not managed to get anything to send but I expect to be going ashore soon and will get them if any blue serge [?] or flannel would be any use to you I can send it. We are allowed to send the cloth as long as it is not made up. Lots of the chaps send it away to be made into costumes it is fine warm stuff. I have just received your letter about an hour ago and also May’s one. She was telling me about the sale you are to have at Christmas. Willie Grant of the Boreland [Farm] is to do very well if he gives them all the stuff she was telling me. This is all I have time to write at present please let me know if you want any of the two things. Hoping you are all well.

Best wishes,

From Peter”


This page was added by Sally Gingell on 22/03/2014.

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  • Blairgowrie Advertiser 18 September 1920-


    One of the most impressive and touching scenes ever witnessed at Kirkmichael took place there on Sunday afternoon in connection with the unveiling and dedication of the cairn erected to the memory of the men of Strathardle who made the supreme sacrifice in the Great War.
    When the question of a memorial was being first considered, the form of a cairn was thought to be the most appropriate to the district and to the men who gave their lives, and as being the traditional Scottish memorial to a warrior who fell in battle.
    The site decided on was the high knowe at the east end of the glebe, adjacent to the highway shortly before entering the village, and was kindly granted by the heritor of the parish.
    The cairn built of boulders off the land on which the fallen lived and worked, and was put up by the hands of the people themselves. To gather in the stones three love dargs were held during the spring and summer, these being heartily supported by everyone who was asked to help. The boulders, some of them of considerable size, are cemented together, and form a pile 11 feet high, surmounted by an immense slab of stone 13 feet high, two feet of which is imbedded in the centre of the cairn. This huge block was brought from Kindrogan. The actual height of the monument is thus 22 feet.
    On the front of the cairn is a tablet of brass engraved in Celtic lettering, with a Celtic cross in the centre, and a Celtic scroll round the margin. The inscription reads:-

    To the Glory of God


    Men of Strathardle who fell in the War
    1914 – 1919
    This to their Memory
    In Honour of All who served.

    The cairn and tablet were designed by Mr Don. Mackie, Coltbridge Studio, Edinburgh, and the practical work of building the cairn was carried out by Mr James Gordon, mason, Kirkmichael.
    The Committee who had charge of the whole erection comprised:- Mr F. Balfour of Kindrogan, Chairman; Lady Stormonth Darling of Balvarron; Rev. James C. Mackay, Parish Church; and Messrs James Small, Kirkmichael; John Stewart Dounie; John Shepherd, Dalnagairn; William Grant, Boreland; John Greig, C.B.E., Courran; Dr Alex. Miles, Cnocsualtach; and Mr W. Richmond, Schoolhouse, Secretary. Since Mr Richmond retired from the school and left the district, the secretarial duties have been undertaken by Dr Miles.
    On Sunday, at noon, a joint dedicatory service was held in the parish Church, where a very large and representative congregation assembled. The pulpit was occupied by rev. J. C. Mackay, parish minister, and rev. A. L. Skene, U.F. Church minister, and a combined choir, with Miss M’Gregor at the organ, led the praise. Rev. Kenneth M’Leod, Colonsay, formerly of Straloch, was to have taken part in the proceedings, but, to his extreme regret, he was urgently called home in consequence of serious illness in his congregation. The order of service was:- Psalm xxiii., reading of several appropriate passages of Scripture, prayer, Psalm xx., Old Testament lesson, II. Samuel 1-17; Hymn 332, “Brief Life is Here Our Portion’, New Testament lesson, Revelation xxi. 1-7, the Creed and then the Lord’s Prayer, the congregation standing; and the National Anthem.
    Rev. Mr Skene, preaching from Joshua iv. 7 – “These stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel forever”, said that the idea of erecting stones as a memorial of some important event is a very old one, as shown in various places of the Old testament. Let us, he proceeded, think of the memorial by the Jordan erected more than 3000 years ago, and see if there is not some points of resemblance between that memorial and our own one to be unveiled today. First, we are reminded of work done, successfully accomplished. We are glad to think of men who gave themselves for others. The war finished makes us think of work done. All honour to each one of the millions, of many a colour and clime, who had a share in it. Some talked of blunders, but consider the greatness, and is it not wonderful there were not more blunders? Today we have to commemorate that work done. It means sacrifice of life, but in the history of mankind no great work had been accomplished except at a great cost. The history of our land is emphatic witness of this from the days of Bannockburn. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”. Secondly, we are reminded of God acknowledged. We honour the memory of those who gave their lives in the war, but most of all, we desire again humbly and gratefully to acknowledge God and give Him the glory for the successful issue of the war. In the memorial to be unveiled today, even before the names of the fallen, there occur these words – “To the Glory of God”. Mr Skene recalled the early stages of the war, when we were at great disadvantage. Perhaps by all the rules of warfare, he said, our enemies should have won, but, time and again, they were held back as by an unseen Hand. Many present must recall instances of individuals preserved as a direct answer to prayer. And on a bigger scale, on the memorable occasion when the enemy seemed to be sweeping all before it, why didn’t they march on Paris and seize the Channel Ports? What held them back in the great push of March, 1918? Let us explain as we like. Not the men, not the munitions, not the aid merely of our allies, and we did value it; not the better arrangements; but the Lord’s power and the Lord’s aid blessing the means. These we want fully to acknowledge today. Apart from Him there never would have been victory. Thirdly, the Jordan memorial invoked God’s help for future work. There are tasks facing us today far more serious than we ever imagined. Let us think that the same God Who helped us in the dark days of March, 1918, can still guide and direct in the labour troubles, in the Irish difficulties, in the Mesopotamian tangle. Statesmen and leaders need support as much as did the generals and officers need help and confidence during the war. The work of reconstruction is before us, and we are face to face with new conditions. The old is passing away, whether will or not. There are civil and political earthquakes. Like the children of Israel when they entered Canaan to the serious work of conquest before them, so after the war and with the memory of the past, we must resolutely set to the new and fresh tasks. If the outcome of the years of anguish through which we have passed meant in the end a better world, a purer life, and a great revival of religion, who shall say that sacrifice has been in vain, or that the blood has been thrown away.
    Rev. Mr Mackay then led in prayer, and afterwards read the names of the fallen, the congregation upstanding; and the service concluded with paraphrase ixvi. And the Benediction.
    A procession was formed at Kirkmichael Bridge immediately after the service, and marched to the cairn in the following order:- Pipers George Munro, Malcolm M’Millan, and Hugh M’Millan, Kirkmichael, Bugler William Robertson, Cotterton; schoolchildren, under Mr J. B. Anderson, Headmaster, and Miss Gould, Infant Mistress; clergy; relatives of the fallen, many of them carrying beautiful wreaths; members of the Memorial Committee; and the general public. The procession had a most imposing appearance as it slowly wended its way to the music of the ‘Flowers of the Forest’, along the road, which was lined with spectators, many of them from long distances.
    It was a stiff climb up the concrete steps from the highway to the cairn, and as the space on the top was limited preference was given to those immediately concerned, the great company of those who formed the procession and the spectators remaining on the roadway below.
    The ceremony here was very simple, but nonetheless touching. The unveiling was performed by Mr Lachlan M’Intosh, shoemaker, Kirkmichael, the oldest residenter in the Strath, and the dedicatory prayer was offered by the Rev. Mr Mackay. Thereafter the relatives of the deceased placed their tributes around and on the memorial, the pipers played ‘Lochaber No More’, and the ‘Last Post’ was sounded by Bugler Robertson.
    There was a solemn stillness around, save for the murmur of the Ardle as it meandered past the spot, and many were affected by the plaintive music of the pipes and the notes of the soldiers’ requiem. Altogether the day will be a memorable one in the Strath, whose young men responded so nobly to the call of their King and country.

    By Stuart Nicholson (18/03/2019)
  • Thank you Stuart, very interesting article. Its lovely when people add to the archive. Again thank you.

    Pat Townsend

    By Pat Townsend (03/04/2019)
  • Excellent project. I just wanted to point out that both boys are commemorated on the Portsmouth War Memorial. I do not believe their bodies were recovered for burial.

    By Alistair McEwen (21/07/2014)

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