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Permanent stone memorial to Gordon Highlanders unveiled after years of effort

The symbolic unveiling of the memorial by, from right to left, The Lord Provost of Aberdeen - Councillor Barney Crockett, The Lord Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire, Alexander Manson, the Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire, Andrew Simpson, and the Lord Lieutenant of Kincardineshire, Alastair Macphie.

The sacrifice of thousands of brave north-east soldiers who gave their lives for their country has been immortalised in a remarkable memorial.

After years of efforts and planning, a carved stone has been erected in the National Memorial Arboretum to echo the achievements of the Gordon Highlanders regiment.

The “heartfelt” tribute, which was created as an ever-lasting statement for future generations, was formally dedicated at a special ceremony on Saturday.

Representing the 200-year history of the regiment and the soldiers’ family roots, the memorial was unveiled at the Staffordshire centre for remembrance by lord lieutenants from the north-east.

The memorial covered by the regimental flag before the dedication ceremony and unveiling with the Association Branch Standards to the rear.

‘Let those who come after see to it that their sacrifice be not forgotten’

Sculpted from local material to identify with the Gordon Highlanders, the “stunning piece of craftsmanship” was carved by Stuart Murdoch, who is better known as the Speyside Sculptor.

Under the main Gordon Highlanders cap badge, proudly engraved at the top of the memorial, stands a dedicated inscription in memory of “those of the regiment who served and gave their lives”.

The inscription concludes with the regiment’s motto – the Scottish word ‘bydand’, which translates to ‘steadfast’, or “not to run away from danger and keep going no matter the difficulties”.

Regimental secretary, Major Grenville Irvine-Fortescue said they are “hugely proud” to be able to commemorate the sacrifice of the Gordon Highlanders in such a special place.

He said: “The siting and dedication of this memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum will be the last occasion of its kind for the Gordon Highlanders.

Drum Major Foulis with a salute to the Colonel of the Regiment.

“The regiment has magnificent memorials across the north-east, but the National Memorial Arboretum is very special and a remarkable place of remembrance for so many.

“Our veterans were very clear about the importance of a memorial there for the Gordon Highlanders and we are all hugely proud that this has at last been achieved.”

‘Hugely proud’ to unveil Gordon Highlanders Memorial

More than 300 people gathered at the site of remembrance as the Lord Provost of Aberdeen Barney Crockett teamed up with the lord lieutenants of Aberdeenshire, Banffshire and Kincardineshire – Alexander Manson, Andrew Simpson and Alastair Macphie respectively – to unveil the symbol.

The colonel of the regiment reads out a message from the colonel in chief, the Duke of Rothesay.

Following a dedication service led by Scotland’s senior army chaplain, Reverend Duncan Macpherson, wreaths were laid in memory of those, whose “extraordinary” sacrifice “will never be forgotten”.

A special message from the colonel-in-chief, the Duke of Rothesay, was also read out to the veterans and families in the audience by the colonel of the regiment.

The London Scottish Pipes and Drums Beating Retreat.

Earlier this year, the duke attended a private viewing of the recently installed memorial and laid a wreath in memory of all Gordon Highlanders after the official commemorations for the 75th anniversary of VJ Day on August 15.

The “brilliant” day of salute and remembrance came to an end with a Beating Retreat by the Pipes and Drums of The London Scottish Regiment, with whom The Gordon Highlanders have a close affiliation stretching back to Boer War.