Pupils at a Moray primary school are appealing for relatives of a local WW1 soldier to attend a special event in his memory.
Children at Mosstowie Primary School in Miltonduff are holding a memorial service to mark the centenary of the death of Alexander Murdoch, a soldier listed on the Miltonduff War Memorial.
The Lance-Corporal was the last WW1 combatant to die who is listed on the memorial and was the only one who passed away at home and is buried locally at Birnie Church.
He was a mechanic who served in the Motor Transport Service in France, Germany and Belgium.
Significant details about Mr Murdoch were found in local historian Jill Stewart’s book “To Ache, An Fecht An Fa – The War Graves of the First World War in Moray and Nairn,” which detailed how the soldier came to return to the village.
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This revealed that Mr Murdoch returned to his family home at Cloddach farm in Birnie on January 18, 1919 while suffering from influenza which he had contracted on his journey home through France. He died four days later.
The young pupils became fascinated with Mr Murdoch’s story and visited Birnie churchyard as part of their research project on the Miltonduff Memorial.
When they found his grave, they discovered it was leaning at a dangerous angle and decided it needed to be fixed.
They contacted Moray Council and wrote to Ken Kennedy at the Lands and Parks department, asking for permission to have the gravestone repaired.
Mr Kennedy took great interest in the story and put them in touch with Paul Henderson at Elgin Marble Company. He was very enthusiastic about what the children were doing and offered to have the gravestone repaired, free of charge.
Now, the Mosstowie pupils are staging a memorial service for the fallen soldier at Birnie Church and are appealing for anyone who thinks they are a relative of Mr Murdoch to get in touch with headteacher Garry Forgie.
The service will be around 20 minutes long with some readings, singing and the pipes while local historians Derek Bird, Jill Stewart and Ruth McIntosh will be in attendance along with Rev Stuart Duff, the Birnie Minister.
Anybody interested in the story is welcome to attend at 11am on Tuesday January 22.