General Haig unveiling the Alloa War Memorial.
Nearly every community in Scotland erected a memorial to their own war dead.

Scottish war memorials commemorate sacrifices made from as early as 1263. The earliest memorials record the battles fought against Viking and English invaders. Later ones recall Scottish civil wars. Sometimes these civil wars are related to religious intolerance, sometimes over the succession of royalty. Most of these early memorials have the same thing in common. They were not erected until the 19th century, sometimes hundreds of years after the actual battle had taken place. Another thing they have in common is that they don’t list individual names.

By the late nineteenth century after several small Colonial wars the Infantry and Cavalry regiments of Scotland had started to erect memorials in churches and garrison towns in Scotland. These memorials would now include lists of names. Sometimes just Officers, but sometimes Non-commissioned Officers and enlisted men. The first recorded civic war memorial in Scotland where local men who died overseas in war and were named on a stone is in the local churchyard at Balmaclellan, Dumfries and Galloway and was erected after the Crimean War. It was not until fifty years later after the Second Boer War that other civic war memorials were erected in Scotland.

By 1914 a precedent had been set for local communities to erect war memorials and by the time the First World War had finished in 1918 nearly every community in Scotland had decided to erect a memorial to their own war dead.

Alloa War Memorial lies within the Alloa Glebe Conservation Area and comprises memorial gardens with high stone wall to the north and low curved stone walls with rails and gates to west, south and east. The memorial stands to the centre of the site comprising a painted bronze sculpture by Pilkington Jackson on a substantial cylindrical stone pedestal. The sculpture has  the figure of St Margaret, crowned and robed, standing above a group of three soldiers depicted as if half buried in mud. The wall behind has various bronze plaques containing the names, regiments and rank of the dead.

© Alistair McEwen

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