Erskine hosts the Falkland Memorial Service and the unveiling of the Memorial Sundial to mark the 40th anniversary of the conflict
A memorial service was held in Bishopton as Scotland’s largest veterans charity, Erskine unveiled a moving tribute to mark the 40th anniversary of the Falklands conflict.
The Shadow of the Brave, a 5-foot Corten steel sundial, is modeled on the figure of Erskine veteran Bill McDowall kneeling and paying homage to his fallen comrades. Bill, 61, served in the Falklands when he was 21 and now works and resides in Erskine Veterans Village.
Created as a place of remembrance and reflection for veterans, the sundial is displayed to families when touring Erskine Grounds in Renfrewshire.
Between each hour there is a series of dots, totaling 255 to commemorate each fallen British serviceman. The dial is marked to tell the time in the Falkland Islands, with the shadow created by the kneeling soldier sweeping the dots each day from sunrise to sunset, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The exterior of the dial is inscribed with the poignant quote, “As the sun sets and in the morning we will remember them”.
The guests, including a number of Falklands veterans, were welcomed to the memorial service by Wing Commander Ian Cumming MBE, Managing Director of Erskine. Words from the Reverend Royal Naval Chaplain Jude Okorie followed as he paid tribute to those who fought and lost their lives in the 10-week conflict between April and June 1982.
A minute of silence was marked by lowered standards and Gavin Templeton’s Last Post. Piper Alastair Henderson followed with the Crags of Tumbledown Mountain, composed by Pipe Major James Riddell in the Falklands during the battle, honoring those who fought. After the laying of several wreaths, guests were then welcomed to the Centenary Garden and the Garden of Reflection as they paid their own respects.
Wing Commander Ian Cumming MBE, Managing Director of Erskine, said: “It is right that we pay tribute to those who have fought bravely to defend the citizens and sovereignty of the Falkland Islands. “Operation Corporate” was a brief but fierce campaign, fought 40 years ago at great distance, in a place few had heard of at the time. Time and distance may have further blurred the memory of the general public.
“However, for those who fought so heroically, their physical and mental wounds may as well have been acquired yesterday – as they live with them today. This anniversary reminds us of the importance of charities like Erskine, who work so tirelessly to ensure that our country’s veterans, of all ages, receive the care, support and shelter they need and deserve.
“The memorial service and unveiling of the stunning Shadow of the Brave, one of the few permanent Falklands War memorials in Scotland, is a poignant and fitting tribute to all who served. Thanks to Bill McDowall and to so many other Erskine veterans who fought in the Falklands, we know the pain so many live with.This sundial, in Bill’s likeness, is a remarkable work of art, which will serve as a reminder to everyone who visits our Veterans Village, of the sacrifices that so many people have made.
The sundial is designed by Chris Smith of Concrete Creative, manufactured by the Bravest Manufacturing Company of Scotland, with steel donated by BAE.