Fauldhouse War Memorial
In April 1920, a public meeting was called to discuss the erection of a war memorial for the fallen from Longridge, East Benhar, Levenseat and Fauldhouse. Despite the war being over for fewer than 18 months, the public turnout at the meeting was small. However, a committee was formed under the chairmanship of the local GP, Dr Ogilvy, and the first donation (£30) came in within a few days, raised at a performance of the children’s 'kinderspiel' (musical play), 'Fickle Fortune'.
Meanwhile, the three churches and the Salvation Army erected memorials within their own buildings to their members who had died. The United Free Church at Crofthead unveiled a memorial tablet in June 1921 to the 24 young men of the congregation who had been killed, but they also gave out scrolls of thanks and appreciation to the nearly one hundred men from the church who had served and survived. In October 1921, the Parish Church unveiled a memorial plaque to its 41 members who had died.
Meanwhile fundraising continued for the town’s memorial, but it took some two years to raise the full amount needed – perhaps because so many had contributed already to church or club memorials. The ground at the Knappers was kindly given by Mrs Morgan of Glasgow to the community 'in perpetuity'. Work began in early August 1922, and the memorial was unveiled in a moving ceremony on 17 September. During the service, Private David Purdie, son of the Bridge Street draper, who had served in the Cameron Highlanders right through the war, 'in a deep, rich voice' read out the names of the 109 men from Fauldhouse, East Benhar, Longridge and Levenseat who died.
On 22 September 1922, the Linlithgowshire Gazette repoirted:
A crowd of several thousands was gathered round the iron fence enclosing the memorial ground. The ex-service men made the ceremony the occasion for a rally. Assembling in the local Territorial hall, about 100 of them, under Captain T. Forsyth, Royal Scots, Lieutenant W. Steele, RAF, and Lieutenant J. Abbot, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, marched to the memorial ground where they divided into two companies, each taking its stand on either side of the monument.
The unveiling was performed by General Sir Francis Davies, General Officer Commanding the Forces in Scotland. During his address he spoke of the purpose of the memorial:
‘As time goes on, all of us who either went through the war, or, perhaps what was worse, stayed at home and saw our loved ones go, will pass away. The object of putting up this monument is that it should be a lasting memorial, not for us here, who know all about it, but for those who come after us. If something is not done to make certain that it will be a lasting memorial, the time may come when the people living here will hardly know what this monument means. There is only one thing to do, and I say this wherever I go, I do ask you fathers and mothers to teach your children what this memorials means and what these men did. I am not preaching war, far from it. I want you to tell them of the sacrifice these men made.’
For a complete list of those who served, see the Fauldhouse Roll of Honour on this website.
©'1914-18: Fauldhouse Remembers' group
For more information on any aspect of West Lothian and the First World War, contact firstname.lastname@example.org - http://www.westlothian.gov.uk/article/2055/Local-History-Library.
[i] The name, the Knappers may derive from this being where stone-breakers worked: ‘Elderly country people will remember, too, the stone knapper, who broke up large stones into pieces small enough for road making. Machinery has replaced him entirely.’
(Edinburgh Evening News, 7 Oct 1954)
[ii] As the committee were dependent on relatives submitting names for inclusion on the memorial, a number of men were missed. The total of the fallen from Fauldhouse, Longridge, East Benhar and Levenseat is about 140.