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LABOUR CORPS (NATIONAL MEMORIAL), RATTRAY, BLAIRGOWRIE
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dhubthaigh
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Joined: 19 Dec 2006
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Location: Blairgowrie, Perthshire

PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 12:07 pm    Post subject: LABOUR CORPS (NATIONAL MEMORIAL), RATTRAY, BLAIRGOWRIE Reply with quote

This is Blairgowrie’s hidden jewel - The National War Memorial for the Labour Corps. For it was in the town, during the Great War, that their Headquarters were based.
It takes the form of a stained glass window and is located within the Riverside Methodist Church on the Rattray side of the River Ericht where thousands of men sought retreat and a pleasant social centre. It was paid for by subscriptions from the officers and men of the Labour Corps in memory of their fallen comrades.
The window was designed and overseen by the famous artist Robert Anning Bell whose portfolio included mosaics and stained glass in the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Cathedral.
It was unveiled and on Saturday 2nd December 1922 by Mrs Hay-Wilson together with Major-General G.S. Sinclair MacLagan, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., commanding 51st Highland Division and Col. A.B. Robertson C.M.G., D.S.O., General Staff, Scottish Command.
In performing the dedication Rev. J. Sutcliffe Allen said:- “This memorial window will stand as a token of remembrance and gratitude to them for their work well done and their splendid example of Christian ideals. In giving honour to all and remembering those who made the supreme sacrifice, let us not forget the living”.


Last edited by dhubthaigh on Fri Nov 30, 2007 2:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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dhubthaigh
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Location: Blairgowrie, Perthshire

PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote








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dhubthaigh
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DESCRIPTION OF THE WINDOW

The tracery contains, in the middle of the upper part, the emblems of the passion of our Lord, against a ruby background - the ladder, the column and the whip, the spear and the sponge, and the three nails.

Below, in the centre, is the crown of thorns, surmounting a cross and resting upon the cup. These may be taken as a symbol of the suffering and endurance of the Labour men, as followers of their Saviour.

The rest of the tracery contains figures of angels against a blue ground. These are holding scrolls with the words

“Laborare est honore”
and
“Laborare est orare”

Two smaller tracery lights contain the Union Jack on a shield, and the badge of the Labour Corps, with its motto

“Labor omnia vincit”

Then come the four main lights. In the upper portion of each, in the pointed head of the light is a half-length young angel, holding a scroll with the name of the figure shown below:-

St. George for courage
St. Paul for endurance
The Patriarch Job for fortitude, and
General Gordon for self-sacrifice

Below each of these is a small square panel, containing a soldier in khaki forcing his way through a wood of thorns, intertwined with a scroll, upon which is an appropriate inscription:-

1. “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us: then had they swallowed us up alive”.

2. “These are they which came out of great tribulation”.

3. “My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it is also gone from me. In thee, O Lord, do I hope”.

4. “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith”.

Below these, again, are four small panels inserted in the border - sun, frost, rain, tempest, and below all the inscriptions:-

“AND THEIR NAME LIVETH TO ALL GENERATIONS”.

Around the soldier panels are border patterns made of the three nails, a cross, a star and the crown of thorns. Between them, on a ruby band which separates the main figures from the lower soldier panels is the Dedication of the Window:-

“TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN MEMORY OF THE OFFICERS, NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICERS AND MEN OF HIS MAJESTY’S FORCES WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES WHILE SERVING IN THE LABOUR CORPS IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-18”

and at each side of the main panels is a border made up of ruby quarries with a silver flame, these symbolise prayers arising upwards, and between the ruby quarries are panels with the Thistle for Scotland. On the silver white background of the principal figures are quarries containing St. Andrew’s cross and the emblem of labour. Coats of arms of Great Britain and the Colonies are placed irregularly, on red band, above and below the principal figures.
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dhubthaigh
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Joined: 19 Dec 2006
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Location: Blairgowrie, Perthshire

PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Transcription of invitational letter from the Rev. J. Sutcliffe Allen:-

Dear Sir,

LABOUR CORPS WAR MEMORIAL

According to my promise to all who subscribed over three years ago to this memorial, I have pleasure in sending you a picture and description of the window, now erected in the Riverside Church, Blairgowrie, and inviting you, if you should be able to attend, to the UNVEILING and DEDICATION, on Saturday 2nd December.
The committee was most fortunate in securing an artist, Mr Robert Anning Bell R.A., of Glasgow and London, one of, if not the most distinguished of stained-glass artists in Great Britain. The craftsmanship has been, under his direction, executed by the famous firm of Messrs J. & W. Guthrie & Andrew Wells Ltd., of Glasgow. The result is a memorial, we trust, in some degree, worthy of the sacrifices commemorated. I do not think there will be found in the country any memorial to surpass it in artistic beauty, in the wealth of appropriateness of its symbolism, or in the integrity of its craftsmanship. It will be one of the most permanent treasures of art in Scotland, and will witness, we believe, for centuries to come, the heroism and devotion of the men who gave their lives, serving in the Labour Corps.
We are endeavouring to secure special railway facilities for any who may wish to be present at the Dedication.
With all good wishes
I am, yours faithfully,
J. SUTCLIFFE ALLEN
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dhubthaigh
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Riverside Methodist Church, Rattray, Blairgowrie


*NOTE: On this occasion the photograph was taken when it was 'unusually' dreich!
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dhubthaigh
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am very proud that my town has a stunning National War Memorial. I would wager however that very few people know of its existence.
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spoons



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
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Location: St John's Town of Dalry

PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dhubthaigh wrote:
I am very proud that my town has a stunning National War Memorial. I would wager however that very few people know of its existence.


Superb photos of a great memorial - more will know of it thanks to your efforts

\Spoons
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dhubthaigh
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Location: Blairgowrie, Perthshire

PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David Marshall M.C. 2nd Lieut. Lancashire Fusiliers was a member of Riverside Methodist Church. He was KIA 13/05/1918 and is commemorated on the Blairgowrie & Rattray War Memorial.

In his last letter home, four days before his death, he wrote:-

“I am in the best of health, and am quite confident in the One who looks after all His children and who has brought me through up till the present. If He thinks fit He will bring me through to the end. I am in His hands”.

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Adam Brown
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Joined: 14 Dec 2006
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Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dhubthaigh wrote:
I would wager however that very few people know of its existence.


That's a safe bet. A real hidden gem though.

Adam
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john burnett



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
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Location: Fife

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to Jim Black for the following information.
"I had read something about a memorial to the Labour Corps in Blairgowrie, or rather Rattray. The reference was in a booklet published by Blairgowrie and Rattray Community Council – “Our Heritage Walks, Welton – Bendochy – Rosemount” published 1994. The reference is as follows:

‘The Haugh has seen many changes of use. During the First World War, it was the HQ of the Labour Corps. The only memorial to the Corps in the country is a fine stained glass window in the Riverside Church. …’



The Perth and Kinross ‘Doors Open’ website for September 2008 has the following entry:

Riverside Methodist Church, Boat Brae, Rattray

Description

On the eastern bank of the River Ericht stands the Riverside Methodist Church. This church was built in 1887 by Alyth born architect David Smart. It is an unusual and curious design in that it looks very like an English country church with its decorative window moulds and stone spire, but, of course, all built of Perthshire Old Red Sandstone. Inside the church is the 'National War Memorial Window' that was dedicated to the men of the Labour Corps on the 2nd of December 1922. In 1917, Blairgowrie was the H.Q. of the Labour Corps with 20,000 men of all ranks passing through the town. Both officers and men contributed towards the memorial fund in recognition of the hospitality of Blairgowrie and the welcome retreat offered by the Riverside Methodist Church.
Architect: David Smart
Building Date: 1887"
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dhubthaigh
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Joined: 19 Dec 2006
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Location: Blairgowrie, Perthshire

PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a whisper that this church may close due to a dwindling congregation etc. etc.
Although I should know better this news has shocked me, especially as it houses the National Labour Corps Memorial.
I will keep you advised of any further news Sad
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Adam Brown
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Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

These photographs were originally posted by forum member Murray in the Rattray Church WW2 thread.

I have moved them here to the correct thread.

The Tracery contains in the middle of the upper part, the emblems of the passion of our Lord, against a ruby background - the ladder, the column and the whip, the spear and sponge, and the three nails.



Below, in the centre, is the crown of thorns, surmounting a cross and resting upon the cup. These may be taken as a symbol of the suffering and endurance of the Labour men, as followers of their Saviour.



The rest of the Tracery contains figures of angels against a blue ground. These are holding scrolls with the words:
“Laborare et honore”




and
“Laborare est orare”





Two smaller Tracery Lights contain the Union Jack on a shield, and the badge of the Labour Corps, with its motto: “Labor omnia vincit”





Then come the four main Lights. In the upper portion of each, in the pointed head of the Light is a half-length young angel, holding a scroll with the name of the figure shown at full length below:
St. George for courage.
St. Paul for endurance.
The patriarch Job for fortitude, and
General Gordon for self-sacrifice.


Courage and Endurance


Fortitude and Self-Sacrifice
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Adam Brown
Curator


Joined: 14 Dec 2006
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Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Below each of these is a small square panel, containing a modern soldier in khaki forcing his way through a wood of thorns, intertwined with a scroll, upon which is an appropriate inscription:

1.“If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us: then had they swallowed us up alive.”



2. “These are they which came out of great tribulation.”



3. “My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the
Light of mine eyes, it is also gone from me. In thee, 0 Lord, do I hope.”



4. “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”

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Adam Brown
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Joined: 14 Dec 2006
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Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And these are also from Murray's posts



The treasurer was telling me that the insurance for the window runs into hundreds of pounds. She also said that the church was struggling to make ends meet.

She told me that the Ordinance Corp used to pay the insurance up to about 4 years ago then it just stopped. This would probably coincide with the reshape of HM Forces.

The church had a handout about the history of the window. They sell them for 20p to raise funds to keep the window.

I promised to make another one for them and raise the price.

Is there any organisation they could approach to get a grant for the insurance. The quoted cost to replace the window in 2004 was £135,000.

At present, the responsibility is bourn by the members and friends of the church.

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Murray



Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 8:20 am    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

Thanks for the move Adam.

I should really look harder for original posts.
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