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Greenlaw Memorial Hall

 
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Mike Morley



Joined: 17 Apr 2013
Posts: 7352
Location: Roberton, Lanarkshire

PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:30 pm    Post subject: Greenlaw Memorial Hall Reply with quote

I've had a search on the site and haven't found this one. I was having a browse elsewhere and came across this Hall which wasn't a WM originally. A short history is on the Hall website. http://greenlaw-memorial-hall.co.uk/history/

Happy to have this moved to another thread if that is more appropriate. (Or even delete it if I'm duplicating!)
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Kenneth Morrison



Joined: 29 Sep 2008
Posts: 6876
Location: Rockcliffe Dalbeattie

PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2020 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike - The Berwickshire News back in 2010 had this:
Built in 1882, the Temperance Hall, as it was originally known, became the Memorial Hall when it was handed over to First World War veterans in 1918. In those days there were snooker tables and carpet bowls, playing cards and concerts. The hall was always open and well attended.
But disaster struck on April 7, 1941, when a Second World War bomb fell on Greenlaw. The hall was badly hit, and although it was repaired after the war, some of the lasting damage can still be seen today.

I've just run across these four men who were killed by “falling masonry due to war operations” at Townhead House, Greenlaw, Berwickshire. The newspaper notices about Wright and Johnstone's deaths noted that they were “due to enemy action”.

JAMES HENRY WRIGHT
Private
Service Number: D/39564
8th (H.D.) Bn.
King's Own Scottish Borderers
United Kingdom
Died 08 April 1941
44 years old
BERWICK-UPON-TWEED CEMETERY

JAMES JOHNSTONE
Corporal
Service Number: 3188334
8th (H.D.) Bn.
King's Own Scottish Borderers
United Kingdom
Died 08 April 1941
39 years old
SELKIRK CEMETERY, SELKIRKSHIRE

GEORGE HENDERSON ROSS GIBSON
Private
Service Number: 3195357
8th Bn.
King's Own Scottish Borderers
United Kingdom
Died 08 April 1941
25 years old
EDINBURGH (WARRISTON) CREMATORIUM

JAMES ROBERTSON
Private
Service Number: 7337051
8th Bn.
King's Own Scottish Borderers
United Kingdom
Died 08 April 1941
38 years old
STEWARTON CEMETERY


I'm not sure if the memorial hall and Townhead House are the same place but it does look like the men were billeted there.
The nearby RAF Charterhall WW1 airfield was being reconstructed in 1941, so perhaps the men were on "security duties"???

Maybe the Border chaps can clear this up????
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Adam Brown
Curator


Joined: 14 Dec 2006
Posts: 7308
Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2020 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Mike. I think we should move this to the Border's section since it is an identified memorial and hope we can get some photos at some point in the future.

Kind regards

Adam
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Mike Morley



Joined: 17 Apr 2013
Posts: 7352
Location: Roberton, Lanarkshire

PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2020 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent, thanks Ken and Adam.
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DerekR
Moderator


Joined: 19 Dec 2006
Posts: 3007
Location: Hawick, Scotland

PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2020 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fascinating.
Well done Mike on the original research and Ken for the follow up information.
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Merseman



Joined: 07 Aug 2013
Posts: 315
Location: Duns, Berwickshire

PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2021 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greenlaw War Memorial Hall was refitted in the last decade, after a big grant.


Regarding those 4 men killed in 1941: 2 parachute mines got dropped on the town, maybe by an aircraft returning to the continent after a raid on Glasgow or Belfast. I think one landed in a field and the other landed near the junction of what is now the main road north (Duns Road) with the side streets of Bank Street and Church Street. It destroyed the north end of the row of houses on the west side, and killed 4 soldiers billeted in it. Blast devastated much of the rest of the row, plus it damaged nearby buildings, including the parish church which must be a couple of hundred yards away with row of houses between.

By sheer chance I came across reference to it in the biography of a man who spent WWII working as an insurance valuer... There was a young girl who got out of bed on hearing an aircraft and pressed her face to the glass to look. At that moment the mine exploded, blowing her and the window right across the room. She escaped relatively uninjured - but had she been a moment later in all liklihood would have been killed or seriously injured by flying glass.

It was not reported in Berwickshire News until Germany surrendered in 1945.
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Merseman



Joined: 07 Aug 2013
Posts: 315
Location: Duns, Berwickshire

PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2021 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where the bomb landed became the site of the Royal Bank of Scotland - now closed.

In this photo you can see the row of houses continuing south on the left.

Building directly behind the bank with the tall chimney is the War Mem hall.

https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1567491


Here is a police note from the Borders archives:

http://www.calmview.eu/Hubcat/CalmView/Record.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog&id=D%2F90%2F5%2F1%2F8

Police Reports, 14 and 17 April and letter, 22 April. Narrative of events after two parachute mines dropped on Greenlaw at 24:00, killing four soldiers in their billet and injuring others while causing severe damage including loss of power and communications: recognition of acts of gallantry by Police Contable John Laing, aged 46, of Greenlaw Police Station and colleagues and A.R.P. wardens James Robertson, Robert Buglass, James Dishington and Thomas Middlemiss.


Here is the entry from the Church of Scotland War Damage Register:

https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/news-and-events/news/news-archive/2016/ledger-reveals-extent-of-war-damage-to-kirk-properties

Greenlaw Old Church in Duns. Roof damage, 16 windows were smashed and doors, plasterwork and paintwork damaged. Tower “considerably damaged”. April 7, 1941.
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Merseman



Joined: 07 Aug 2013
Posts: 315
Location: Duns, Berwickshire

PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2021 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is an article + photo in Berwickshire News, 19th June 1945, page 6.
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