'Garden for Heroes' to honour West Fife's fallen
Gary Fitzpatrick • Published 27 Aug 2012 13:00
A GARDEN for Heroes is finally set to be created in Dunfermline as a tribute to the West Fife soldiers who have lost their lives in recent conflicts.
The garden will be in the shadow of Dunfermline Abbey and will be a peaceful haven for families to remember their loved ones who made the ultimate sacrifice.
In recent years, victims' families have called for a new memorial to be built in West Fife, traditional recruitment ground for the Black Watch and whose communities have lost young soldiers in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Press has been at the forefront of the families' campaign and readers backed an on-line petition on our web-site.
On Tuesday, Fife Council executive committee, gave the project the green light and area committees in Dunfermline, South West Fife and Cowdenbeath, will be asked to provide the £100,000 funding.
Kelty woman Linda Buchanan, whose son Tam Mason (pictured right), a corporal in the Black Watch, died in 2009, said, "I'm delighted to hear things are now moving. For a long time we didn't think that we were going to get anywhere but I'm now quietly confident it's going to go ahead.
"The families are to be involved in the design of the garden and I'm sure it's going to be a lovely place for people to sit.
"I think it's only right that we build this especially as we continue to send young people to places where they risk their lives.
"We have been quite lucky recently that no more Scots have lost their lives but soldiers are still dying and families in England have been losing their loved ones.
"When Tam died it gained a lot of media coverage whereas sometimes now on the news they just say a soldier has died in Afghanistan. It just gets five seconds on the news but it's somebody's son, just the same.
"It's easy for people to forget this is still going on when they've not got family involved."
Council leader Alex Rowley said, "It is very important that we pay tribute to the young men from our communities who gave their lives for their country.
"The Garden for Heroes will be a place for families to remember their loved ones. It is also a place to remember the brave young people who are still serving their country in far-off lands.
"As we go about our normal day to day lives, it is too easy for us to forget the sacrifices the servicemen make.
"No matter what you think about the rights and wrongs of war, these young men and women leave their families and risk their lives.
"I was there in Kelty when Paul Lowe was buried and then when the Black watch marched through the village.
"It was one of the saddest days I have seen in Kelty and there wasn't a dry eye in the village.
"Other West Fife communities have experienced the same tragic loss of young lives."
A report to councillors stated, "Over the last two years significant interest in developing proposals for a garden to remember those lost in recent conflicts has been identified by families of soldiers from across West Fife.
"During 2011 further consideration has been given to both the location and nature of the garden along with indications of community consultation and support including a petition of over 1000 people supporting the idea.
"The proposal is for the garden to called Garden for Heroes located at Monastery Street Dunfermline near to the WW1 and WW2 memorials and will be a place where people from across West Fife can go and sit and enjoy the surroundings and reflect on heroes who put their lives at risk in areas of conflict across the world as part of the armed forces; and also as a place to remember those who have lost their lives in recent conflicts."
Private Paul Lowe (19) died with fellow Fifers, Sergeant Stuart Gray (31) and Private Scott McArdle (22), all of the Black Watch, in a checkpoint bombing in Iraq in November 2004.
Private Kevin McHale (27), from Glencraig, died in a separate incident in Iraq the same year.
In July 2007 Black Watch privates Scott Kennedy (20), from Oakley, and Jamie Kerr (20), from Cowdenbeath, died in a roadside bomb in Basra along with colleague Corporal Paul Joszko (28), from South Wales.
In October 2009, another West Fifer Tam Mason (27), originally from Rosyth, died from injuries sustained in a bomb blast in Afghanistan.
This article appeared in Dunfermline Press 27 Aug 12