Barrhill’s Fallen event

The Barrhill prisoner of war.
The Barrhill prisoner of war.

A German soldier was captured in the village of Barrhill on Saturday and held within the Barrhill Memorial Hall as part of a Remembrance event to honour the 300 Barrhill men who died in World War One.

Barrhill’s 50+ strong Craft Group hosted the event during which visitors brushed shoulders with WW1 British soldiers and a ‘captured’ German played by members of The History Buffs, and met Lorna and Richard Conaghan of the Girvan & District Great War Project (GDGWP) whose organisation researches and records information on those from Girvan and surrounding villages who fought and died in WW1. They offered help and support to people researching family history or anything connected with any of the Barrhill Fallen on the day.

Displays included trench life, the home front, animals in war, and World War One nursing.

A Commonweath War Graves Commission certificate was on display for each of the 30 men killed in action with the actual Rolls of Honour placed in Barrhill Memorial Hall in 1923. Also on show was a heartwrenching montage of film footage shown throughout the afternoon.

One special article on display was a photograph of the Seaforth Highlanders, kindly donated by Anthony Malesys of Colorful History: Colorizations by Anthony Malesys.

It wasn’t until after the photograph was donated that it was discovered one of the Barrhill Fallen, Private William McGeoch, served in the 7th BN. Seaforth Highlanders and died on July 15, 1916 aged just 22.

“This was certainly a serendipitous moment,” said Heather Shuckburgh, one of the organisers of the day’s events.

“It was purely by chance that I chose this photograph for our promotional poster, only to find the colour version on line when researching something else. I printed off the certificates only to see that Private McGeoch served in the Seaforth Highlanders regiment. He could, in fact, be one of those in the photograph – we will never know.

“It was uplifting to see so many people exploring the history of Barrhill’s Fallen and taking advantage of the opportunity to learn more about the sacrifices made on our behalf in World War One.

“The Girvan and District Great War Project has opened up whole new worlds for people, and Lorna and Richard do fantastic work in sharing their research with everyone old or young. I’d highly recommend anyone to make contact with this organisation and see what they have achieved.”

Barrhill Craft Group members were involved in painting Remembrance Stones under the guidance of Lorna from the Girvan & District Great War Project and learning how to knit poppies with Penny Keane of the Barrhill Craft Group.

Afternoon tea was enjoyed by all, with cakes being baked by members of the community: the best cake by far being a poppy creation made for the event by Daisy Redman (aged 10) of Creeside Farm, Barrhill. People left the event with copies of original WW1 cookery books, trench cake recipe cards and free horse shoes, coupled with a new understanding of how much we have to be grateful for – lest we forget.

Supported by the Barrhill Community Interest Company and the Barrhill Hall Committee, the craft group is hoping to host many more events in the coming months. Full details of all organisations can be found via Facebook or contacting the Barrhill Craft Group on barrhillcraftgroup@gmail.com.