Cecile Flowerdew of Turnberry came along to the Girvan Rotary Club recently to talk about her ‘relations’. Cecile who worked for the newspaper group DC Thomson writing material for the story line ‘ Billy and Benny ‘ and latterly working on the children’s comics ‘ The Diane’ and ‘The Bunty’ . However,she came better known as a teacher at both Girvan Academy and Belmont Academy.
Cecile had great tales about her relations for the Rotarians in attendance. Her grandfather, Robert Davis, was an assistant stage manager in Edinburgh when he enlisted as a soldier in a Leith Regiment to go and fight the Germans in the First World War . On the road to war he was involved in the Quintinshill Rail Disaster on 22nd May 1915, in which 5 trains were involved killing 226 and injuring 246. He was a member of the Royal Scots Regiment and was on his way to Gallipoli to take part in that disastrous campaign. He made it to Gallipoli and even survived a horrendous walk to Palestine which nearly killed him because of the serious shortage of rations. In an attempt to keep scurvy at bay the troops were given an orange when they reached Palestine and when Robert eventually made it back to Scotland he ate an orange every day for the rest of his life .
Cecile’s Rotarian husband called Jim had a great uncle , Gordon Flowerdew, a fruit grower who lived in Canada. He also enlisted to fight the Germans. He would eventually be in command of the last cavalry charge made by the British Army. Gordon had enlisted as a private in Lord Strahcona’s Horse in Canada and quickly moved through the ranks being commissioned as an officer in 1916. In January 1918 Gordon Flowerdew was given command of C Squadron. For most of his war, the Canadian Cavalry Brigade had not been involved in much direct fighting, because of the static nature of the warfare. However, when the Germans launched ‘Operation Michael’ and began a rapid advance in the spring of 1918, the cavalry again became an important factor in the struggle . In late March, as the Germans approached Moreuil, Gordon, the fruit grower, posthumously won the VC for his efforts in this confrontation .
Girvan Rotarians thoroughly enjoyed Cecile’s talk and their meal as usual in the Royal Hotel.