Local man revealed as guard of honour

Inverurie man George Rowe in his Royal Navy days
Inverurie man George Rowe in his Royal Navy days

An Inverurie woman has revealed that her father was part of the guard of honour who escorted the Unknown Soldier to his final resting place at Westminster Abbey.

Ann-Marie Coleman said she was very proud of George Rowe’s association with what is a powerful symbol of the sacrifices made during the First World War.

Rev Rhona Cathcart and Ann-Marie Coleman

Rev Rhona Cathcart and Ann-Marie Coleman

The unknown warrior, chosen to represent the many unnamed dead, was carried from a battlefield in Boulogne, France in November, 1920 to London to be laid to rest among kings and statesmen.

Mrs Coleman, 69, a member of Inverurie West Parish Church, said: “My dad died when I was 14 and worked away from home a lot so the time I had with him was precious.

“He served in the Royal Navy during the First World War and in the Merchant Navy during the Second World War.

“Although he didn’t talk specifically about his experiences to me, I know that he was very proud of his service and the British Armed Forces.

“It was only after my mother died that I found the page, torn from Shell’s ‘Mirage’ magazine, dated November 1933, that told of my dad’s privilege in being part of the guard of honour.

“This, together with his medals, now my prized possession, and his intent viewing of the Armistice parades on our tiny black and white TV now make more sense to me.”

Mr Rowe of Inverurie died in 1964.

Inverurie West Parish Church has been awarded eight perspex silhouettes created by the ‘There but Not There ‘Armistice Project and funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.

They will be set up as a powerful visual symbol of absence within the church sanctuary on Armistice Day and in the downstairs café at different times.

The congregation is hosting a reflective event entitled ‘Missing Youth’, a nod to Scotland’s Year of Young People, and visitors are invited to drop in and explore the various artefacts, stories and images on display

The church will be open to the public from 11.30am to 4pm on Sunday, November 11.

Tea, coffee, soup and home bakes will be on offer in the café with donations going to Poppy Scotland.