2022 was the hundredth anniversary of the unveiling of the Newport War Memorial. The memorial, designed by Robert Lorimer, was unveiled by Sir Ralph Anstruther, Lord Lieutenant of Fife, on 2nd September 1922. To mark the centenary, Newport History Group embarked upon a remembrance project, entitled Lest We Forget.
On the memorial are the names of 84 young men from Newport, Wormit and Forgan who perished in World War I. On the plaques opposite were added a further 44 names of those who died in World War II. Thanks to extensive research by the late Gordon Small, and further research by ourselves, we know a great deal about these casualties: where they lived, what work they did, who their families were, and how and where they died.
We were keen to involve Newport and Wormit schoolchildren in this project, and so we asked the pupils of Newport and Wormit Schools to make poppies for these 100 casualties. The poppies were to be made from eco-friendly or recycled materials, and be weatherproof. The schools embraced the task with huge enthusiasm and the results were impressive to say the least. The children did a wonderful job!
On Saturday 29th October we held a very successful exhibition in the Blyth Hall, displaying all the poppies. Attached to each poppy there was specific information about each casualty. In addition there was further related information on display.
In the days following the exhibition, and in good time for Remembrance day, the poppies were positioned throughout the villages at the houses of our casualties. We did not forget the remaining 28 casualties on the memorial. They were not included, either because they lived outside the villages, or because we know little about them. Poppies were placed at the memorial in acknowledgement of them.
We were quite overwhelmed by the response to this project from the community. Over and over, we were told how moving and thought-provoking it was. Our casualties had been brought to life by showing where they lived and sharing personal details about them. A map was provided showing the positions of all the poppies, and all ages, from pensioners to schoolchildren, were out and about searching out the poppies.
Our project caught the attention of the STV news team, and our schoolchildren and their poppies starred in a news feature on Monday 14th November. Watch the film.
We could not have mounted this exhibition without drawing on the extensive research done by the late Gordon Small of Kirk Road. His small book, The Newport on Tay and Wormit War Memorial (published by the Tay Valley Family History Society in 2008), proved invaluable.
All the material from our exhibition is available for viewing in our website Archive https://www.newportontayhistory.org.uk/subject/poppy-project-2022