British Legion Club Banchory commemorates Armistice online in collaboration with International School Aberdeen

The British Legion at Ravenswood Club Banchory are commemorating Armistice virtually this year and have put together a pre-recorded video to be played on the day.

Head of music at the International School Aberdeen Mr Kent Walter invites the Legion Club in Banchory to join the student commemoration concert every November, however this year proceedings are being done virtually.

Mr Walter will put a virtual concert on with students on the day, with members of the Legion in Banchory invited to attend.

*Original video by Christian Stolte

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Chairman of the Banchory Branch of the Legion Mr Alistair Black said he was grateful that Mr Walter still managed to pull something together in these strange times.

Mr Black said: “I want to say thank you to the International School for the great job they do each year.”

Kent Walter (far left), music teacher at ISA, sets up a remembrance ceremony in collaboration with Banchory Legion Club every year *Photo by Christian Stolte
This year members of the Legion pre-recorded a video as commemorations will be held online *Photo by Christian Stolte

The importance of Armistice Day is not lost on Mr Black whose family have a long tradition of serving their country.

Both Mr Black’s grandfathers were involved in WW1 with the Gordon Highlanders, Mr Black’s father was apart of the D-Day landings in WW2, and Mr Black himself was a member of the army for twenty-two years serving in the Royal Scotch Greys and the Royal Scotch Dragoon Guards.

“The Legion is the guardian of remembrance.”

Mr Black said the Legion is responsible for keeping up the tradition of remembering the atrocities of the past.

Mr Black told The Reporter: “We always have to remember the atrocities people went through to give us the freedoms we have in this day and age.

“If people start forgetting about it we’re more than likely to be roped into another atrocity.

“The Legion is the guardian of remembrance.”

The ceremony performed is known as the ‘raising of the standard’ *Photo by Christian Stolte
Armistice Day is held to commemorate the day the Allies and Germany signed armistice in Compiegne, France to mark the end of WW1 *Photo by Christian Stolte
Chairman of the Legion’s Banchory Branch, Alistair Black, thanked Mr Walter for putting together the ceremony in these difficult circumstances*Photo by Christian Stolte

Challenging times for the Legion and remembrance

Mr Black said he’s never seen times as challenging as they are now, listing off threats including terrorists attacks, wars in the Middle East and, the most immediate threat at the present time; covid.

The virus has caused misery in all walks of life and the Legion has not been spared its wrath.

Mr Black said times are tough to keep the branches and clubs going.

Mr Black explained: “I can see a lot of the clubs disappearing right now. It’s extremely difficult.

“The problem is the older people getting together and being able to chat and natter and all the rest of it. We worry not allowing them to do this will lead to more depression and more serious problems, especially for people with PTSD.”

Kent Walter ( holding the trumpet) is head of music at the International School Aberdeen based in Pitfodels *Photo by Christian Stolte
Mr Black fears less people are remembering every year as the young struggle to get involved *Photo by Christian Stolte
The Royal British Legion was formed in 1921 to provide support for ex-serviceman and their families *Photo by Christian Stolte

The other challenge facing the Legion is keeping young people aware and, as Mr Black described earlier, being guardians of remembrance, the Legion mustn’t let people forget.

Mr Black explained: “It does get less and less each year (people taking part in remembrance).

“It’s getting the young people involved which is a very hard task.

“I understand why the young may not get involved. They have a lot more on their plate these days and they don’t have the time to watch old fuddy duddies marching down the street.”

Banchory Legion Club, based at Ravenswood County Club Banchory, has over 400 members across the UK *Photo by Christian Stolte
Banchory war memorial *Photo by Christian Stolte
It’s estimated between 9 and 11 million military personnel died in the conflict *Photo by Christian Stolte

No matter what, those who lost their lives to protect freedom will be remembered this year and Mr Black is already looking forward to a proper remembrance when covid has passed.

Mr Black said: “We’re doing a small wreath laying which is about as far as it goes this year. That’s why it’s good Mr Walter came out with this virtual concert and at least we have a presence at the International School.

“It’s just a shame because we can’t have the proper parade and banter with different clubs and branches that goes on after.

“Hopefully it’ll all have disappeared by next year and we can make up for it.”

Armistice Day, Wednesday 11th November 2020.

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