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Dirleton War Memorial

Dirleton_War_Memorial_AO
Dirleton’s War Memorial is situated on the triangular green in front of church. It was designed by the prestigious architect Sir Robert Lorimer and is built from Northumbrian stone.

It is inscribed with the names of the dead and the following inscription:

To the deathless memory
of the sons of Dirleton parish
who laid down their lives
in the Great War
1914 - 1918

Like so many war memorials, it was commissioned in response to the many parish deaths in the First World War and it was formally unveiled by the local Member of Parliament, Patrick Ford, on Sunday 10th October 1920. Prior to this ceremony, an afternoon service and sermon was held in the Kirk to the largest congregation that anyone there remembered, followed by a large assembly around the monument attended by a formal group of ex-servicemen. The names of the 31 local men who had died in the war were read out, the memorial was dedicated and wreaths were laid around its base.

Five of those 31 dead had worked together at Castlemains farm, three of them brothers. Another of the dead was David Watt who lived in Rosemary Cottage and was a golf professional. He had won the Scottish Open Championship just weeks before the outbreak of war.

A further four names of Dirleton fallen were inscribed on the memorial after the Second World War.

This tradition of a church service followed by a gathering outside around the memorial with the reading of the names of the dead and the laying of wreaths has continued to this day.

Sir Robert Lorimer was known before the First World War as an architect of grand houses and he was involved in the restoration of Lennoxlove House, Haddington in 1912. After the War, the age of the great houses was over but his reputation meant that he was awarded the commission to design the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle in 1919.

Thanks to John Fergie's book Dirleton - Stories and Reminiscenses for some of this information