The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) Plot at Westminster
We have been greatly privileged by the featuring on the cover of the Royal British Legion Guide to the 2013 Field of Remembrance Brochure, a Cameronian, namely our staunch friend and colleague Ian Bilboe (immaculate, as one would expect of a Cameronian) in Trews and Blazer, standing alongside the Regimental Plot.
In this context it is worthwhile considering to whom we owe the honour of its preparation over the years, EDDIE CLARK.
I have asked him to prepare a piece in his own words
Major Brian A S Leishman MBE
THE CAMERONIAN PLOT AT WESTMINSTER
Early in 2000 I received a phone call from Bill Tilley who, at that time, was the chairman of our Association. He said that the Royal British Legion (RBL) had contacted him about our regimental plot in the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey. They informed him that owing to the neglected state of the plot it would soon be removed from the field. As a consequence of my conversation with Bill, it was arranged that he and the Rev. Jim Strachan would come down to London for a meeting with me at Westminster Abbey to discuss the situation. At this meeting I assured Bill and Jim that I would take over the task of resurrecting and caring for our plot.
Shortly afterwards I was contacted by the association secretary Jim Ballantyne who informed me that everything had been arranged with the RBL regarding the supplying of plaques and crosses for the plot…also the date in November and the procedures for the opening of the Field of Remembrance.
Eventually I was in possession of everything that I needed to carry out the task of getting our plot up to standard. I was also informed that the ceremony would take place on Thursday Nov. 8th and that HRH the Duke of Kent would carry out the inspection of the plots. So, on the 7th Nov I went with my daughter Helen to Westminster Abbey and proceeded to lay out our plot.
This, then, was the start of a commitment that I, and Helen, have been proud to continue for the past thirteen years. I must point out, however, that although we laid out the plot for three years, it was then arranged for the RBL to take over the responsibility to do the layout for us with, of course, the agreement of our Regimental Trustees who also agreed to finance the annual process. Every year I am in contact with the RBL checking on our plot and organising any paperwork involved and, of course, representing our regiment every November at the opening service at Westminster Abbey.
It has certainly been a most memorable thirteen years for me, simply because during that time I have had the great honour of meeting members of the Royal Family, namely the Duke of Kent, the Queen Mother, the Queen and finally HRH Prince Philip.
I would now just like to summarise this article by saying that for the first three years of carrying out this work I felt a wee bit disheartened by the lack of attendance. In that first year, however, I also started to write in our regimental journal, The Covenanter, and as a consequence of this people soon began to sit up and realise that our plot had now been brought back to life and they then started to attend the annual ceremony. To all those members who now attend Westminster Abbey I am deeply grateful and look forward to seeing you all again this year.
Thanks go out to a true daughter of the regiment who was born into the regiment in Minden whilst I was serving with the battalion. That, as I am sure you will realise, is my daughter Helen…..her faith in me and her assistance to me all these years has been boundless.
I would now like to conclude by giving mention to another military member of our family … that is my late wife Ellen. Prior to our marriage she had served three years in the ATS and I can assure you she was ‘’ a wee smart sojer’’. Sadly, Ellen passed away in June 2000 after a long illness. She has been sorely missed.
I would like to wish all Cameronians the greatest regards ….and Lang May Yer Lums Reek
Eddie Clark and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
(Left to Right) Rt Tom Gore, Maj Philip Grant, Maj Mike Sixsmith, Lieut Dudley Heathcote,
Eddie Clark, Helen Clark, Kenn Robinson, Ian Bilboe, Col Hugh Mackay OBE,
Tam Winters, Eddie Crawford
Ellen Clark and Eddie Clark 1946