Courage of Carluke's sons recalled in special book

William Angus and Thomas Caldwell were honoured for their gallantry in the face of the enemy during the First World War and Donald Cameron during the Second World War. At that time, the South Lanarkshire town had a population of fewer than 8,000, which meant it had more recipients of Britain’s highest and most prestigious military honour per head of population than anywhere else. A total of 225 men from Carluke died during the First World War.

And 123 men from what was Kirkton United Free Church fought during the war but 23 didn’t return.

Their courage, bravery and sacrifice is recognised in a special Roll of Honour book.

Rev Andrew Hunter, the minister of Kirkton United Free Church, served alongside the troops in France from August to October 1915 and survived.

He wrote in his foreword to the Roll of Honour book of the great efforts that would be needed to build peace.

Rev Iain Cunningham, the current minister of Kirkton Church, described his words as “an insight that is as relevant today as it was a century ago”.

He added: “The book produced at the end of the First World War is a thoughtful and respectful memorial to the 123 young men from Kirkton who answered the call to serve. Sadly, 23 of them did not return and nine received distinguished military honours.

“There can be no doubting the immense courage demonstrated by the people of Carluke.

“Nor should we ever underestimate the enormous price that was paid by the whole community, not only in loss of life, but also in long-term injury, pain and grief.”

Businessman Sir Angus Grossart, who grew up in Carluke, paid for special road signs erected in memory of the three VC recipients, who all have streets named after them. A graphic of the medals adorns the signs, which bear the words ‘Carluke, a town called Courage’.

The phrase was coined a few years ago by Jack Murray, an ex-Scots Guardsman who was surprised to learn the town had so many war heroes.