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Memorial recognises bravery of Highland soldiers

PUBLISHED: 18:00 11 June 2018

Historian Tony Armstrong  (left) and Dreamy Hollow owner, Nigel Day with a memorial book which is locked into the Memorial Telescope and lists the names of all the known Lovat Scouts Photo: Peter Bird

Historian Tony Armstrong (left) and Dreamy Hollow owner, Nigel Day with a memorial book which is locked into the Memorial Telescope and lists the names of all the known Lovat Scouts Photo: Peter Bird

Peter Bird

A memorial which recognises the bravery and initiative of a group of Highland soldiers who played a significant part in the Boer War and World Wars will be dedicated at a Norfolk college by the Bishop of Lynn.

Silhouettes of Lovat soldiers look cross Norfolk's green fields Photo: Peter Bird Silhouettes of Lovat soldiers look cross Norfolk's green fields Photo: Peter Bird

On Sunday, July 1 at 2pm, the Rt Rev Jonathan Meyrick will dedicate the memorial. It will take place in a small woodland close by the Construction Industry Training Board at Bircham Newton, between Fakenham and Hunstanton.

Known as the Lovat Scouts, they were initially formed of gillies and crofters who were skilled in the art of deer stalking. They put this to good use to gather intelligence deep inside enemy territory in the Boer War in 1899.

The memorial is in the shape of a telescope, their preferred spying instrument instead of their army issue binoculars.

The Scouts spent six months in the summer of 1915 in the Hunstanton area. They went on to play a significant part in both World War’s before being disbanded in the early 1950s.

The memorial to be unveiled by the Bishop of Lynn Photo: Peter Bird The memorial to be unveiled by the Bishop of Lynn Photo: Peter Bird

Most memorably at the D-Day landings on June 6 1944 the fifteenth Lord Lovat, commander of the 2,500-strong 1st Special Services Brigade, directed his personal piper, Bill Millin, contrary to a direct order, to pipe his commandoes ashore onto Sword Beach. It was recorded in the D-Day film, The Longest Day.

In the brigade’s honour the French erected statues of Lovat and Millin which now overlook the Sword beach.

Nigel Day bought the Dreamy Hollow site in 2013 with the aim of creating a camping site. He said: “It was a once in a hundred year chance to remember the Scouts.”

The wood contained what were thought to be ditches set out in a zigzag pattern but a visit to Gressenhall Museum established they were, in fact, training trenches.

The dedication ceremony will be attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Elgin, one of only two still-living members of the Lovat Scouts Association. The day will be an attempt to replicate the gatherings the Highlanders and local people had in 1915 nearly every week in many villages around Hunstanton.

There will be music used by the Scouts on ceremonial occasions, performed by the King Singers and a Scottish piper.

Tickets are £10. They can be obtained by emailing: remembering1918@gmail.com or at the gate on the day. Entrance to the site is via Monk’s Close playing fields.

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