The assassination of the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand on June 28th 1914 in Sarajevo was the catalyst that brought about The Great War. Exactly one year later on the Gallipoli peninsula I’ve discovered my great Uncle Harry aged 23 was killed in action during the Battle of Gully Ravine. Harry’s name is honoured on the HELLES MEMORIAL in Turkey and may possibly be engraved on two war memorials in Lanarkshire in central Scotland.

To my knowledge my ancestor had no direct descendants; there were no fading sepia coloured photos, no paper records of any kind, just a faint memory of a name lost in the battle fields of WW1, HARRY. He was the beloved (adopted/favourite) brother of my maternal Granny Jessie Jardine. She spoke the name with fondness and tearful eyes, and when she had a son born on 11th November he was called after the uncle he never would know. That was the only information I had about the young soldier Harry Jardine who had a premonition during his last leave that he would not be returning.

With nothing more than my mobile phone, wi-fi hotspots and Google searches I set about trying to uncover the story of my WW1 ancestor, particularly as this year is the 100th anniversary of the war beginning. My initial search simply involved tapping Harry’s name alongside the words war memorial and North Lanarkshire. Trawling through the search hits I quickly came across something that struck a chord “son of Francis and Margaret Robb Jardine”, my maternal great grandparents!!! Using this finding as a base I’ve managed to piece together a little narrative that puts some life back into Harry’s memory.

Private Harry Jardine (7465) was born in Motherwell and at the outbreak of war lived in Newarthill. He enlisted in Shotts and joined the 8th Lanark Battalion of The Highland Light Infantry (HLI), which from what I can ascertain was a territorial unit (Lothian Infantry Brigade) that was part of the Scottish Coastal Defence. By mid August 1914 the unit was deployed to the Leith area on the East coast of Scotland. Further searches indicate that the 8th Lanark Battalion was disbanded around May 1916 possibly due to having insufficient numbers for overseas service. However, my initial finding told me that Harry’s battalion had already been attached to the 7th Royal Scots (B’Company) by around April 1915. Using the Royal Scot’s records for further investigation it seems that the company was warned of an overseas deployment around the 5th of April 1915. Confirmation came through on the 7th of May that the troop’s destination was Gallipoli. The soldiers were deployed between the 18th May and 8th June from Liverpool and Devonport. But calamity struck two companies; (I think it was A & C); of the 1/7th Royal Scots when their troop train crashed at Quntinshill near Gretna. Less than seventy men survived without injury, 210 died (3 officers) and 224 (5 officers) were injured. The remaining 7th Royal Scots including B Company continued their journey toward Gallipoli with the first units arriving on 6th June 1915. Some record searches cause confusion because they give the landing date of July 1915, some days after the date of death given for soldiers involved in the Battle of Gully Ravine. It can only be said that so many troops and battalions were arriving in continuous waves that a more generalised average landing date was given to some records.

In at least two Gallipoli records I sourced referred to the 156th division and/or the 52nd Lowland division. Further investigation clarified that the 7th Royal Scots became affiliated to the 156th (Scottish Rifles Brigade) in April of 1915, and the 8th Lanark Battalion was known as the 52nd Lowland as far as I can tell. Therefore any reference to battle involvement by the 156th Brigade of the 52nd (Lowland) Division would most probably involve my great Uncle Harry, and both Gallipoli sources referred to the newly arrived 156th when discussing the Battle of Gully Ravine. I managed to find the war despatches for May and June 1915 of Commanding Officer General Sir Ian Hamilton detailing the Gully Ravine battle. He mentioned how the 156th were initially successful in securing the two Turkish trenches they were assigned to capture but that further progress was limited. Another reference fully explained why my great Uncle Harry and his comrades were like lambs to the slaughter. A full complement of artillery hardware (around 208 pieces) would normally be expected for a fighting unit of that size but only a fraction (77) was available. Added to this was a severe lack of ammunition rounds (about 12,000) most of which were allocated to a front fighting division. This left virtually no protection from artillery for the 156th Division who also went forward with little ammunition!!! Hardly a surprise then that many of the casualties that day came from the 156th Division at a place called Fir Tree Spur. General Sir Ian Hamilton reported that casualties from Gully Ravine were relatively light, some 1750. I can’t help but feel how quickly war can make a man call the loss of nearly two thousand men on a single day “light”.

Reading the Gallipoli roll of honour for the 8th Lanark Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry I found 77 names of whom 36 (including Harry Jardine) died on the same day 28th June 1915 at the Battle of Gully Ravine. Much of the information in that document mentioned place names, streets and surnames that are so familiar to me, and suddenly all those lost soldiers honoured on local war memorials came alive to me. Coming across an article referring to miners who gave the ultimate sacrifice, I vaguely remembered that great Uncle Harry was a miner. This led on to me finding a comprehensive list of names for several local war memorials in North Lanarkshire. I read somewhere that some monuments erected were dedicated to residents of an area whilst others used enlistment details. I knew my Harry lived in Newarthill but had enlisted in Shotts, and on checking these memorials I believe I found him. At the Newarthill monument a Henry Jardine is listed whilst at Shotts a Pte H Jardine HLI is honoured. So at long last I feel there is a local spot in Scotland where I can visit and pay homage to my great Uncle Harry. His name is also engraved on the HELLES MEMORIAL in Turkey Grave Ref Panel No 173 to 177.

I haven’t got any photos or further information to add to this post but if I discover anything else I will report again. So, on this day, the 99th anniversary of the loss of (7465) Pte Harry Jardine my great Uncle, at the going down of the sun I will remember him.


23 Greats Who NEVER Graced the World Cup Stage

The World Cup was established in 1930 and the four home nations of the United Kingdom, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all played in the tournament at some time. However, rather than comment on players who have competed in this event, I’m more intrigued by those who never had the opportunity to show their skills on the World Cup Stage. Some of the “big names” you just assume must have taken part, whilst others never found much favour with their national teams, and three of them never managed a senior squad call up at all!!!

For simplicity I’m using the idea of a 4-4-2 formation to ensure an equal spread of players from each home nation. My squad will comprise of three goalkeepers, eight defenders, eight midfielders and four forwards, and all will have played within the lifetime of the World Cup (1930s-2000s.) So here after great deliberation are my 23 Greats for a British World Cup Squad.

Goal Keepers

NEVILLE SOUTHALL (Wales 1982-1997: 92 caps): One of the best keepers of his generation.

MAIK TAYLOR (N Ireland 1999-2011: 88 caps): With an English father and German mother Maik could have played for any of the home nations but opted for Northern Ireland. This undoubtedly gave him the best chance to taste international football at the highest level.

TONY COTON (England UNCAPPED): Played for Birmingham City, Watford, Manchester City, Sunderland and Hereford United between 1978 and 2004. But he only ever managed one England B cap in 1992.

I was torn between Tony Coton and John Lukic of Leeds United and Arsenal. John also never made the England senior squad managing seven U21 and one B squad caps from 1980 to 1990. But I decided on Tony because he played for the more “unfashionable” clubs and he was born in Tamworth which isn’t far from where I live now.


BILLY McNEILL (Scotland 1961-1972: 29 caps: 3 goals) Centre Back: Retired from the game in 1975 having made 790 appearances for Celtic. Billy’s international career spanned an era where Scotland didn’t qualify for the World Cup (1962, 1966 & 1970). I’ve read McNeill was never subbed from a game during his playing career at Celtic which shows what an indomitable force he was in defence. With this in mind and the fact he captained Celtic to win the 1967 European Cup in Lisbon, I’m having Billy as my team captain.

GERRY TAGGART (N Ireland 1990-2002: 51 caps: 7 goals) Centre Back: I chose Gerry because he was a defender who could score goals. It was a tough call between him and Aaron Hughes (79 caps 1 goal) but Gerry’s better goal ratio to caps won him a squad place.

MIKE ENGLAND (Wales 1962-1975: 44 caps: 4 goals) Centre Back: At the heart of the Spurs defence during the sixties and seventies. Mike seems to have commanded as much respect in his central defensive role as Billy McNeill.

STEVE BRUCE (England UNCAPPED) Centre Back: Early rejections by several clubs almost caused Steve to give up the game completely. Eventually he secured an apprenticeship with Gillingham moving onto Norwich City, Manchester United, Birmingham City and Sheffield United. Despite a playing career spanning 1979-1999 covering five World Cups where England qualified, Steve Bruce never had a senior call up. A single B squad cap and eight youth caps were all that Bruce was given. The international omission is hard to believe considering Steve Bruce’s integral part in defence during the earlier years of Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign at Manchester United.

PETER RODRIGUES (Wales 1965-1974: 40 caps) Right Back: Won the FA Cup as captain of Southampton in 1976.

EMLYN HUGHES (England 1969-1980: 62 caps: 1 goal) Left Back: Emlyn was captain 23 times for his country but England didn’t qualify for the 1974 or 1978 tournaments. I’ve seen Hughes listed in a group of greatest “left-backs” on various websites, hence why I have him playing in this position. But I vaguely remember him in a more central defensive role or midfield position as a player. So he could be an excellent utility man if needed.

TOMMY GEMMELL (Scotland 1966-1971: 18 caps: 1 goal) Right/Left Back: In his senior career Gemmell made 380 appearances scoring 51 goals. His name can be found in the greatest right back listings on the web BUT although he was right footed apparently he excelled in the left back position. Gemmell probably was a more attack minded kind of player who could switch sides as a full back.

JOHNNY “Jackie” CAREY (N Ireland 1946-1949: 9 caps) Right/Left Back: Johnny played for both the Northern Ireland (IFA) and Ireland (FAI) international teams. For Ireland he gained 29 caps scoring three times. During his career it is reported that Johnny played in nine different positions including once in goal!! Matt Busby made Carey captain of his Manchester United team from 1946-1953. Carey is listed in greatest left back website reports but the Irish FA has Johnny recorded as a right back, therefore I’m guessing he could fill either role. From what I’ve read Carey seems to have been a more holding type of player.


JIM BAXTER (Scotland 1960-67: 34 caps: 3 goals) Centre: I have Jim orchestrating the midfield from the centre for my squad. Left footed Baxter was always part of my plans as he was another supremely gifted player not to have had the opportunity to test the World Cup waters.

DUNCAN EDWARDS (England 1955-58: 18 caps: 5 goals) Centre: The Munich Air Disaster robbed the football world of this huge talent. Had this awful incident not occurred I’m sure Edwards would have played in several World Cups but fate decided otherwise. Duncan’s name was one of the first to spring to mind for this project and I’m both saddened and honoured to name him in my team. His talent as a box to box midfielder was without question.

GARY SPEED (Wales 1990-2004: 85 caps: 7 goals) Centre: A player who needs no other plaudits when you know he became the most capped outfield player for Wales.

HOWARD KENDALL (England UNCAPPED) Centre: An integral part of the “holy trinity” of Everton’s midfield in the 1960s and 70s alongside Alan Ball and Colin Harvey. From 613 senior appearances Howard scored 65 goals. At the time of the 1964 FA Cup Kendall was the youngest finalist at Wembley. Although he represented England at schoolboy, youth and Under-23 level Howard never played at England senior level!! He did captain England youths in the Little World Cup of 1964 and for this reason I am making Howard Kendall my vice-captain.

I was torn between Kendall and Cliff Bastin for my midfield but eventually went for Kendall due to his central playing position. Bastin was a left winger and oddly enough I have too many players with a preferential left sided leaning (Giggs, Best and Baxter) already.

RYAN GIGGS (Wales 1991-2007: 64 caps: 12 goals) Left Wing: Only retired from the game this summer and clocked up 672 appearances for Manchester United scoring 114 goals.

GEORGE BEST (N Ireland: 37 caps: 9 goals) Left/Right Wing: One of the greatest footballers ever to come out of the UK, Best had the misfortune to play in between 1958 and 1982 the two years Northern Ireland qualified for the tournament. For an all too brief spell George Best lit up the football world during those 24 years, but his rewards came from the domestic game. Being a bit of a maverick player it could be said that having Best in the squad could be a risk, but the chance to play Best and Giggs in the same team is too much temptation. I’ve read that George played his best on the left wing of midfield, the same position as Ryan Giggs. However reports also described George as a natural with both feet, so to have him and Giggs play together I’d have George Best on the right wing instead.

KEITH GILLESPIE (N Ireland 1994-2008: 86 caps: 2 goals) Right Wing: In case my experiment with Best didn’t work out I wanted to ensure a natural right winger was in the squad. You can’t get much more consistent than Keith here who I believe could also fill in at right back or centre back.

JIMMY DELANEY (Scotland 1935-1948: 15 caps: 6 goals) Right Wing/Forward: Another utility player who could play outside right wing or up front as a centre forward. Jimmy is an emotional choice for me because he came from my home village of Cleland, and I grew up hearing stories about him. I also remember several Celtic greats turning out for this quiet unassuming man’s funeral. During a career spanning twenty-four years Jimmy won the Scottish Cup with Celtic, the FA Cup with Busby’s Manchester United and the Irish Cup with Derry City. A runner-up medal with Cork Athletic gave Delaney four cup medals from four countries. A badly broken arm (almost amputated) put Jimmy out of the game for nearly two years but he returned to show what a wonderful player he was.


IAN RUSH (Wales 1980-1996: 73 caps: 28 goals): Welsh leading scorer and the complete striker, lethal in front of goal.

TOMMY LAWTON (England 1938-1948: 23 caps: 22 goals): Tommy played club football between 1935 and 1955 making 383 senior appearances and scoring 235 goals. Lawton may not be a name particularly well known to England fans but he should be up there with Bobby Charlton and Gary Lineker as top England goal scorer. Unfortunately for Tommy his England and English League XI appearances during the war don’t seem to get any credit, which I personally think is shameful. If a player today can get a cap for five minutes play in a meaningless friendly (with under strength teams), then Tommy should get appropriate recognition for his extra 26 wartime appearances which brought a further 26 goals.

JIMMY McGRORY (Scotland: 1928-1933: 7 caps: 6 goals): Jimmy played for Celtic between 1922 and 1937 with a short loan spell at Clydebank. Taking into account all competitions Jimmy made 534 senior appearances and scored 538 times. Despite this prowess in front of goal McGrory was given a paltry seven caps for his country.

DAVID HEALY (N Ireland 2000-2013: 95 caps: 36 goals): Leading scorer for Northern Ireland. During the qualifying campaign for the European Championships of 2008 David scored thirteen times in eleven games becoming the highest ever goal scorer. He broke the record of Davor Suker (Croatia) who had scored twelve times in ten games. Healy was given a special award in recognition of his achievement.

My choice of Manager is Sir Mat Busby and my deputy manager is Jock Stein. The reasoning for Sir Matt’s appointment comes from the fact that he managed the Great Britain Olympic football team of 1948, so who better to run a squad of four nations! Of course he also managed Manchester United to European victory in 1968. Jock Stein is chosen because of his success with Celtic who became the FIRST British club to win the European cup in 1967. He was also the national manager for Scotland who led them to the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain, but sadly passed away on the evening when Scotland qualified for the 1986 Finals.

To ensure all my players get a game in I shall provide two line ups using the 4-4-2 system. But I’m very tempted to mix it all up completely with a more unusual formation, and I believe I’ve got the man power to do that quite easily. Anyway, here are my less radical line ups….

Southall, LB Hughes, CB McNeill, CB Taggart, RB Rodrigues, LW Giggs, CM Baxter, CM Edwards, RW Best, Rush and McGrory

Taylor and Coton one half each, LB or RB Carey, CB England, CB Bruce, LB or RB Gemmell, LW Speed, CM Kendall, CM Gillespie, RW Delaney, Healy and Lawton.

My British World Cup Historical Squad
My British World Cup Historical Squad Flying The Flag

The Seekers 50th Anniversary Tour: Bridgewater Hall Manchester

On Thursday May 29th 2014 I eagerly took my seat to see The Seekers perform “live” for the first time in my life. A solitary 33rpm record in my Mammy’s collection had introduced me to their sound as a toddler, as both she and my Granny liked to listen to it. And so it was with much anticipation that I awaited the arrival of Keith, Bruce, Athol and Judith to the stage. My husband Rob was just as excited, and by God we were not disappointed when the lights went down. Video tributes of congratulations from Olivia Newton-John, Sir Cliff Richard and Andre Rieu began the evening’s entertainment, with The Wiggles paying tribute later on in the show.

Within a few bars being played that unmistakable Seekers sound flowed around the auditorium. It is as distinctive a sound as the legendary “Wall of Sound” from Motown, once heard you never forget it, and no-one can replicate it either. As the amazing vocals of Judith began singing the beautiful The Water Is Wide I was physically moved to tears, it sounded so wonderful. Judith looked as stunning as ever, and this was emphasised even more when their performance today had a backdrop of vintage video from the 60s. Judith in a full length sparkling evening dress hardly seemed any different to the white chiffon dressed young woman of fifty years ago. It was a clever idea considering the picture I had in my head of them as a group comes from a 1964 album! The only difference (with the exception of the men’s hairline) was that Keith and Bruce had a microphone each, rather than standing facing each other using one mic. But the sound and essence of The Seekers had not dimmed in all that fifty years, and the “then & now” stereo stage look proved that. I was impressed by “new songs” the group recently recorded Silver Threads and Golden Needles and In My Life. As the first half closed with a medley including This Little Light of Mine and Open Up Them Pearly Gates, I was taken right back to my childhood and Sunday school.

During the interval both my husband and I were captivated by a black and white video accompanying a marvellous song Far Shore. A newer song (1997) to the group’s repertoire it had everything, and I suspect will become a firm favourite of ours. In the second half the audience were regaled with Judith’s Colours of my Life and a spine tingling rendition of Just a Closer Walk With Thee, a firm favourite of my Mammy’s. This particular song highlighted the incredible range of Judith’s voice. The guys (Keith and Bruce) performed a song whose tune my Mammy used to hum and stamp her foot to for effect. They did exactly the same thing for Louisiana Man, and it was another example of something I hadn’t heard since childhood. When this kind of song springs up unexpectedly out of nowhere, I like to think it’s my late parent telling me she is enjoying the show too!! Then the awesome I Am Australian with Athol’s double bass doing a very good impression of a didgeridoo, and the story-telling lyrics held my attention completely. I’ve always adored songs with meaning and proper stories, and folk songs have a particular affinity for this quality. During this Australian masterpiece I was reminded of hearing a song for the first time during the Daniel O’ Donnell I attended a couple of weeks before. In Daniel’s song a man was being deported to Australia in a prison ship for a petty crime, and here in The Seekers they were talking of prison ships arriving. The tales of humanity told in music and verse, and both emphasising how intertwined this world really is. And of course it confirmed how universal music is as a language too.

Throughout the show I was touched to see how protective the men were toward Judith, who had done remarkably well to recover from a brain haemorrhage to perform. Initially doctors were not sure if Judith would be able to sing again, but as she told the audience “I did a few bars of Morningtown Ride and the voice still seemed to be there.” She jokingly mentioned later that the doctors hadn’t checked to see if she could play the tambourine, which she played with aplomb. I watched how Judith played her tambourine and was struck by how much she made it look like an art form, and as someone who always picks up the rhythm/beat of a song; I might give it a try myself. It would be a lot easier to manage than taking up the drums!!

The group finished with an encore of The Carnival Is Over and the audience gave them a rousing standing ovation. The whole evening had been a wonderful mix of nostalgia and great music, and I felt truly privileged to have been part of the audience. I have been fortunate in my life to have attended several concerts, many of them in huge arenas with cramped seating, or cavernous halls with seating bolted together so high it could bring on vertigo. By complete contrast The Bridgewater Hall with its comfortable chairs, plenty of leg room, wonderful acoustics, and seemingly unhindered viewing (where ever you were seated), put this venue in a class of its own. The classical elegance of our surroundings matched perfectly the amazing Seekers “Wall of Sound” we had just listened to in wonder. As we left that beautiful auditorium my husband and I both said in unison “that was THE BEST CONCERT WE HAVE EVER ATTENDED”. So to The Bridgewater Hall and the incomparable Seekers, Rob and I would like to say “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You were amazing!”

The Seekers-how they look today.
The Seekers-how they look today.

Off The Beaten Track 3

May 2014 was a good month for quirky bits of news coming my way about cultural, language, sports and women’s issues.

Four Minute Mile

The 60th anniversary of Roger Bannister’s sub four minute mile occurred on the 6th of May. I was listening to a BBC Radio 4 program called “More or Less” on Sunday the 8th and was intrigued to hear a report that suggested a four minute mile MAY have been run in 1770!!! Professor of Sports Science Peter Radford (former Olympic Bronze medallist runner) is fascinated by pre-20th century athletic endeavours, and has correlated old “documented evidence” of athletic prowess over the years. Using statistical analysis to weed out the more ridiculous claims Peter determined that some of the written evidence may carry some credence, and that an average time of four minutes to four minutes 13 seconds may have been possible times for the mile distance run in past centuries.

So we come to costermonger James Parrott (seller of fruit/vegetables and fish) who was challenged in 1770 to run a mile in less than four and a half minutes. The wager was 15 Guineas a substantial amount to James of probably around 3-4 months wages. The measured mile went from the Charterhouse Wall in Goswell Street in London to the gates of Shoreditch Church. Both the contender James and his challenger would have had independent umpires with watches, which would be locked in a box once started. The box would have been driven by horse and carriage to ensure arriving at the finishing line before the contender. When James Parrott crossed the line on a cool May 9th 1770 the time attributed to his efforts was four minutes exactly. He had won his bet, and a report in the Sporting Magazine was made (although some years after the event).

Peter Radford (like myself) is not so ready to dismiss this athletic endeavour as “fantasy”, as watches/ time keeping and other means of measurement had advanced enough by 1770 to be reasonably reliable. And with a lot of money being at stake the event would have been run scrupulously. But there does seem a tendency to rubbish claims from say before the modern day Olympics began in 1896. At the end of the report I was incredibly disappointed to hear Sir Roger Bannister say that Parrott’s achievement was “inconceivable and not at all credible”. Sir Roger’s sub four minute mile fame wasn’t in anyway being taken away from him, and I think he could have been a little more charitable. After all, if you think about it, today’s builders/architects still look back in wonder at the pyramids of Ancient Egypt. So who knows what else man could have achieved before the “modern age” of athletics?

Divergent Language

The divergence of the Korean language since war split the country was reported on Al Jazeera. A short report highlighted how the political divide had created not only social and economic differences but language ones too. With North Korea being somewhat suspicious of the outside modern world, their attitude to foreign words and western influences are markedly different to that of South Korea. As a result an academic study found that about 52% of words in general were not the same but this variation increased to 66% when used in professional terms. It’s clear that this “schism” in the Korean language is a direct cause of the people having two opposing government ideologies influencing their lives. It’s no surprise to find that the modern day westernised South Korea has words and terms probably not used in the more traditional and isolated North Korea. What I find fascinating though is just how much the language has changed in such a relatively short space of time. Variations in English are to be expected as it’s spoken in many parts of the world involving many people/countries/cultures. But Korean is a much rarer language spoken by relatively few. South Korea has been exposed to influences from around the world whilst the North remains much the same as it was before the war. So I wonder if the North Koreans speak a “purer” form of the language or if they themselves have altered it unwittingly as a direct result of the political clout of one family?

West Bank Bus Driver

I was delighted to see a BBC news report (this weekend) on Najaa Asia who has become the first woman bus driver in the town of Tulkarm in the West Bank. Najaa decided to turn her passion for driving into a career and earned her licence to carry bus passengers in April. Since then she has taken to the roads as the ONLY woman bus driver and is flying the flag for women and equality in an intensely male-dominated region. Well done!!!!

Japanese Sumo Wrestling

It seems that the traditional sport/art form of Sumo in Japan may face an inevitable decline. At the weekend an Al Jazeera report highlighted how the Japanese no longer particularly aspire to become involved in the sport. Many foreigners now form the core stables of participants especially those from Mongolia and Russia. The regime demanded by Sumo is also very taxing, particularly eating high calorie foods to maintain weight. This in itself could pose major health risks to the individual and combined with an almost “monastic” type lifestyle of training, is decidedly unappealing to Japanese men. With attendances declining and revenue falling, this manly Japanese tradition could one day be confined to the history books.