Slamannan is a former mining village that stands a little under five miles south-west of Falkirk. It is home to a remarkable collection of war memorials from several different eras.
Just about every village in Scotland has a war memorial, but we don't know of anywhere else that has quite so many. Most Scottish war memorials were erected after the Great War, to commemorate the horrific loss of life suffered by communities across the length and breadth of the country. Slamannan's Great War memorial stands at the north end of Station Road, where it meets High Street. It takes the form of a large king from a chess set, and its corner plot is guarded by three impressive recumbent stone lions. The main inscription commemorates those who died in the 1914-1919 war. The dates are a reminder that Scottish war memorials tend to take the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919 as the end point of the war rather than the armistice that came into effect on 11 November 1918.
The memorial was unveiled on Sunday 9 October 1921 and commemorated 52 men who died in the conflict. A further plaque was unveiled on Sunday 9 October 1949 commemorating 11 local men who died in the Second World War. The name of Garry Lennox, who was killed in the Gulf War, was added after that war. (Continues below image...)
Further west along High Street, opposite the junction with Main Street, is a second memorial, this time in the form of an octagonal pillar flanked by drinking fountains and topped off by an ornate clock. This is sometimes referred to as the Boer War Memorial. As the inscription makes clear, it primarily commemorates George Ralston Peddie Waddell, a local man who volunteered to serve with the Lothians and Berwickshire Imperial Yeomanry in South Africa during the Boer War; and who died there on 3 February 1901. The memorial was erected in 1902.
Carry on along High Street to the west and on the opposite, north, side of the road is the latest of Slamannan's war memorials. This is in the form of a memorial garden created in 2010. This commemorates a number of individuals. Most notably, it commemorates Lance Corporal Samuel Frickleton, who won the Victoria Cross for his bravery during the battle of Messines on 7 June 1917.
Frickleton was born in Slamannan in 1891, but the family moved to New Zealand in 1913 after his father was offered a job as a miner there. Frickleton and four of his brothers served in Gallipoli in 1915 with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. He was wounded and returned home, but he later re-enlisted and was sent to Belgium in 1916. His actions there led to his award of the Victoria Cross. After the war he returned to New Zealand, where he died in 1971. He is remembered by the date set into gate to the garden, by descriptive plaques, and by a large carved stone Victoria Cross, all beneath the flags of New Zealand, Scotland and the United Kingdom.
Samuel Frickleton's memorial is accompanied by a memorial to Corporal Alexander Penman, another native of Slamannan, who was awarded the Military Medal - twice - during the Great War. Another plaque serves as a reminder of the many conflicts and military operations that British forces have been (and in some cases still are) involved in since 1945. At the rear of the memorial garden is a twisted three-bladed propeller. A plaque tells visitors that this serves as a memorial to Sergeant Pilot John Tristram Silvester. He was killed on 14 February 1942, at the age of 22, when the Spitfire he was flying from RAF Grangemouth crashed near Slamannan. The twisted propeller was excavated from the crash site in 2013.