In this, the year we mark 100 years since WW1 I have spent some time honouring the fallen from Aberdeenshire.
Visiting the memorials around Aberdeenshire West has been a stark reminder of the violence and atrocities of the Great War, but equally the solidarity and bravery shown by many.
I feel particularly grateful for the bravery shown by Private James Christie in 1914, who saved my great grandfather Major General Sir James Burnett in an attack on the Gordon Highlanders in Zeeburge, France.
A real story of fellowship and courage, I would like to share:
Captain Burnett was seriously injured in an attack from the French, and left in the field as darkness fell.
Private Christie became aware of Captain Burnett’s absence as they retreated to their trenches, and decided he would go out to find him.
He crossed enemy lines to save his captain, and a severely wounded MG Burnett spotted a figure in the distance and blew his whistle, hopeful it would be one of his soldiers.
Private Christie carried the severely wounded MG Burnett hack to the trenches where he was treated.
Upon making a satisfactory recovery, MG Burnett returned to the Army where he led as 1st commanding officer of the Gordon Highlanders.
Due to Private Christie’s immense bravery and devotion to his fellow solider, he was rightfully awarded the Military Medal.
In recognition of his solidarity and loyalty, as the war drew to a close, Private Christie was employed by James Burnett for many years.
It is stories such as these, which reflect the real bravery and camaraderie of the men who protected our country, that make this centenary one condolence but also celebration.
Lest we forget.