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A Town Called Courage

Entering Carluke either by road or rail, you are welcomed by special signs bearing the words ‘A Town Called Courage’ and displaying images of three Victoria Crosses, the highest medal for valour ‘in the face of the enemy’ awarded to Britain’s service personnel. These signs were gifted to the community in 2018 by Sir Angus Grossart, a native of Carluke and whose grandfather Thomas Grossart served on many local committees linked to the war effort during World War 1. The actual slogan ‘A Town Called Courage’ was first coined by Jack Murray, a retired Scots Guardsman from Glasgow, who has spent many years researching the stories of Victoria Cross winners. He was blown away by the fact that a community as small as Carluke had produced 3 VCs – William Angus ( 1915 ), Thomas Caldwell ( 1918 ) and Donald Cameron ( 1943 ).

The signs, however, do not only commemorate these three courageous men. They actually commemorate the over 2,000 men and women with links to Carluke, Law, Braidwood, Kilncadzow and Yielshields who have served in our armed services since 1815 and those who continue to do so.

As Armistice Day 2021 approaches and with it the Centenary of the Poppy, it is fitting to remind ourselves of the bravery demonstrated by the men and women of the Carluke area over time and so here, while there is not sufficient room to mention them by name, we lay out some of the statistics from the two biggest conflicts of the 20th century.

Our records reveal that, during World War 1, at least 1136 men and women associated with the Carluke area served. Of these 226 never returned home, 189 were wounded ( many more than once ) and 21 were taken prisoner while 50 were awarded medals for demonstrating courage and bravery on the battlefield, some more than once.

On 3rd September 1939, almost twenty-one years after the Armistice was signed on 11th November 1918, the country again declared war on Germany. Once more the men and women of Carluke parish stepped forward to do their bit. We are currently creating a database of those who served during World War 2 and, at the moment, this shows that at least 722 men and 68 women with links to the Carluke district served in the armed forces. Of these, 31 men were wounded and 39 were taken prisoner while 81 men and 2 women were killed. In total, we have so far identified 11 who were awarded medals for valour.

‘AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN & IN THE MORNING WE WILL REMEMBER THEM’

( If you have a relative who is linked to the Carluke area who served in any of the conflicts of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries and you would like their name to be included in our military databases, please contact us via our email address hello@carlukehistory.com with as much information as possible. )



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