From Gallipoli to Colintraive – Todd Ferguson of the ColGlen Archaeology Group reflects on the digital recording of a WW1 memorial…

On a rather fine Saturday morning in June, the ColGlen Archaeology Group came together to take part in the final session with Dr. Stuart Jeffrey, Dr. Mhairi Maxwell from ACCORD – they also brought along a friend of theirs’, Alistair Rawlinson from DDS, the world’s leading expert on laser scanning historical monuments. We all felt very privileged to have Al doing the scans, especially on learning he traveled all over the globe using the same technique and equipment on sites such as Mount Rushmore.

Stuart prepared the agenda for the weekend and did his best to scare us with words like LIDR and Photogrammetry which we all now know is the science of making measurements from photographs, especially for recovering the exact positions of surface points or in the ColGlen Archeology Group vernacular direct from our very own Cathy Grant “It’s like magic”.

This brings me to a site in Colintraive that is very dear to my own heart, having spent almost 20 years living in Australia and New Zealand. Gallipoli, during World War One, is an event etched in the stone memorials and hearts of every ANZAC. The 25th April celebrations are a national holiday where we are reminded ‘Lest We Forget’ – not to mention the only time of the year we can partake in a gambling game of ‘Two Up’ between 12 and 5pm, a popular game amongst the ANZAC’s.

Having fun under the tarp! The ColGlen group taking photographs using the Magic Pole to create a photogrammetric model of the WW1 memorial.

Having fun under the tarp! The ColGlen group taking photographs using the Magic Pole to create a photogrammetric model of the WW1 memorial.

We decided that this mystery memorial on the beach, that few had seen, should be the first site that we tried out our new skills of photogrammetry. Cameras in hand we began to cover every angle and surface that we could, made a lot easier thanks to Gordon hacking through most of the undergrowth at the back of the monument. Stuart brought out his secret weapons – the ‘Magic’ pole and iPad for ensuring that we captured the top parts of the monument, and much fun under the tarpaulin had begun.

The rain had started to drizzle as we finished up and headed back to the hall for soup and sandwiches provided as always by Danuta (thanks again). Stuart loaded the photographs and we sat back to let the software do its thing. Slowly but surely the monument began to appear before our eyes on the screen. It truly was like magic.

We then began to uncover more about the MacKirdy names on the plaques.

It turns out that Peter and Robert were twin brothers who like many young men before them headed off across the water to fight in the Great War. Peter, was a Lieutenant-Commander with ANSON Battalion of the Royal Naval Reserve, was wounded on April 25th 1915. He subsequently died of his wounds on May 29th 1915, aged 26.

His brother Robert, who was a Captain in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, left for Gallipoli on the 3rd June 1915. Robert was subsequently killed in fighting at Achi Baba, Gallipoli on 12th July 1915 aged 26, a mere 44 days after his brother Peter.

newspaper clipping commemorating the deaths of the MacKirdy brothers. Posted by @InverclydeWW1 on Twitter 11th June 2014.

Newspaper clipping commemorating the deaths of the MacKirdy brothers. Posted by @InverclydeWW1 on Twitter 11th June 2014.

Screenshot of the photogrammetric model created by the ColGlen Archaeology Group (generated using Agisoft Photoscan) of the WW1 memorial. Dedicated to the MacKirdy borthers who fell at Gallipoli in 1915.

Screenshot of the photogrammetric model created by the ColGlen Archaeology Group (generated using Agisoft Photoscan) of the WW1 memorial. Dedicated to the MacKirdy borthers who fell at Gallipoli in 1915.

 

 

 

They shall grow not old,
As we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun,
And in the morning
We will remember them.

Lest We Forget.

 

 

 

 

Peter and Robert MacKirdy are not forgotten and their memory lives on within the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli for Robert (http://www.twgpp.org/information.php?id=3495679) and the Portsmouth Naval Memorial for Peter (http://www.twgpp.org/information.php?id=3318647). It was, however a small glen in the North West of Scotland, Colintraive, Argyll where we became friends with them.

Next year is the 100th Anniversary of their deaths and it would be wonderful if we could have a dawn service on 25th April 2015 and remember all of the young men from the area who perished in the Great War and all others.

I’d like to thank Stuart, Mhairi, Al for their patience and experience. I’d also like to thank all the members of the ColGlen Archeology Group.

MACKIRDY, PETER MACKAY, Lieutenant.-Commander. R.N.Y.R Anson Battalion Royal Naval Division, twin son of Robert MacKirdv of Greenock and Glasgow, Sugar Broker, by his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Peter Mackay born Greenock 1 Sept. 1888; educated Collegiate School, Greenock ; was an Engineer ; Sub-Lieutenant., R.N.V.R.. 17 Julv. 1910; Lieutenant. 10 April. 1913, and Lieutenant-Commander, 10 April. 1913; died of wounds received in action at the Dardanelles, 29 May 1915.

MACKIRDY, ROBERT FINGLAND, Captain, 5th Battalion. Argyll and ’Sutherland Highlanders (T.F.). twin son of Robert MacKirdv, of Greenock and Glasgow, Sugar Broker, by his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Peter Mackay of Greenock: born Greenock. 1 Sept. 1888; educated Collegiate School. Greenock, and was a Commission Agent; joined the 5th Argyll and Sutherland Highlander (T.F ) 22 March, 1907; became 2nd Lieutenant. 23 March. 1908; Lieutenant 20 Jan 1912 and Captain 1 Nov. 1914; volunteered for Imperial service on the outbreak of war; left for Southampton ; went to the Dardanelles, 3 June. 1915, and was killed in action there while fighting at Achi Baba, 12 July, 1915.

Todd Ferguson, resident of Colintraive and member of the ColGlen Archaeology Group.

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