Festubert Bible

This Bible is connected with the Battle of Festubert on the 15th June 1915, in which the 6th Battalion suffered very heavy losses. After the First World War, this Bible was carried during an annual church service to commemorate the day.

The 6th battalion was mobilised on 5th August 1914, and was sent to the front in March 1915, almost immediately after landing in France. On the 15th June, British troops began a two day heavy gun attack on German trenches. The 6th Battalion led the divisional advance, together with the 4th Loyal North Lancashire regiment. From the Battalion, nearly all the officers and some 400 non-commissioned officers and men were killed or wounded.

This bible has a long connection with the 6th Battalion, reaching back to 1860, when it was presented by a Battalion Chaplain. At this time, the Battalion was known as the 2nd Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers (later the 2nd Volunteer Battalion Scottish Rifles). Inside the Bible are the names of Commanding Officers of the Regiment from 1860 until the Battalion disbanded in 1950. Later lists show the commanding officers of the different companies which held the Bible, up to 1976.

The oval clasp that fastens the Bible was once worn on the crossbelt of Lord Belhaven, Lord Lieutenant and Convenor of the County of Lanark. He served with the 26th Cameronian Regiment from 1811 to 1824. On the back of the clasp are the words, ‘Presented by Reverend Alexander Harper, Chaplain 1905'

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Festubert Bible

Front of Festubert Bible.

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Festubert Bible side view

Side of Festubert Bible.

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Commemorating Festubert

Soldiers and former soldiers parade past the Provost and dignitaries at Hamilton Town Hall, on the way to the annual church service to commemorate Festubert. Pictured are RSR Galbraith, Major Keith, Lt. Lindsay-Smith (with the bible) and Major McGuiness.