Readers’ letters

Find out what our readers think of the stories making the Gazette headlines.

Carluke’s POW

Dear Ed, – Several years ago when the late John McEwan, a former Gunner with the Lanarkshire Yeomanry, was giving a talk at Law Parish Church about his time as a POW of the Japanese during World War Two, we were approached by a member of the family of another Lanarkshire Yeomanry POW, Robert Brown from Carluke.

Unfortunately, the contact details have been misplaced and we would very much like to speak to the family to learn more about him.

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We know from our own research that he was born on 17 October 1919 and lived at 15 Airdrie Road, Castlehill, Carluke. As Gunner 977273 Brown, he was with the 155th (Lanarkshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment, RA on the fall of Singapore in February 1942.

Initially held in Singapore as a POW, in April 1943, he was part of a large party of POWs known as ‘F’ Force who were crammed into metal rice wagons and taken to Thailand to slave on the now infamous Death Railway.

Construction of the railway had begun the previous year but progress along the 250 miles through jungle and over rivers had slowed owing to the brutality and starvation that the POWs had to endure.

As a result, the camps in Singapore were scoured by the Japanese for injured and sick POWs who, as ‘F’ Force , were sent up country to Thailand. This became known as the ‘Speedo Period’ when exhausted, sick and ill POWs were driven beyond human endurance. Of the men of ‘F’ Force, over 50 per cent died under this evil regime.

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We know that Robert Brown miraculously survived this ordeal and later returned to his native Lanarkshire. We would be very grateful for any further information about him. – Yours etc.,


Lanarkshire Yeomanry Group

Learn lessons

Dear Ed, – While I totally condemn the recent violence, looting and attacks on our police in London, and other major cities, I cannot help but notice the social status, age and ethnography of those who are the perpetrators.

The scenes we have witnessed over the last few days are reminicent of the projects in America.

It is a sad and frightening fact that if you house people in bad housing ghettos, which you then label “social housing”, reduce standards and access to education, permit unchecked procreation for benefits, you create a high unemployment, dependency culture and a social strata which has no values, morals or respect.

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A society where the downright corrupt flourish unchecked, while most have now fallen bellow the poverty line.

These people rightly or wrongly feel they have nothing to lose and no fear of the police or authority.

They have no respect or incentive to protect that which they have no investment in. We have in fact created a disenfranchised underclass with no gods and precious few heroes.

Only the provision of good housing, public services, education, employment or job creation will eradicate this demon of inequality that we ourselves have created.

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The French knew this in the Paris Communes. The Reformists knew this in Victorian times. Our parents knew this in 1945.

Why have we been so stupid as to have ignored and thrown away the lessons of the past?

If you create a society of haves and have nots, the have nots will rise up and destroy the haves. Sadly if we don’t change it, we will have to live with it. – Yours etc.,


Carstairs Junction.

It’s far too close

Dear Ed, – I feel I must take issue with your correspondent Shona MacKenzie of Biggar over her comments on windfarms (Gazette August 18).

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I am pleased that she appeared to have had an enjoyable visit to the Eaglsham moor site but wondered how many settlements or large villages she noticed within 600 metres of any of the silent turbines.

Yes, it must be nice to go out to a remote moorland site and enjoy the experience of the renewable future when you are then able to return home to the peace and quiet of your own home well away from any giant turbines. But some are not so lucky.

As recently as June this year, the householders at Achany near Lairg whose lives were being made a misery until Highland Council finally served a month long stop notice on a local windfarm due to the constant excessive noise levels caused by the turbines, just one of the many such recorded problems, too many to mention here.

What we in Kilncadzow are campaigning against is a planning proposal for the installation of two 125 meter (over 400ft) high industrial turbines which if approved would be dominating our landscape and outlook from a site only 500 metres from the foot of our village of over 30 houses – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and for the next 25 years – and we are expected to live with this?

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Can I state once and for all, we are not against the renewables industry but argue that any future developments must not be allowed so close to residential properties and should be sited at more appropriate locations where there is minimal impact regarding noise, health or visual issues.

Perhaps a couple of 125 metre turbines at one end of Biggar High Street might suit Ms Mackenzie but I don’t think many of the other residents would be best pleased and even she might then agree that Giants they may be - but sited inappropriately could never be described as jolly green. – Yours etc,.


Craigenhill Road,


Not such a blow

Dear Ed, – Your report, Soul group will have to fight solo, in the Lanark Gazette (August 25) concerning the exchange of emails between myself and John Young was both mischievous and misleading.

The SWT members’ group does not represent the formal position of the Scottish Wildlife Trust. Consequently, the decision of one of its members not to join a local action group – disappointed though it may be – hardly amounts to a ‘bodyblow.’

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Cemex, the company that wishes to undertake open-cast quarrying in the area is a multinational company – a formidable and well resourced threat to the area’s landscape.

But we have established a group of local people who are committed to promoting and protecting New Lanark and its setting.

We invite like-minded people to join us, which they can do by contacting me. – Yours etc.,



Save Our Landscapes

Mid Lodge, Bonnington.

Shining bright

Dear Ed, – On behalf of Shine Youth Music Theatre, we wish to thank everyone who gave so generously of their time and money during our recent fundraising events for Billy Elliot.

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The young people and adults who travelled down to London to perform in London’s Victoria Palace Theatre in the West End all had an amazing adventure.

It has been an overwhelming, once in a lifetime, experience for Shine, one that will stay with us all forever. – Yours etc.,


on behalf of Shine.

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