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Memorial Plaque for Co-Op Soldiers Restored

One hundred years after the start of the Great War, a plaque commemorating the Penicuik Co-Operative’s fallen workers, has been restored and re-erected in the public Library.

The brass plaque created in 1923, lists the twelve workers from the Penicuik Co-Operative who lost their lives in the First World War. Now, a century on from the start of the devastating four years of warfare, a local historian and blacksmith has seen to the cleaning and re-erection of the plaque.

During redevelopment works at the former Penicuik Co-Operative flagship store on High Street, construction workers mistakenly placed the commemorative plaque in a skip. Destined for landfill, a war historian and collector saved the piece from the waste collector. The war historian, Mr Thomson, then passed the plaque to the Midlothian Council Local and Family History Library, who in turn passed it onto the Penicuik Historical Society. The society’s Ron Sheridan, a blacksmith and historian, then oversaw the cleaning and re-erection of the memorial in the Penicuik Library.

Councillor Owen Thompson, cabinet member for libraries said: 

We’re delighted to have received this WW1 memorial for public display in one of libraries.

And what a fascinating story and a very important one too, especially as we commemorate all those who fought and died in the First World War.

Costing £40 at the time, approximately £850 in today’s money, the plaque lists twelve workers from the local business who perished overseas. Amongst them is Sergeant Peter Baxter of the 8th Seaforth Highlanders who was posted missing at the Battle of Loos in September 1915. Peter worked as a grocer with the Roslin branch of the Co-operative Society and enlisted shortly after the outbreak of war. He was a mere twenty-one years old.

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