PLAYERS from Kingussie Shinty Club will this weekend pay an emotional tribute to their 1914 Cup winning team and the ‘lost six’ who never returned from the trenches.
Players will wear a special commemorative jersey in Saturday’s televised Scottish Hydro Camanachd Cup Final against Glen Urquhart, each embroidered with a poppy and the name of a compatriot from 1914.
One hundred years ago, Kingussie defeated Kyles Athletic 6-1 in the final of the same trophy, Shinty’s iconic competition, at Possil Park in Glasgow.
It proved to be the last time those thirteen players would ever star together.
Four months later, The Great War was declared and six players were to die on the battlefields, with a further two shot and wounded and one gassed in the conflict.
A century on, and with the club again in the final, the highland club is to pay homage to the brave players of 1914 and the sacrifices they made for their country.
Each player selected this weekend will receive a card with a photo of their corresponding player and a biography compiled by club historian John Robertson and co-manager Russell Jones.
Surrounding the poppy logo on the shirt will be the words: Camanachd Cup Final 1914- 2014 Always Remembered, with the player name stitched below.
Each player will be allowed to keep the jersey after Saturday’s BBC-televised final at Bught Park in Inverness; a fitting and poignant momento.
“What happened to those 13 players mirrored what was happening across highland communities at that time,” said co-boss Russell Jones.
“You look at the grainy pictures of those men and it seems like a very different time.
“It may be a century on, though, but we are still the same club, a lot of the current players are in similar professions and are of the same age, the village is still the same and we are playing for the very Cup those men did.
“That is why we wanted to connect the current players with those lads from a century ago.”
Current defender Barrie Dallas, 38, will wear the name of his Great Great Uncle Alistair, an Army PT instructor, who played in 1914.
Lee Bain, a gamekeeper, will carry the name of Lewis MacPherson, also a gamekeeper and Gunner in the Royal Garrison Artillery, who died from his wounds in 1916.
“There’s no doubt the players will be thinking about those men before the game,” said Dallas, whose Great Great Grandfather Jock Dallas is the sculpted player on top of the Camanachd Cup itself.
“I can recall being told a story that, in 1919, a special event was held at the Star Hotel to honour, with special caps, the Kingussie players who won the 1914 trophy.
“Sadly, family members had to collect caps on behalf of the 6 who never returned to the village after the Great War.”
This weekend’s captain James Maclean, 38, will wear the name of 1914 captain, William MacGillivray, who was killed at the Battle of Festubert on 18th May 1915.
Also killed in action were Alick Tolmie, who died at Scarpe, John G Macpherson who fell at Arras, Malcolm McIntosh who was killed at Flanders and John Macpherson, who died from his wounds after Festubert.
“William MacGillivray will certainly be at the front of my mind when I step out onto the pitch on Saturday,” said current skipper James Maclean. “It puts everything into perspective. I am very proud and honoured to be leading the team out on such a poignant occasion.”