Memorial stone to be unveiled to honour five Aberdeen brothers whose lives were claimed by WW1
A granite memorial stone will be unveiled in an Aberdeen cemetery this weekend close to the final resting place of a First World War veteran to honour five Granite City brothers who lost their lives as a result of the conflict.
Peter Tocher was buried in a pauper's grave in Trinity Cemetery following his death in Aberdeen City Hospital from tuberculosis in 1923, five years after the end of the war and with no memorial to mark his service to and sacrifice for his country.
Peter contracted the disease in a German prisoner-of-war camp, where he was imprisoned for the duration of the war following his capture at the Battle of Le Cateau in August 1914 soon after the onset of the conflict.
The Aberdeen man was not considered to be a war casualty at the time of his death because the Commonwealth War Graves Commission stipulates that Commonwealth military men and women only qualify for a war graves headstone if they died within the qualifying period of 04 August 1914 to 31 August 1921.
Over the past few months, however, Aberdeen City Council bereavement services officer Ian Burnett has been working closely with retired history teacher Colin Johnston to discover more about the Tocher family from Rosemount, who lost five sons as a result of World War One.
The brothers' parents, Peter and Elspet, subsequently played a major part in the inauguration of the city's war memorial in 1925.
On Saturday 23 August, members of the Tocher family will be joined by Colin and Ian to witness the unveiling by Aberdeen Depute Provost John Reynolds of a specially commissioned Kemnay granite memorial stone to honour Peter, who was the eldest son, and his four brothers. The moving ceremony will take place in a corner of Trinity Cemetery at 11am, close to the spot where Peter was interred more than 90 years ago.
The commemorative stone, which matches a Commonwealth war grave headstone, has been created by granite memorial specialist Barry Mackland, and gives details of the five brothers. All served with the Gordon Highlanders. George Tocher died on 08 May 1915, John on 18 July 1916, James on 31 July 1916, and Robert on 15 November 1916.
Aberdeen Lord Provost George Adam has already presented the family with a wreath on behalf of the city, which has been laid on the Memorial to the Missing on the Somme at Thiepval, where two of the Tocher boys' names appear.
Depute Provost Mr Reynolds said: "It will be an honour and a privilege for me to attend the ceremony and to meet members of the present-day Tocher family. The brothers all made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for their country and it is almost impossible to imagine the grief and anguish that their parents must have felt as one son after another fell.
"The memorial stone will be a dignified tribute to this Aberdeen family's unimaginable loss and it is very fitting that we should be marking their story in this 100th anniversary year of the start of the First World War."