PLAYERS at Melrose Rugby Club are paying their own tributes to the men from the Greenyards who never came home from war.

As the nation prepares to mark the centenary of the Great War ending on November 11, the Premiership club is honouring its 13 players and members who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the 1914-1918 conflict.

From the wider Melrose community, which had a population of 3000 when wore broke out in 1914, a total of 454 local men served.

Like many towns in the Scottish Borders the rugby club was at the heart of the community and the pre-war records show that some 75 members enlisted and a Melrose player was present in every theatre of war during WW1.

On the Melrose Parish Church War memorial, which overlooks the historic Greenyards, there are the names of 90 men who died during the war - 13 of them either players or members of the town's rugby club.

Murdo McAndrew from Melrose Rugby Club told us: "Current members of our first team have completed a research project into the members of our club who died during World War One.

"The majority of the men who signed up from Melrose and the surrounding area would join the Kings Own Scottish Borderers.

"This regiment and these men would go onto be involved in some of the bloodiest campaigns and battles of the entire War - including the Gallipoli Peninsula, The Somme, Battle of Arras and Battle of Passchendaele."

Melrose Rugby Club's Roll of Honour

Major William Sydeny Noel Curle (MC, 107th Bde.,Royal Field Artillery and Royal Horse Artillery): Noel was born in Harleyburn, Melrose in 1885, and was the youngest son of James Curle the first Vice President of Melrose RFC. Noel served in France and was awarded the Military Cross. He was reported as missing in March 1918. It was later confirmed that Noel died in German hands, of wounds he received in battle on 23/3/1918 aged 31. He is buried in Premont British Cemetery, Aisne, France.

2nd Lt. Thomas Hart (63 Coy., Machine Gun Corps): As a member of the Border Territorials, he was mobilised at the outbreak of the war and saw service in Gallipoli and Egypt. He was later transferred to the Western Front in April 1918. He had only been on the frontline for five days when he met his death on 5/4/1918 aged 22.

Sgt. William Davidson : William lived in Dingleton, Melrose and worked as a farm servant. He would have been 29 when the war broke out in 1914. No definite information can be found of his death.

Act/Cpl. Robert Smith Riddell (No. 23778 2nd Bn.,KOSB): Robert was born in Melrose and worked as a grocer and stonemason. He was the eldest of three brothers who all served in the War. His youngest brother Edward was killed in the summer of 1917. Two months later Robert was killed in action by a shell on 1/7/1917 leaving behind a widow and two children. He is buried in Roclincourt Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.

L/Cpl Ivor Fernie (No.200148 coy. 1st/4th Bn., King's Own Scottish Borderers): Ivor was born in Perth and later moved to Melrose. When war broke out Ivor was already a member of the KOSB and served in Gallipoli. The 1st Battalion fought on the Gallipoli Peninsula and their story is typical of that ill-fated campaign. Having been severely mauled in the initial assault, they took part in the Suvla Bay assault on August 21. On January 8, 1916 the battalion was eventually withdrawn from the Dardanelles. The casualty calculations come out at the horrendous total of 100 percent. Ivor survived Gallipoli and was sent to Egypt where he become severely ill due to dysentery contracted at the Dardenelles and died at Bangour Hospital, Alexandria 19/4/1917. Aged 21. He is buried in the Kantara War Memorial Cemetery in Egypt.

Private William Darling (No.554,1st/4th Bn.,KOSB): William was born in Melrose and worked as a baker. He enlisted with the KOSB and arrived in Gallipoli in June 1915. On July 12, 1915 the British made a final attempt to breakthrough the Turkish lines at Helles, Gallipoli Peninsula. The 1/4th Kings Own Scottish Borderers were amongst the first two waves of attack, soon followed by 1/5th KOSB. During this attack the regiment suffered a shocking 805 casualties, marking July 12, 1915 as ‘one of the darkest days in the history of the Scottish Borders’. William Darling was amongst those killed on 12/07/1915 He is remembered on the Helles Memorial which stands on the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey.

Private John Gibb (No. 235126 1st/10th Bn., Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)): John lived in Darnick, Melrose and prior to the War he worked as a gardener. He survived the Gallipoli Campaign with the KOSB and was later sent to Europe and fought in the 3rd Battle of Ypres, where he was wounded by a bullet which lodged near his heart. John died from his wounds at 32 Casualty Clearing Station, France on 5/8/1917. Aged 19. He is buried in Bradhoek New Military Cemetery, Ypres, France.

Private John Gill (No.15093 9th Bn., Worcestershire Regt. & KOSB): John was born and lived in Newstead, Melrose and was a former captain of Melrose Rugby football Club before moving to London. He was a key member of the Melrose team which won the 1910-1911 Borders Championship. John had already served in the Boer War and decided to enlist with the KOSB at the start of WW1, where he was badly wounded during a battle for Hill 60 but recovered from his wounds. He was later sent to Mesopotamia where he died of wounds, taking part in the fight for Kut 6/4/1916. He is remembered on the Basra Memorial, Iraq.

Private James Mcvittie (No. 12352, 6th Bn,.KOSB): James was from Dingleton, Melrose and worked as a Butcher at Bunyon’s and Sons. On September 25 the allied forces launched a massive attack known as the Battle of Loos. The 6th Kings Own Scottish Borders were amongst the initial assault. On the first day of the attack the fierceness of the fighting was such that only 2,000 of the 8,500 soldiers that died have a known marked grave. James went missing on that day. He is remembered on the Loos Memorial in the locality of Pas de Calais, France.

Private Thomas Scott (No.9605, Scots Gaurd. (Pioneer Section BEF)): Thomas was born in 1891 and lived in Gattonside, Melrose where he worked as a mason. Thomas survived the war, serving in Gallipoli and Europe. In November 1918 he was granted compassionate leave to be with his dying three year old daughter. On 11/11/18 (armistice day) his daughter died - 11 days later Private Thomas Scott died from the same disease. He is buried in Cocksburnspath Parish churchyard.

Private Bruce Stewart (No. 18154, 1th Bn., Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment)): Bruce lived in Melrose and served his apprenticeship before the war broke out. His parents received official word that he went missing in action in April 1917. A few months later he was reported as a prisoner of war. On the 13/6/1917 he died of dysentery in a German prisoner of war camp, aged 35. He is buried in the Niederzwehren Cemetery, Kassel Hessen, Germany.

Private Thomas Marten Wilson (No.20515, 8th Bn West Yorkshire Regiment & 256th Coy., Labour Corps):Thomas lived in Danielton Cottages, Melrose with his parents. He fought with the 8th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment before he was transferred to the Labour Corps. Thomas died aged 20 from wounds on 5/2/1919. He is buried in Cambrai East Military cemetery, Nord, France.

Private George Lawson Bunyan (No.202074, 1st Bn.KOSB): Before the war George worked as a Gardener in Melrose. He lied about his age and was only 17 years old when he enlisted. He joined the KOSB and served in Western Europe. George was killed in action 30/11/1917 at the battle of Cambrai. He is remembered on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval in the locality of Nord France.