Officers' Training Corps lead university remembrance event
Remembrance Sunday parade takes place at Kings' College.
By Anttoni James Numminen
Photo courtesy of Anttoni James Numminen
With the Union Flag flying over the Old Aberdeen Campus on a brisk Sunday morning, the University’s Remembrance Sunday event started around 11 am with a service in the Kings’ College (KC) chapel.
Following the service which included a sermon by Rev Squadron Leader Nicholas Hanover from neighbouring RAF Lossiemouth, the event on 14.11.21 proceeded to a military parade outside Kings’ College.
The parade was organised by the Aberdeen University Officers’ Training Corps (AUOTC) and their Pipes and Drums section. It saw their members doing drill to the sound of bagpipes and drums with a small crowd of students and passers-by watching them.
Speaking to The Gaudie, Milán Dávida who is a junior under-officer in the AUOTC, said the Remembrance parade was a long-standing tradition and the “unit” had recruited its members from the university “since 1912 and we had some officers who went off to World War I, and we honour them by having this whole event with Scottish traditions such as drums and pipes”
Dávida, who describes his role in the Corps as “training the unit’s youngest and newest recruits” said the main purpose of Remembrance included “the training aspect for people who have done drill” as well as “the ceremonial aspect it serves, to honour those who have fought previously and worn our tartan.”
Attending the event were veterans, university staff, the student choir, as well as military and civil dignitaries.
Though this was the first time that a Remembrance Sunday event had been held on this scale since the pandemic, it was not matched in size by Aberdeen City’s Remembrance Sunday event which had hundreds of participants and viewers.
Customarily the Principal of the University also attends the campus Remembrance event, but Prof George Boyne was not to be seen on the day.
In a statement, the University said that Principal Boyne “was unable to attend this year’s service due to a covid booster vaccination”.
Also attending the event was Benjamin Koltai, who said: “I think the whole aspect of being peaceful and not waging any war is nice, and the singing and the choir were astonishing.”
In recent years, there has been criticism of the AUOTC’s participation in campus activities, with a student council debate about the issue making national headlines last year.
The Gaudie asked the University for a comment on the military’s role on campus and the purpose of Remembrance.
A spokesperson responded by saying: “Remembrance Sunday is an opportunity for reflection on the human cost of conflict and the importance of protecting the vulnerable. The University commemorates this day every year with our Remembrance Service at King’s College Chapel.”