On Sunday morning, Director of Football Craig Levein unveiled the magnificent 1914 Memorial Trust Bronze on the concourse above the Memorial Garden at Tynecastle.
Designed and co-ordinated by the 1914 Memorial Trust Committee, whose Chairman Gordon Angus spoke on Sunday, and purchased entirely by fans of Hearts and other clubs donations, the stunning monument is a tribute to the Hearts team of November 1914; a very special group of young men who wore the famous maroon.
Although the statue depicts a proud young man in his Royal Scots uniform, ready for the fight in France, he also carries something close to his heart, something very special to us all; his football.
It is important to note that this is not a war memorial, we already have an iconic and appropriate war memorial at Haymarket, “The Hearts War Memorial”.
Cast in the city’s own Powderhall Foundry, and sculpted by Brian Castor, the 1914 Memorial Trust bronze will stand as a permanent and fitting reminder of a Hearts team who were prepared to give their all on the field and, most importantly, off the field too.
Speaking after the ceremony, Craig Levein said: “It’s a real credit to the 1914 Committee and the club that this tribute will stand for generations to remind and inspire supporters young and old. I am sure that when the fans see it for the first time on Thursday they will be as impressed as I am today.”
The original smaller sculpture, also cast in bronze, will feature in the soon to be opened club museum under three simple words…The Bravest Team.
An accompanying message reads, “if glory for football clubs is measured by trophies won, then the 1914/15 season would not merit a mention for Hearts. As we now know however…this was a time when the club achieved glory of a more profound order."
On Sunday, club legend John Robertson read a statement from the Board of Directors of the Club in 1914. It was particularly poignant to hear it just a few days before the centenary of the battle of the Somme, where three proud young Hearts players, Duncan Currie, Ernie Ellis and Henry Wattie were killed on the first day of the battle. They were not the last of the team to pay the ultimate price.