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Friday June 28 2019

Looking Back: The Queen Mother at the Scots Kirk in Rome

Published in June 1959

A notable event recently in the history of the Scots congregation in Rome (minister, the Rev. A. J. Maclean) was the unveiling of a memorial font and lectern to the memory of the Scots soldiers who gave their lives in the Italian and Sicilian campaigns by the Queen Mother. The Rev. T. N. Fraser, Assistant Chaplain-General, Scottish Command, dedicated the gifts.

In this small church of St. Andrew, nearly a century old, now redecorated in a simplicity of blue and white, the most interesting feature is the old pulpit used in the first Scots Kirk near the Flaminian Way and one thinks of the origin of this congregation dating back to 1846. The first minister, the Rev. William Laughton of Greenock, was appointed in 1862, and the congregation began, as the Apostles began, in a hired room at 18 Trinita De Monti. In 1866, when the authorities declared that they were performing an illegal act by worshipping, the congregation moved to an upper room in an hotel, the Albergo del Popolo, outside the city wall, the worshippers arriving two by two to avoid detection.

The early church on the Flaminian Way, arising out of the rooms, proved too small for the growing international congregation which in 1885 erected the present building in its quiet palm-fringed garden in the Via XX Settembre.

The proposal to erect a memorial in this Church to the memory of all ranks of the Regiments of Scotland who gave their lives in Sicily and Italy in the Second World War came from Mrs. J. C. A. Whiteford, a Scots lady who lost her son at the Battle of Cassino.

An appeal was sent to all Scottish Regiments and Regimental Association, to Scottish Army Garrison Churches at home and abroad, and to interested individuals.

Messrs. Scott Morton of Edinburgh were responsible for the work.

The badges of twenty of the Regiments of Scotland are carved on the memorials.

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