A TRANENT man has paid tribute to his great-uncle by building a memorial to him in his electric fireplace.

Patrick Smith, 75, of the town’s John Crescent, created the display to honour David Flockhart, who was just 17 when he died on Christmas Day 1914 during the First World War.

It includes a photo of his great-uncle, as well as the letter David wrote to his mother, Eliza Flockhart, telling her that he would be home for Christmas.

It is one of many memorials that Patrick has in his house, including the Memorial Plaque or ‘Dead Man’s Penny’, as he explained that the loss meant a lot to his family.

He told the Courier: “My grandmother had 14 in her family and she was next to David, just older.

“When David got killed, my granny was just married and my dad was only a few months old.

“My granny had eight sons and six daughters, and they all grew up without knowing their Uncle David.

“I just wanted to do something special for him.”

David Flockhart’s body was never recovered but his name and rank appears on the Ploegsteert Memorial in Belgium.

He served as a private in the Royal Scots 6th Battalion.

Patrick said: “Can you imagine nowadays, in 2018, a 17-year-old laddie going away? And they did it in droves. Just because they were kidded on.

“My great-grandmother Eliza never ever got over the loss of her son.”

Born in Dalkeith, David was the son of Eliza Flockhart of 69A Hercus Loan, Musselburgh.

He worked as a pony driver in the No. 12 pit of Niddrie and Benhar Coal Company.

Mr Smith is a local amateur historian who regularly films the Armistice Day services, as well as documenting any refurbishment of local memorials such as the drinking fountain in Musselburgh.

He has lived in Tranent with wife Ann for most of his life – apart from a five-year spell working in Canada during the 60s – and all of his large family stay in the local area.

Patrick and Ann have been married since September 13, 1963, but Patrick admits that his wife is “going crazy” with his collections: his First World War memorabilia, racing horse statues, model ships, and indigenous American artefacts.

“She’s getting kind of annoyed because I’m buying lots of coins with my pocket money,” he laughed.