A POIGNANT letter from a Wallyford soldier written during the First World War will be shared publicly for the first time at a ceremony to mark Armistice Day next month.

At the service at the Crookston War Memorial in Inveresk Cemetery, Alister Hadden from Wallyford will read out the letter his uncle James Hadden wrote to his mother on the eve of battle.

Private Hadden, a soldier with the 8th Royal Scots, died in action in France on May 16, 1915, at the age of 22 and is remembered with honour on the country’s Le Touret Memorial.

The memorial commemorates more than 13,400 British soldiers who were killed in this sector of the Western Front from the beginning of October 1914 to the eve of the Battle of Loos in late September 1915 and who have no known grave.

In his last letter to his mother Alison (Young) at the family home in Forthview, Wallyford, Private Hadden wrote: “We are on the eve of a great battle and I don’t know where I may be tomorrow but don’t worry. I am willing to go for the cause of the old country and the folks at home.”

The full letter will be read out during the service on Saturday, November 11 – one of several tributes which will be made to the fallen.

Organised by Wallyford Community Council and the Friends of the Crookston War Memorial, the ceremony is held in memory of the soldiers from the Wallyford, Smeaton and Deantown area who lost their lives during the war of 1914-1918.

Mr Hadden said that James’ father John had died in 1908 and Alison, who passed away in 1932, is buried a short distance from the Crookston War Memorial which bears their son’s name.

Research into his uncle James, his father Archie’s brother, showed that his name had been spelt wrongly as Haddon on the Le Touret Memorial and the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle.

Mr Hadden said he went to see East Lothian Council’s research officer at the John Gray Centre in Haddington. He had a scrapbook which had been compiled by Royal Scots and showed many other soldiers from the battalions.

He said: “I was shown the photo of James Hadden and part article from his last letter to his mum, and I instantly knew it was the correct James Hadden as we, my brothers and sister, were all born at 43 Forthview, Wallyford.

“This led to having James Hadden’s name being corrected on panel four in Le Touret Cemetery and also in the role of honour book in Edinburgh Castle at the Scottish National War Memorial.

“This was also thanks to my cousins Jim McLeod, who is my dad’s sister Lizzie’s son, and Bunty McNeill, my dad’s brother David’s daughter. They both had various pieces of family documents and James Hadden’s birth certificate to allow confirmation of name. Then in 2011 I went out to Le Touret Military Cemetery in France to see the cemetery and the change of name.”