Dool and wae for the order, sent our lads to the border
This day, for a moment, let us think on all those Jocks and Dands, Antons and Hobs, Robins and Jacks and Edmunds Olivers and Johns, who lay still and dead on Flodden’s field – and estimated 10 000 Scottish dead in around 2 ½-3 hours, and thousands more on the English side.
This would have been the day when the full horror began to unleash itself upon the Scottish Border, when the fathers and the brothers and the sons did not come home, when Fletcher had made his exhausted, distressed way back to Selkirk – the only man to return, so the story has it.
Of those others, stumbling home or marching in order, there would be combatants carrying hurts and sores which would cause them to succumb days or weeks later – slowly killed as crushed muscles and fractured bones leached toxins and cellular content into the bloodstream and slowly killed them: no antibiotics, no cutting-edge research, to help these soldiers.
This would have been the day that the decapitation of Scotland’s nobility, royal house and power base was becoming brutally obvious. The aftermath of Flodden can be said to be the moment when Scotland’s stance in Europe undertook a seismic shift, but let us think on all those families and lovers and friends who had only started their grieving today. It would not be until the mechanised slaughter of the Somme that so many soldiers died in such a small amount of time.