The Saltcoats, Ardrossan and Stevenston (SAS) branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland are preparing for their annual HMS Dasher memorial service - and their own 100th birthday.

The Dasher service remembers those lost in the disaster when HMS Dasher mysteriously exploded and sank between Ardrossan and Brodick in 1943.

The event also remembers how the Ardrossan community came together to assist survivors and the dead coming ashore.

The memorial will launched on Friday, March 22, with a social get-together in the Ardrossan Indoor Bowling Club starting at 7pm. All are welcome.

Saturday morning starts with a trip on the Ardrossan to Brodick Ferry courtesy of CalMac. The ferry will pause above the site of HMS Dasher for a short service and allowing relatives to pay their respects, then on to Brodick for a further service allowing respects to be paid on Arran.

After returning to Ardrossan, a service will be held at Ardrossan Cemetery for those members of the Dasher crew interned there.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Legion prepare for annual HMS Dasher memorial service - and their 100th birthday

Saturday concludes with the ‘Dasher’ function, hosted in Stevenston Masonic with entertainment by ‘Gypsy’. Tickets are available from the SAS Branch Committee.

Sunday, March 23, will see the parade and service at the ‘Dasher Memorial’ starting at 11am on the shore pathway, South Crescent Road, Ardrossan.

Legion chairman Paul Coffey said: "A big thank you to Streetscene and the volunteers who ensure our memorial grounds are prepared for the forthcoming service. All are welcome to join us at any time."

Meanwhile, the Legion are progressing with the plans to mark their 100th anniversary in Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Stevenston.

Paul said: "The Three Towns in 1924 were a very different place back in 1924, with servicemen and ex-servicemen having experienced the horrors of WW1 and having no social dimension in which to talk and share experiences, which as we now know is important in the coping and mental healing process.

"So in Ardrossan Civic Centre, then called the ‘Castlecraigs’, on April 10, 1924, a branch of the British Legion was formed.

"Back to the present and on April 13, 2024 in the same Civic Centre, there will be a reception and function to help mark this important anniversary not just for the Legion but for the whole community.

"Starting at 7pm the entertainment will be provided by West of Scotland Military Wives Choir and DJ JJ Stone. Tickets are available from the branch committee at only £10 each with tables of six if required."

The function will be preceded by a parade starting at noon in Dockhead Street, Saltcoats followed by a non-denominational service in St Mary’s then light refreshments in the church hall.

Paul added: "The whole community in which we serve is welcome to join us on this ‘once in a lifetime’ event and on the parade and for the service.

"Don’t forget Legion membership is open to all so why not join us and feel a part of the history of the Legion.

"Most families if they look back through their history will find servicemen and women who ‘did their bit’ and probably, more recently, might be ‘doing their bit’ now."