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POETRY OF WW1: REMEMBERING THE SOMME

It’s sometime in the 1920s and life in Scotland is going on just as normal – then something trips a memory, and it’s back ten years to the War… This is the scenario which is played out in our latest poem commemorating the Battle of the Somme, as poet JB Salmond recounts how his wartime memories would return to him during a mundane bus ride. He reflects on his comrades who lost their lives in the Battle of Flers-Courcelett, which was fought during the Somme 100 years this month.

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POETRY OF WW1: REMEMBERING THE SOMME

The second in our series of poems commemorating the Somme centenary is “War” by Jack Peterson, a Shetlander who was seriously wounded at the Battle of the Somme while serving with the Seaforth Highlanders. He survived the war and returned to Shetland, but his experiences from the war never left him, and fifty years later, he continued to recount the horrors in his work.

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PROFESSOR NORMAN DRUMMOND DELIVERS THE MOUNTBATTEN LECTURE 2016 AT EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY

Chair of the Scottish Commemorations Panel, Professor Norman Drummond CBE FRSE, was honoured to deliver The University of Edinburgh’s Mountbatten Lecture 2016 in April. Each year, an expert on defence-related matters is invited to speak to staff, students and the wider public, with previous speakers including astronaut Neil Armstrong and NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson. A transcript of Professor Drummond’s address follows.

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David Martin,Fotopress,Dundee
 Battle of Loos 100th anniversary events launched in Dundee.
Location,Memorial atop The Law overlooking Dundee.
PIC    children from SSPeter Pauls school and Dens Road Primary  Dundee wearing caps from the other Scots regiments that fought at Loos. 
Lto R.Eilis Hunt,Keir Rollo,Blair Johnstone,Sadie Hunt[all SS Peter & Paul school] and Abbie Forbes of Dens Road Primary.

THE GREAT WAR DUNDEE PROJECT

Great War Dundee is a partnership of local cultural, educational and commercial organisations formed to commemorate the First World War and its impact on Dundee. The project was recently awarded the Stephen Fry Award for Excellence in Public Engagement with Research 2016, in recognition of its outstanding achievements in improving awareness and understanding of the war’s impact on Dundee among a wider audience. Read our guest blog from the project to learn more about the important work being done to raise awareness of Dundee’s war effort. 

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What Have We Learned So Far?

As part of a recent Imperial War Museum event for the First World War Commemorations Partnership Group, Norman Drummond, Chair of the Scottish Commemorations Panel, delivered the speech ‘What have we learned so far?': Read more

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End of Year Reflections

Norman Drummond CBE FRSE – Chair, Scottish Commemorations Panel

As the opening commemorative year of the centenary of World War One draws to a close, one cannot but reflect with humility and gratitude at the number and quality of commemorative occasions and events which have taken place here in Scotland and across the United Kingdom and internationally as well.

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About the Poppy

Lieutenant General Sir Alistair Irwin KCB CBE – President of the Royal British Legion Scotland and Poppy Scotland

By the time of the Armistice on 11th November 1918 the poppy had already entered the iconography of the Great War, not least through the moving words of Colonel John Macrae’s poem In Flanders Fields: “In FlandersFields the poppies blow/between the crosses row on row/ that mark our place…”.  Now, 96 years on from the end of the War, the red poppy has firmly established itself as the symbol of remembrance. Scotland’s poppies are made in the Poppy Factory in Edinburgh by a dedicated team of ex-servicemen.  Each year they make an astonishing 5 million poppies and 10,000 wreaths.  The poppies that they produce are worn by so many of us both to demonstrate our own personal acts of remembrance and to record our own contributions, sometimes no more than £1 and sometimes much more, to the annual fund raising effort in November each year.

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A Moment of Quiet

Brigadier David Allfrey MBE – Chief Executive and Producer, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

From August 1914, out of sight and earshot of the civilian population, servicemen and women would have moved away from their ‘home base’ to the theatres of war where they had been assigned. For most, this would have been the first time abroad. Some would have travelled over many months to the ends of Empire while others would have been shipped by foot, train and ship across the English Channel to ports and railheads on the Continent. The conditions they endured on these journeys would have respected social position to a degree, and as practicality allowed, but the closer to the Front, the less differentiation would have been possible. Each man, regardless of social class and upbringing would have needed to come to terms with his new situation and deal with it appropriately. Unlikely friendships would have formed with special bonds created by tension and misfortune. This in itself would have tested the social fabric of the constituent parts of the Nation and set the conditions for much greater upheavals to come in the 1920s and 1930s. Age old certainties and ideas would be under scrutiny and test each and every day.

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