On 25 April, Legion Scotland, Scotland’s biggest membership veterans charity will host a commemorative event at Edinburgh Castle on the centenary of the start of the First World War’s Gallipoli Campaign.
The contribution of Scottish units involved in the campaign will be specially recognised in the Service, which is also Legion Scotland’s annual acknowledgement of ANZAC Day, the national day of remembrance to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli.
Two Veterans from the Kings Own Scottish Borders (KOSB) whose Grandfathers served at Gallipoli will honour their memory at the special service in Edinburgh Castle marking the 100th Anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign.
Retired Lieutenant Colonel Andy Middlemiss, who served 33 years in the Army, said the event will be an invaluable opportunity to join together with others and remember the thousands who died in the major battle.
Andy’s grandfather, George Whitson Middlemiss fought and survived Gallipoli and died in Settle, Yorkshire in 1934 where he was a local GP.
Grandfather of four Andy, 67, from Kinross, hopes people will turn out from across Scotland to support the Legion Scotland event to honour the memory of those who fought at Gallipoli.
He said, “The courage and sacrifice of the British, French and Colonial troops have to be remembered as well as the ANZAC Forces. On the first landing, the KOSB’s 1st Battalion lost 296 men in just 24 hours.”
The Gallipoli Campaign resulted in over 200,000 allied casualties, saw an allied naval and military operation attempt to force the Dardanelles to secure entry to the Black Sea as well as Turkey’s capital. Over 22,000 British troops were killed and over 10,000 perished from Australia and New Zealand.
The Commemoration Service at the Scottish National War Memorial will be broadcast live onto a large screen to Edinburgh Castle’s Esplanade where members of the public can take part.
Ian Domingo, from Dumfries, who served 22 years in the Kings Own Scottish Borderers will be going to pay respects to his grandfather Private Richard Domingo who was killed on 4th Jun 1915 at Gallipoli while serving with 1st Battalion KOSB.
Ian is going with Andy Middlemiss and a group of 35 including KOSB veterans, current soldiers from its successor battalion in the Royal Regiment of Scotland 1 SCOTS and school pupils, and staff, from Queen Victoria School to Turkey in May, to mark the 100th Anniversary of the battle. The group received funding to support the trip from Legion Scotland’s WWI Commemorations Fund.
Ian, a third generation Borderer whose father also served with 2KOSB in the Far East during WWII said, “I first found out about grandfather when I was waiting on my bride to be in St Mary’s Church, Hawick. His name is inscribed on the altar commemorating The Great War Dead. I’ve thought of the grandfather I never met more so over the last few years especially as we near the 100th anniversary of his death.”
Kevin Gray MM, CEO of Legion Scotland said, ”This is a significant milestone and we hope people from across the United Kingdom and overseas will join us in paying our respects at the Commemoration. The Gallipoli Campaign had a huge impact on Scotland and it’s important that we are able to give up a little bit of our time to remember and pay tribute to those that never returned home, or returned with the visible, and often invisible scars of war.”
The Commemorations event at the Castle will open at 7.45am with the Legion Scotland National Standards marching across the drawbridge. Wreaths will later be laid within the Scottish National War Memorial and on the Esplanade at a replica Stone of Remembrance.
The well known Australian folk singer, Eric Bogle’s ‘And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda’ will be played. The iconic music describes the experiences of a young Australian soldier at Gallipoli and has been regularly used to commemorate those who served in the conflict.
Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said:
“Throughout 2015 – the busiest year in Scotland’s five-year commemorations programme – we will continue to encourage people in all parts of Scotland to join with us to consider the impact of the First World War, which claimed the lives of more than 100,000 Scots and left many more injured or disabled.
“As we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing and ANZAC Day, we would encourage those living or visiting Scotland to come along to Edinburgh Castle to reflect on the huge sacrifice made by troops from here and overseas; the impact it had on those left at home and the way it has shaped our country today