First World War Centenary

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  • Legion Scotland’s annual ANZAC Day Service at Edinburgh Castle
    Legion Scotland’s annual ANZAC Day Service at Edinburgh Castle
  • The Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle
    The Scottish National War Memorial commemorates the sacrifice of Scots in the First World War
  • The National War Musuem, Edinburgh Castle
    The National War Museum, Edinburgh Castle
  • The exhibits on display at the National War Museum at Edinburgh Castle
    Next of Kin at the National War Museum - the first in a trilogy of commemorative exhibitions by National Museums Scotland
  • The Scott Monument floodlit in red to mark Remembrance Sunday 2014
    The Scott Monument floodlit in red to mark Remembrance Sunday 2014
  • The Cenotaph at Glasgow City Chambers in George Square
    The Cenotaph at Glasgow City Chambers in George Square
  • Wild poppies in a field by North Berwick, East Lothian
    Learn the story of how the poppy became a world-wide symbol of remembrance at the National War Museum in 2018

From 10 August 2014 and throughout the following five years, events will be held across Scotland to mark the centenary of the First World War, a conflict which claimed many thousands of lives and changed the face of Scotland forever.

As well as the outbreak of war and Armistice Day, the commemoration will also observe the anniversaries of battles including Gallipoli, Loos, Jutland and Arras which have particular significance for Scotland, and other key dates including domestic tragedies such as the sinking of the HMS Iolaire and the Quintinshill rail disaster.

On 25 April The Royal British Legion Scotland (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, part of Legion Scotland’s annual ANZAC Day Service, the national day of remembrance to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli.

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.

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.

On 4 August, the day following the Closing Ceremony of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, Glasgow hosted the United Kingdom's First World War Centenary service for leaders of the Commonwealth. The service took place at Glasgow Cathedral and was followed by a wreath laying service at the city’s Cenotaph.

Scotland began its five-year commemoration on 10 August with a Drumhead Service – an improvised church service held on the front line during combat – at Edinburgh Castle with neatly piled drums draped in flags used in place of a religious altar. Following the service, military bands paraded down the Royal Mile to a replica Commonwealth graveyard at Holyrood Park where more than 100 headstones have been erected to represent the names recorded in the Rolls of Honour at the Scottish National War Memorial.

Learn more about the Scottish experience of the First World War at three landmark exhibitions staged in Edinburgh over the commemorative period. This first of these is Next of Kin which was unveiled at the National War Museum in April 2014 and is currently on a national tour.

This was followed by Common Cause: Commonwealth Scots and the Great War from 11 July – 12 October 2014 at the National Museum of Scotland which explored the impact of the conflict upon the Scottish diaspora.

The National War Museum will host the last in this series of commemorative exhibitions to mark the centenary of the end of the war in 2018. Entitled Poppies, it will reveal the remarkable story of how Canadian Scot John MacRae’s 1915 poem In Flanders Field led to this delicate crimson wildflower becoming a world-wide symbol of remembrance.

Alongside these official observance dates and major exhibitions, communities, attractions, festivals and organisations across the country will be holding their own special commemorative events, each offering their own unique perspective and memories of the Great War. 

Take a look at the event listings below and find out what’s happening in your area.

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4 results, currently showing 1 to 4
  1. Gradings


    Mike Taylor talks about second year of the First World War.


    9 Dec 2015
  2. Gradings


    Historian Dr Norman Watson gives a talk on the effects the First World War had on women's lives.


    9 Mar 2016
  3. Gradings


    An exhibition displaying images of the 43 men from Mennock and the surrounding area who signed up to fight during World War One.


    1 Jul 2015 to 20 Dec 2015
  4. Remembering The Great War


    Arts & Cultural



    Photographs, paintings and drawings marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.


    4 Aug 2015 to 29 May 2016

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