Beginning on 10 August 2014 and continuing throughout the following five years, events were held across Scotland to mark the centenary of World War I.

As well as the outbreak of war and Armistice Day, the commemorations observed the anniversaries of battles including 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.

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.

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


Scotland’s commemorative programme drew to a close in 2018 at the National War Museum with Poppies. Marking the centenary of the end of the Great War, Poppies will tell the remarkable story of how Canadian Scot John McCrae’s 1915 poem ‘In Flanders Field’ saw this delicate crimson wildflower becoming a world-wide symbol of remembrance.