The War to End All Wars: Government sets up panel to shape WW1 centenary commemoration in 2014

The Scottish Government has set up a panel of 12 people from across Scotland with expertise to bring to the shaping of the commemoration of the centenary of the start of World War 1 in 2014.

Called ‘The Scottish Commemorations Panel’ the 12 are a blend of professionals from the military and veterans communities, community leaders, clergy, media, historians and education specialists.

They are:

  • Brigadier David Allfrey MBE
  • The Duke of Buccleuch
  • Maggie Cunningham
  • Reverend Ron Ferguson
  • Lieutenant General Sir Alistair Irwin KCB CBE
  • Group Captain Bob Kemp, CBE QVRM AE DL
  • Magnus Linklater CBE
  • Dr Bill Maxwell, FRSA
  • Professor Louise Richardson
  • Trevor Royle FRSE
  • Commodore Charles Stevenson
  • Professor Sir Hew Strachan

The Chair of the panel is former Army Chaplain, Norman Drummond and its remit is to recommend a preferred approach for Scotland’s commemorations of the forthcoming centenary – and to oversee the delivery of the programme.

The current Tri-Service Heads in Scotland, Rear Admiral Chris Hockley, Major General Nick Eeles and Air Commodore Gerry Mayhew, will provide additional advisory support to the Panel.

The Panel’s first meeting will take place in Edinburgh in the coming week,  on Thursday 14th March, to lay down the foundation of its thinking and programme development.

The tightrope to be walked

It is to be hoped, given that the centenary of World War 1 falls in the year of the independence referendum, that this is not presented as Scotland’s war, overly bedecked in tartan for narrow political ends.

This was almost everyone’s war and while we were a part of it, we must respect the enormity of the entire event, celebrating and grieving for the bonding of that common cause and the waste of it.

War on this scale engages and requires the national solidarity that gets a country through it, one way or the other, in victory or defeat. The magnitude of the carnage of that war was so huge that it is beyond real grasp.

The truth of that war is also, as anything human must be, complex and various.

The initial rush to enlist in the British forces was not motivated solely by patriotism but also by immediate need. Surging inflation in the early years of the 20th century had brought widespread hardship, seeing Scots and others driven to enlist for the certainty of regular food and wages.

Ten Scottish regiments were involved, contributing together 22, or 14%, of the 157 battalions of the British Expeditionary force. Of the estimated 908,351 deaths amongst the British Empire force – this was a war in which the empire and not just Britain, was involved – around 100,000, or 11% were from the Scots battalions. Britain itself is thought to have seen around 745,000 of its forces killed, so Scots deaths in service made up 13.4% of that total internal loss, with 11% of the population of the day.

Stories of comradeship in the dreadful, sodden and rat infested trenches and of the Christmas truce with its impromptu football game between the enemy forces ram home the humanity that somehow  transcends the worst that we can do to each other.

The big story the numbers tell

Beyond such stories, destruction on such a vast scale is, oddly, approachable best through that apparently most soulless of things – statistics. Numbers have a real place in the effort to represent and embrace the unimaginable.

It is not just the dead that are the losses of war, it is the missing, the injured and the irreparable that make up something closer to the full volume of the casualties.

Russia enlisted 12,ooo,ooo men. 76% of these – 9,150,000 men – were casualties.

The 2011 Scottish census shows that the the total number of men and women between the ages of 20 and 49 totals 2,177,000. This is 23.79% of the casualties suffered by Russia alone and almost exclusively of its enlisted menfolk  – so four times the volume of our most physically effective working age population of both genders today were lost to one gender of one of our allies in the first World War.

  • France took casualties of 73.3% of the 8,410,000 it enlisted.
  • British Empire casualties were 35.8% of the 8,904,467 enlisted.
  • Romania had a 71.4% casualty rate in the 750,000 strong force it assembled.
  • Serbia took a 46.8% casualty rate amongst its 707,343 force.
  • Germany saw 64.9% casualties amongst the 11,000,000 it raised.
  • Austro-Hungary took a horrific 90% casualty rate in its 7,800,000 strong force.
  • Turkey had 34.2% casualties amongst its 2,850,000 men.

Britain and its Allies lost over half of their combined forces – 52.3% – as casualties. Germany and its Allies lost 67.4% of their combined forces as casualties.

In total, on both sides, over 65 million went to war – beyond the emptying of the entire UK today; with over 8.5 million killed; 21.2 million wounded; and 7.75 million missing. This total number of casualties was 37.47 million – or 57.5% of all involved.

The smallest forces sent were those of Portugal at 100,000 and Montenegro at 50,000. The current ‘strategic revision’ of the British Army today will fall between these two at 80,000.

‘The war to end all wars’

This is a war unlike any other before or since, not only in the scale of the losses on both sides but, in the British home forces, in the nature and cost of Lord Kitchener’s  recruiting strategy.

His call for volunteer forces recruited from localities saw the formation of what were called ‘Pals’ battalions – men of all ages enlisting together from an area where they and their families were embedded, to fighting – and  largely to die – together.

In the almost 1,000 battalions raised in the first two years of this war, over 66% of them were locally raised ‘Pals’ units.

The most famous of these are:

  • on the British Mainland, the Accrington Pals – the 11th [Service] Battalion [Accrington] East Lancashire Regiment.
  • in Ireland, the Ulster Volunteer Force forming the 36th [Ulster] Division and supplying 13 more battalions to three existing regiments.
  • in Scotland, the 16th (2nd Edinburgh) (Service) Battalion of the Lothian Regiment Royal Scots, included the entire first and reserve team players of Heart of Midlothian Football Club, along with several of its boardroom and staff members and  a substantial number of its supporters.

The ‘Pals’ units illustrated the solidarity of community – and the unimaginable emotional, social and economic impacts on those communities when few of their menfolk returned.

Half of the Accrington Pals battalion had been recruited from Accrington and District, with most of the remainder raised in its neighbouring towns of Burnley, Chorley and Blackburn.

On 24th June,  the run up to the opening of the Battle of the Somme under a week later, the Accrington Pals were engaged in the battle for Serre which saw 584 casualties taken from their total of 720 within 20 minutes – 81%. As the news filtered through to Accrington, church bells tolled incessantly.

On the first day of the Battle of the Somme, the 36th [Ulster] Division at Ancre was the only Division to achieve its first day targets. Of the 9 Victoria Crosses awarded, 4 were to the 36th [Ulster] Division. But on that first day they took 5,104 casualties, 2,069 of them killed.

British casualties on the first day of the Somme are given as between 58,00 and 60,000, of which 33% were killed. To this day, this remains a record loss for a single day of battle.

The strength of the ‘Pals’ recruitment concept carried the dreadfully disproportionate losses suffered by the towns and villages from which these units had been raised. Lessons were learned from this and when Conscription as introduced in 1916, no further local units were sought or formed.

This was called ‘the war to end all wars’. It should have been but of course it wasn’t.

The philosopher, George Santayana, famously said: ‘ Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’

We must therefore hope that the commemorations which emerge from this panel are based on the understanding that the core purpose should be to renew the memory of just how numbing was the scale of human destruction this particular war created, in an attempt to prevent war as a means of settling disputes.

The members of The Scottish Commemorations Panel

Norman Drummond, who Chairs the Panel, says: ‘Scotland’s Commemorative Programme must provide opportunities for people of all ages to learn about the war in meaningful ways and so to enable them to explore the resonance of World War I and its aftermath to contemporary life here in Scotland and beyond. This view is shared by the Panel.’

Brief notes on the individual backgrounds they bring to this task are:

  • Brigadier David Allfrey MBE -  is Producer and Chief Executive of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and Events and Festivals Champion for the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA).
  • The Duke of Buccleuch – Captain General, The Queen’s Bodyguard for Scotland, Royal Company of Archers and Hon Colonel, 52nd Lowland 6th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland and formerly President of the National Trust for Scotland.
  • Maggie Cunningham – Chairman of BBC Alba and a Director of Sabhal Mor Ostaig.  Former Deputy Controller of BBC Scotland, Head of Radio Scotland and Secretary to the Broadcasting Council for Scotland.
  • Reverend Ron Ferguson – a former Leader of the Iona Community and Minister of St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, Ron is a columnist, author and playwright and lives in Orkney.
  • Lieutenant General Sir Alistair Irwin KCB CBE – his long career in the Army culminated in his appointment as Adjutant General, the Army Board member responsible for all personnel matters.  Since leaving the Army he has been closely involved with veterans affairs in Scotland. Most relevant in the context of the Great War commemorations he is President both of the Royal British Legion Scotland and Poppy Scotland.  He has been a Commissioner of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission  since 2005 and is currently its Vice Chairman.
  • Group Captain Bob Kemp, CBE, QVRM, AE, D – a former Royal Air Force aviator, the Inspector of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force and an Industrialist, currently Director Scotland, Northern Ireland and Northern England of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.
  • Magnus Linklater CBE – who has held a number of senior editorships on newspapers in London and Scotland, including the Evening Standard, Sunday Times, Observer and London Daily News. He has been Editor of The Scotsman, and columnist and Scotland Editor of The Times. A former Chairman of the Scottish Arts Council, he is the author of several books on current affairs and Scottish history.
  • Dr Bill Maxwell, FRSA – appointed as Chief Executive of Education Scotland in May 2011.  Education Scotland has been established as a new style of integrated improvement agency, supporting quality and improvement in Scottish Education.  Bill previously held the post of Senior Chief Inspector of Education in Scotland and, prior to that, Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales.
  • Professor Louise Richardson – was appointed Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of St Andrews after a 20 year career at Harvard University. A political scientist by training, she has written and taught extensively on the subject of political violence.
  • Trevor Royle FRSE – author of more than 30 books on the subject of war and empire including “Flowers of the Forest: Scotland and the First World War (2006)”. Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Honorary Fellow in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh.
  • Commodore Charles Stevenson CBE – served in the Royal Navy in Destroyers and Aircraft Carriers. A former Director of Naval Surveying, Oceanography and Meteorology at the Ministry of Defence he completed his service as the Naval Regional Commander, Scotland and Northern Ireland.  He now runs his own Company as well as being an Ambassador for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
  • Professor Sir Hew Strachan – Chichele Professor of the History of War, Oxford University; Commonwealth War Graves Commissioner; Trustee of the Imperial War Museum; member of the UK National First World War Committee.
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30 Responses to The War to End All Wars: Government sets up panel to shape WW1 centenary commemoration in 2014

  1. Pingback: The War to End All Wars: Government sets up panel to shape WW1 centenary …

  2. One of the most striking features of Scottish Government appointments since 2007 is the absence of a nationalist bias.

    This commendable and brave policy is continued with the appointment of the panel to commemorate the start of World War 1 some of whose members are openly Unionist .

    Can that be said of the Westminster appointed panel?

    No doubt FA will investigate.

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  3. Graeme, this is about honouring millions of our war dead. There are still relatives alive today who will have lost loved ones in that horrific part of our history.

    Politics should not be brought into this.

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    • There are still relatives alive today whose soldier ancestors did survive the Great War.

      I’m one. My dad was a Corporal in the West Yorkshire Regiment. He was totally deafened in one ear by the shell blast that also scarred him for life with severe shrapnel burns to his leg. That injury got him shipped back to Blighty until he was deemed fit enough to be sent back to the Front.

      He was one of the very, very lucky ones who survived. His younger brother, aged only 19, did not.

      Let’s hope all these BigWigs on the Scottish Commemorations Panel have seen the film “Oh What a Lovely War”:

      and have read John Harris’s “Covenant with Death” about a West Yorkshire “Pals” Regiment. Out of print, regrettably, but second-hand copies available by Googling.

      Next time you’re out and about, stop and look at the War Memorials at any church you pass. The loss of men from small villages was just unimaginable.

      Whoever we are, wherever we were born, we’re all the children of that conflict.

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      • I share your awareness of the potency of the War Memorials – the names speak of the locality, the numbers often of the same name and family, and the youthfulness of so many of those remembered tell stories that will never be written but are understood by those who stand and look and think.

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        • Kilbrandon Parish War Memorial:
          Brown , Donald , Corporal , Machine Gun Corps
          Brown , John , Private , 1/6th Bn Royal Highlanders (Black Watch)
          Bruce , John , Private , 9th (Highland) Bn Highland Light Infantry
          Cameron , Hugh , Private , 9th Bn Scottish Rifles
          Cameron , Sam , Sergeant MM , 8th Bn Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
          Campbell , Archibald , Private , 5th Bn Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders
          Campbell , John , Private , 9th Bn Scottish Rifles
          Campbell , Robert , Private , 1st Bn Seaforth Highlanders
          Campbell , Neil , 2nd Officer OBE , H.M.S ‘Sonia’
          Craig , Peter , Farrier Sergeant Major , Scottish Horse
          Dewar , John , Sergeant , 8th Bn Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
          Douglas , Archibald , Lance Corporal , 14th (London Scottish) Bn The London Regiment
          Livingston , Alexander , Private , 10th Bn Royal Highlanders (Black Watch)
          Livingston , Daniel , Corporal , 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles
          Livingston , John , Private , 5th Gordon Highlanders
          Livingstone , John , Private , 14th (London Scottish) Bn The London Regiment
          Livingston , John , Private , 72nd Bn Canadian Expeditionary Force
          Livingston , Kenneth , Sapper , 51st (Highland) Division Signals, Royal Engineers
          MacColl , Robert S , Private , 25th Bn Australian Infantry Force
          MacDiarmid , Angus , Sergeant , Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)
          MacDonald , Archibald , Lance Corporal , 43rd Bn Canadian Expeditionary Force
          MacDougall , Archibald , Private , 5th Bn Scottish Rifles
          MacDougall , Peter , Private , 2nd Bn Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
          MacDougall , Robert , Private , 15th Bn Royal Scots
          MacDougall , Donald , Wireless Operator , Mercantile Marine ‘Saint Barchan’
          MacFadyen , Peter , Deck Hand , Royal Naval Reserve S.S. ‘Donegal’
          MacInnes , Allan , Lance Corporal , 7th Bn Royal Scots Fusiliers
          MacInnes , Archibald , Corporal , 7th Bn Royal Highlanders (Black Watch)
          MacInnes , Edward , Lance Corporal , 7th Bn Royal Scots Fusiliers
          MacInnes , James , Private , 47th Bn Canadian Expeditionary Force
          MacIntyre , P , Lieutenant , Botha’s Horse
          MacIntyre , John , Captain , Mercantile Marine
          MacKay , Donald , Corporal , 11th Bn Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
          MacKay , Donald B , Private , 5th Bn Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders
          MacLean , Hugh , Private , New Zealand Rifle Brigade
          May , Archibald , Corporal , 10th Bn Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
          May , David , Gunner , Royal Garrison Artillery
          Miller , George , Seaman , Royal Naval Reserve S.S. ‘Kumeril’
          Newton , James , Private , Army Service Corps

          Thirty-nine men from this small place: some of them coming back to enlist from Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

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          • This is one of the most complex memorials I have seen. It’s the inclusion of men from the New Zealand Rifle Brigade; the Canadian Expeditionary Force; the Canadian Mounted Rifles; the Australian Infantry Force; and Botha’s Horse, which I’d never heard of until now [thank you] and have just found out that this was arguably the most obscure of the units in the Sub-Saharan campaign in Africa in WW1. I’ve found a post on the Great War Forum which says: ‘What I have gathered suggests they were commanded by a brother of General Louis Botha and despite being led by a Boer the unit, from soldiers’ names I have come across, appears to have been British. They serve alongside but are not one of the Boer Commandoes in General Myburgh’s 3rd Mounted Brigade Right Wing. Working from figures in the Official History their strength was probably around 200 men.’
            So these men came back to Kilbrandon to enlist from this spectrum of the dispora? How did this work?
            It’s rare to see such a huge variety in service in a single memorial. Here you have Royal Navy, Merchant Navy, Scottish Horse, Botha’s Natal Horse, Mounted forces… and such a wide rage of battalions and regiments.

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      • I share your awareness of the potency of the War Memorials – the names speak of the locality, the numbers often of the same name and family, and the youthfulness of so many of those remembered tell stories that will never be written but are understood by those who stand and look and think.

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  4. Crazy She-Bat

    It was the politics of the European Crown Heads which caused the War; and the incompetence of the politicians of the day which prepared the ground for the next one.

    If the UK Government had wanted to avoid the politics it could have left it to the Royal British Legion and Veteran Groups to do the arranging as they have done so in the past.

    Like many I have relatives who suffered greatly in both Wars.

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  5. “It is to be hoped, given that the centenary of World War 1 falls in the year of the independence referendum, that this is not presented as Scotland’s war, overly bedecked in tartan for narrow political ends”

    Just for a bit of balance -

    It is to be hoped, given that the centenary of World War 1 falls in the year of the independence referendum, that this is not presented as an oportunity to galvanise support for the union overly bedecked in union jacks for narrow political ends

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  6. Mr McCormack as you say it was your relatives that suffered in both wars,perhaps you should consider honouring them for their sacrifice. You apparantly did not suffer!

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  7. It’s the end of teh war that killed millions that should be remembered, not the start of it

    This westminster led jamboree has all the signs of heading for some Brit-Nat love-in

    Hopefully our Scottish Government can keep teh lid on teh excesses of the expected westminster jingoism

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  8. I have to admit I do find the commemoration of the start of a war a little odd and I would question the motives and reasoning behind that.

    Also, unless I am missing something, why is there references to Westminster and the UK government in comments about what this should and shouldn’t be. It doesn’t appear to have anything to do with them – it is a SG initiative. (unless this is part of a larger exercise that I am unaware of).

    My general sentiment, aside from the start of the war, is to be in agreement with CSB. Turning an issue like this into another independence support/bashing thread is a little cheap and unseemly.

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    • It was the Westminster Government who decided on “celebrating” (their words) the start of WW1

      Why on earth anyone would want to celebrate the start of that slaughter is beyond me

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      • FAir enough Sam – now that I am home I have done a bit of googling and discovered this is a David Cameron initiative at which he is throwing a staggering £50m. Totally missed this in the news when it was announced.

        That said the £50m isn’t just to ‘celebrate’ the start of the war. It is to fund a number of other commemorations commemorations including Armistice Day and other major battles. It will also fund an upgrade to the Imperial War Museum and secondary school projects to explore WWI and its consequences.

        I really just provide the additonal things it is going to fund to ensure the story reflected here is balanced however my predominant reaction is similar to yours in that I see no justification for commemorating the start of the war.

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  9. The assassination in Sarajevo that started World War 1 needs no commemoration – just a few years ago we all participated (however indirectly) in the collective European funk that saw that name rise again, with the people of Sarajevo thrown to the wolves, and the Bosnian corpse dismembered, while Europe did little more than ‘observe’.
    What happened revived memories of the Nazi atrocities of the second world war, let alone the slaughter of the first, and most people in this country were appalled – witness, for example, the support of the ‘Bosnia Shop’ in Lochgilphead – but it took the Americans to finally get to grips with the aggressors and bring the foul nightmare to an end. A repeat, in Kosovo, was brought to a halt more rapidly, although the wounds are still bleeding.
    Do we really need for anyone to make a big thing of the start of WW1? – when the rising slaughter and atrocities in Syria, let alone parts of Africa, show that lessons aren’t really learned, however much we’d like to think they are.

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  10. I agree with previous posters that things would have been better left to the RBL and veterans; that ‘celebration’ is completely out of order; and that the start of the war is absolutely not the most appropriate date to commemorate. Better perhaps the Battle of the Somme in 1916, when so many hundreds of thousands of men died, or the end of the war when the slaughter was finally over. Local commemorations seem to me to be more important than any national hoohah, with the men remembered in the towns and villages where they grew up or lived. If we don’t remember them then there’s no hope at all of learning any lessons (IMHO).
    For Newsroom: Young men emigrated in search of better lives, then joined up in their new country. To take a couple from the Kilbrandon War Memorial, Daniel Livingston’s records list him as Canadian and Alexander Livingston’s list him as British. They were brothers – both the sons of John and Ann McGilvray Livingston of Balvicar, Oban.

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    • Many thanks for the information on the Livingston brothers. The fact that they are together back home after both died in this war is simultaneously satisfactory and very poignant

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  11. I totally agree that “celebration” is a completely inappropriate word to describe this, however if it came from David Cameron, I can’t say I’m surprised as the man is buffoon.

    And political affiliation mattered not on the battlefield, neither did colour, race or religion. I just think it in bad taste to hijack this article about such tragedy, to play the blame game. I don’t remember the war starting because of the Tories and I am positive it wasn’t Mike Russell’s fault either.

    I absolutely think that the war itself should be remembered, memorials restored and children in schools to be educated in the history and atrocities that took place in the hope that we never have to face this kind of horror ever again.

    As they say “Lest we forget”.

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    • Because as I mentioned before, it will be a Brit-Nat festival of jingoism and arrogance against johnny foreigner

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  12. As Mr Bogle said:

    “And I can’t help but wonder oh Willie McBride
    Do all those who lie here know why they died?
    Did you really believe them when they told you the cause?
    Did you really believe that this war would end wars?
    Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame
    The killing and dying it was all done in vain
    Oh Willie McBride it all happened again
    And again, and again, and again, and again”

    A great many lives were lost needlessly as three first cousins fought over Europe. The ordinary people who fought should be remembered, as but so should the futility of it all.

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    • Took the words off my keyboard MAML? Song titled “No man’s Land” by Eric Bogle , several covers as “Greenfields of France” or “Willie Mc Bride” . He wrote the song as a young man touring in France having visited a war graveyard.In his own words “It is of course a song about the futility and waste of war and should be self explanatory to anyone who listens to it” A beautifully poignant song,no politics or religion as such, well worth a listen

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  13. Just thought I would share this, given the Argyll link that most will already know.

    My great-grandfather fought in the Somme, he had been working as a joiner in Chicago and came back to enlist. He wrote an fascinating short account (never published I believe) he titled ‘A Night on the Somme’. It recalls a night when he was on patrol and came across a stretcher party bearing the body of Captain John Lauder.

    Two years ago, my mother (his grand daughter) and I took a trip round France with our first stop being the Somme. Using the very same account, and without any maps, we found the area he was writing about, and the grave of Captain John Lauder, perfectly tended, in Ovillers Military Cemetery.

    Until we made that trip, I never really understood the scale and impact of the war, and it’s devastation.

    The following year we drove out to Bosnia and Sarajevo. We visited the bridge where the Archduke was shot. Again, until that visit, I never really understood how the war started.

    For me, this commemoration is important for so many reasons and should be unashamedly British – these were times when we truly were all ‘in it together’ and that is something to be proud of. We should be casting aside what in comparison are petty politics and squabbling and remembering, educating and learning our lessons from the past.

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    • Jaimie – I struggle to comprehend why it’s “unashamedly British” or even “we were truly all in it together”

      This is abject rubbish and besmirches the memoriee of all those folks who lost their lives on all sides.

      Is it “unashamedley British” that thousands (on oour side) lost their lives to gain a few yards of mud, that they were lions led by donkeys?

      Is it unashamedley Brirtish that jingoism and poverty carried these poor souls off to fight in a war that they had no understanding of, apart from “england expects….”

      Was it “unashamedley British” that the returning service men were treate like crap and not living in a “land fit for hereoes”?

      Was it “unashamedley British” that teh westminster government put tanks and troops on teh streets of Glasgow in 1919 to quell a suspected insurection, going as far as using non-Scottish troops as they couldn’t be trusted to turn the guns on their own countrymen?

      Thak god I’m not ” unashamedley British” if thats what it has got to offer

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      • I presume you are referring to Black Friday. If so then is it not actually true that it was mainly non Glaswegian troops rather than non-Scottish (granted there was also some English).

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  14. sam, I could dismiss your post as that of a very bitter person, but that would be unfair.

    Maybe you could enlighten me as to just how being part of this United Kingdom has been such a bad thing for you personally? I’ve done the same thing and can honestly say there is nothing in my life that I can directly, singly or fairly blame on being part of this United Kingdom.

    I’m making an assumption you were not alive in 1919 (I may be wrong, after all I have a friend who was alive at that time, although she would not remember much of such an incident). Were you in WW2? Or an ex-serviceman?

    There all to often appears to be a lot of faux anger – but I wouldn’t want to be presumptious and say that your anger is not really your own.

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    • The anger not faux – I would assume then that your ignorance is not faux either or not realy your own

      See how such stupid statements can cut both ways?

      Whither I was a serviceman or not, or in WWII or not is neither here nor there either.

      So I take it you pay no attention to any of the evil visited upon society worlwide by the UK over the years, as you’re “unashamedley British” were everything is jolly hockeysticks and johnny-foreigner is evil incarnate and not quite good enough.

      You may be one of those “my country right or wrong types” but don’t assume everyone else is

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  15. I find it hard to see why we are going to ‘celebrate’ the outbreak of the most pointless, futile and destructive conflict in human history.

    Anyone who seeks to make political capital out of it should be ashamed of themselves. It is a dark stain on British history, with only the common man – Scots, English, Welsh or Irish, it matters not, distinguishing themselves in innumerable extraordinary acts of courage as they died innumerable pointless deaths for moronic generals and a dying social system.

    It is a time for sober reflection, not flag-waving.

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  16. Never thought I’d give a tick to a Webcraft post, but I just have!

    What’s so interesting about responses to this topic is the variety of emotions that have come out. Everything from personal stories, through the song about “the sorrow, the glory, the shame”; exploring the influence of national and international politics; anger about jingoism; sympathy when looking at named individuals who died; whether flags should be waved or whether we should just bow our heads quietly and remember.

    What is absolutely clear from all responses here is that, over the space of ONE HUNDRED YEARS, what happened in The Great War continues to resonate through the generations; from Jamie’s great-grandfather, to his granny, to him – and so on to his own children.
    It still matters. We still need to know. We still need to care. We still need to remember.
    And, obviously, from all the posts here, we do.

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