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Commemorating highland division heroes of the Great War

11 November 2010

Remembrance Day events this weekend at Edinburgh Castle - home to The Scottish National War Memorial - commemorate the role of Scots soldiers of The Great War, and in particular the men of the 51st Highland Division.

The castle’s stunning Great Hall is the setting on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th  November, from 11am to 3pm, for a series of presentations by costumed interpreters focusing on the heroic deeds of the Division during World War I and the capture of Beaumont-Hamel in northern France on 13 November 1916 during the final stages of the Battle of the Somme.

In addition, on both days, experts will be on hand to advise visitors on how they can trace records of their own family’s involvement in the Great War by carrying out searches of archive materials and medal rolls.

Gareth Cheeseman of Historic Scotland’s Interpretation Unit says: “Our historians will be trying to able to help visitors to trace family members who fought in the 1914-18 war, not just with the army, but with other services such as the Navy and The Royal Flying Corps.  

“And our presentations on the 51st Highland Division provide a fascinating insight into the great contribution made by Scots soldiers in World War I.  We hope that families who come along will also take time to visit The National War Memorial to learn about and appreciate the debt our country owes to so many men and women from Scotland who gave their lives in conflict”.  

The Memorial, an imposing building in the castle’s Crown Square, was erected to commemorate those who died in conflict in the Great War and now also commemorates those who lost their lives in World War II and in other conflicts since 1945.

The Great War events are included in the price of admission to Edinburgh Castle.  Tickets can be purchased in advance through the castle’s website, which also provides full details of the attraction:


  • The architect of the 1914-18 Great War Memorial was Sir Robert Lorimer and the building was formally opened on 14 July 1927 by the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VIII). The building’s exterior is enriched with sculptures symbolising Courage, Peace, Justice and Mercy.  Above the entrance, a figure rising from a phoenix denotes the survival of the Spirit.

  • Inside the Memorial is the Hall of Honour.  Here the enormous contribution of Scotland’s twelve regiments and the other corps and services are recorded.  Beyond lies the Shrine and the steel casket containing a complete Roll of Honour of the Scottish dead. The figure of St Michael the Archangel soars overhead and the stained-glass windows and bronze friezes give vivid impressions of the Great War.

  • A chilling detail in the Memorial is the inclusion in one of the stained glass windows of the Shrine of a swastika.  This adorns the cloak of the horseman, Faithful and True (from Revelations) who ‘will defeat the nations and rule over them with a rod of iron’.  Hardly had the mortar set in the Memorial’s walls than this ancient symbol of good fortune began appearing as the insignia of a man who also sought to ‘defeat the nations and rule over them with a rod of iron’ – Adolf Hitler.

  • Edinburgh Castle is one of 345 outstanding historic properties and sites throughout the country in the care of Historic Scotland. These include some of Scotland’s leading tourism attractions and most important heritage sites.  Some of the most popular, in addition to Edinburgh Castle, include Stirling, St Andrews and Urquhart Castles, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, the Border Abbeys, and Skara Brae. For further details visit:

  • Historic Scotland’s Mission is: to safeguard Scotland’s historic environment and to promote its understanding and enjoyment.

For further information, interviews and images

Ellen Drummond Ferroni
0131 668 8685 / 07801 820757