Alumni Services

First World War remembered

As the centenary of the end of the First World War approaches, we highlight a public lecture and social media campaign to remember the fallen, as well as alumni involved in wider commemorative initiatives.

Still image from the film The Battle of the Somme showing a staged attack
Still from the British film "The Battle of the Somme".

On 11 November 1918, Germany signed an armistice with the Allied forces, ending a conflict that devastated countless lives and communities.

Some 8,000 members of the University (both students and alumni) served with the British, Dominion or Allied armed forces. Over 900 died. Five alumni spanning studies in law, medicine, arts and science were awarded the Victoria Cross, the nation’s highest award for military valour.

Public lecture - ‘How Did the Great War End?’

To mark the centenary, Professor Sir Hew Strachan will deliver a public lecture at the University on the theme of ‘How Did the Great War End?’

Sir Hew is Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews and was formerly Chichele Professor of the History of War at All Souls College, Oxford. He is one of the foremost historians of the First World War and has served on both the United Kingdom’s and Scotland’s national advisory panels for the centenary of the conflict.

The lecture will take place at 5.30pm on Monday 19 November 2018 in the Playfair Library Hall at Old College and will be followed by a drinks reception.

Register to attend the lecture

Twitter campaign to name the fallen

From 11 November, we will begin sharing the names of all 944 people listed in the University's Roll of the Fallen on our Twitter account. You can also follow the tweets by searching for the hashtag #UoEHonourRoll on Twitter.

Follow us on Twitter @EdinburghAlumni 

The Roll of the Fallen is contained in the Roll of Honour, published in 1921, which also includes the Record of War Service featuring an additional 7,000 University members.

University of Edinburgh Roll of Honour (external link)

Alumni in commemorative initiatives

Edinburgh alumni have been involved in national and international initiatives to commemorate the end of the war and efforts to improve our understanding of the conflict. We highlight a few examples here.

Armistice - Play4Peace - Concert for Cooperation

Alumnus Neil McLennan has been involved in organising a global Concert for Cooperation at 4pm CET on 11 November. Pop up concerts will take place across the world at the same time with everyone internationally playing 'Armistice', a new piece commissioned for this concert and scored on the Wilfred Owen violin by outstanding Scottish fiddler Thoren Ferguson. 

The bringing together of musicians, internationally in harmony to play a single piece of music will serve as a strong symbolic gesture of cooperation, peace and reconciliation 100 years after the First World War came to an end. 

Use the hashtags #iPlay4Peace #ArmisticeConcert and #Concert4Cooperation to find out more.

Registration link for the Edinburgh concert (external link)

Facebook page - Armistice: Play4Peace: A Concert4Cooperation (external link)

All the Hills and Vales Along

Sir James MacMillan CBE, one of Britain’s leading composers, has chosen five poems by war poet Charles Hamilton Sorley for the text to 'All the Hills and Vales Along', a major new oratorio written to commemorate the Armistice. It was co-commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra and 14-18 NOW, a five-year programme of arts experiences connecting people with the First World War. 

All the Hills and Vales Along (external link)

Impact on the University and Edinburgh College of Art

In early 2013, then-student Gillian McDonald, spent some time looking at selected items in the archives of the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh College of Art as part of an internship with the University’s Centre for Research Collections. She analysed how the First World War changed things on the ground.

Read Gillian’s blog on the Library’s Untold Stories blog