School of History, Classics & Archaeology

Commemorating Scotland's War

A host of University-led events commemorating Scotland's contribution to the First World War has been unveiled.

The Scotland's War project is organised by Yvonne McEwen, Honorary Fellow, Centre for the Study of Modern Conflict, School of History, Clasics and Archaeology. The historian and alumna is working with a range of organisations including the National Library of Scotland, the Scottish Military Research Group, local schools and HistoryFest.

Marking the centenary of the start of the First World War next August, the project aims to honour the sacrifices of the Scottish men and women involved in the War 100 years ago.

Community projects

One of the Scotland's War initiatives will see pupils from Queensferry Community High School in West Lothian working with local groups to research and record the lives and stories behind the men buried in the 188 Commonwealth War graves in the local cemetery.

South Queensferry Library and the local history group are also taking part in this ambitious project.

Residents in nearby Linlithgow are also being encouraged to take part in another initiative to conduct research into various aspects of life on the Home Front.

The University's Centre for Canadian Studies will participate in a project to investigate the relationship between the Canadian Aboriginal people and the people of Scotland during the First World War.

Elsewhere, Professor Federica Pedriali from the University's Italo-Scotch Research Cluster will be part of a study to investigate the return to Italy of some 8,500 Italian men living in Scotland who wanted to fight for their country between 1915 and 1918.

Events involving the diaspora

A large number of Scots abroad returned home to Scotland during the war.

The military and social impact of the Scottish diaspora on the war will be examined by the Centre for the Study of Modern Conflict. It is an area that the team feel is often overlooked.

A programme of events examining their findings will coincide with an international conference and exhibition. Dates and venues are to be confirmed.

Digitising archives

Miss ER Bennett was recognised for her services in the Territorial Force Nursing Service during the war of 1914-1918.

As part of Scotland's War, the National Library of Scotland has also begun the process of digitising more than 60 Rolls of Honour for inclusion in the Scotland's War virtual archive.

Library staff will seek to ensure that any omissions in the Rolls will be rectified and any inaccuracies are corrected.

Art and poetry unveiled

The project will also feature an Art and Warfare Exhibitions Programme by artist Richard Demarco will take place in 2015.

It will include artwork by amateur artists who served in the British Expeditionary Force, Commonwealth and Dominions Forces, and Medical and Nursing Services.

The Scottish Poetry Library is also to produce a book of unpublished works written on the front line as part of the project.

The book is to be released in 2015 to mark the centenary of the publication of In Flanders Field, a poem written during the First World War by Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. The new publication will be accompanied by an exhibition.

Asian community shares experience

Scotland's War is also working with the Asian community throughout Scotland.

Some 74,000 of the 1.2m Indian soldiers who fought in the war lost their lives and many descendants of these men thought to be living in Scotland now.

The Glasgow Gurdwura, the Muslim Women's Association and the Pakistan Association will all take part in the Scotland's War Project.

"We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to Scotland's War. The number of organisations supporting the project ensures we will create a fitting legacy for the Scottish men and women involved in the First World War. All the initiatives are progressing well, and we look forward to further developing relationships with our partners to commemorate the War as the centenary unfolds".

Yvonne McEwenProject Director, Scotland's War