Duke of Buccleuch joins panel set up to mark WWI centenary

Caption: 'Far Far From Ypres'music from WW1'Scots soldiers'The Great War'World War One
Caption: 'Far Far From Ypres'music from WW1'Scots soldiers'The Great War'World War One

THE Duke of Buccleuch has been named as a member of a 12-strong panel of experts from across Scottish society set up to look at how Scotland should mark next year’s 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.

As well as the duke, whose Borders home is at Bowhill outside Selkirk, the Scottish Commemorations Panel includes a mix of professionals from the military and veterans’ communities, community leaders, clergy, media, historians and education specialists.

Among them are former newspaper editor Magnus Linklater and historians Trevor Royle and Professor Sir Hew Strachan.

The panel chair will be former army chaplain Norman Drummond, and will work to recommend a preferred approach for Scotland’s commemorations. They will also 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 advise the panel.

The panel’s first meeting is in Edinburgh today and is expected to consider how they can best support the development of the commemorative programme, and which key dates or themes could feature within it.

Fiona Hyslop, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, said panel members had an an exceptional range of skills, experience and expertise across many fields.

“Their wisdom and advice will be extremely helpful in guiding Scotland’s approach to commemorations sensitively over the period to 2019 and ensuring that Scotland’s commemorative plans are relevant to all parts of society,” she said.

Mr Drummond added: “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 the First World War and its aftermath to contemporary life here in Scotland and beyond. This view is shared by the panel.

“Within the panel, Commodore Charles Stevenson, Lieutenant General Sir Alistair Irwin and Group Captain Bob Kemp, from the Tri-Service Veterans community, will help to determine how best to recognise the sacrifice of Scotland’s servicemen and women and the appropriate commemoration of the battles in which Scotland played a key role.

“I am joined from the world of education by Dr Louise Richardson, principal of St Andrews University, and by Dr Bill Maxwell, chief executive of Education Scotland.

“Both will help to ensure that the commemorative programme takes full account of how our pupils, students and teachers learn about the First World War.

“We shall also consult our local authorities. In this regard, the Duke of Buccleuch, in addition to his valuable links with the network of lord lieutenants across Scotland, will ensure that the train crash at Quintinshill near Gretna on May 22, 1915 – with the loss of 214 officers and men of the 7th Battalion Royal Scots Territorial Force – will be suitably commemorated.

“Professor Sir Hew Strachan and Trevor Royle will set the context of our commemorations and ensure we maintain historical accuracy and perspective in all that we do.

“Brigadier David Allfrey, producer and chief executive of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Maggie Cunningham, chairman of BBC Alba, and Magnus Linklater, former editor of the Scotsman and the Times Scotland, are from the arts and broadcasting fields and will undoubtedly inject creativity into our collective thinking.

“Ron Ferguson, as a former leader of the Iona Community and minister of St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, will help us to consider how to commemorate the momentous role that Orkney played during the war and in particular within the Battle of Jutland in 1916.

“The panel is committed to developing a programme of which Scotland can be rightly proud.”