Saturday’s commemoration of the 1915 Gretna Rail Disaster here coincided with Memorial Day Weekend in the U.S.

Also referred to as the Quintinshill Rail Disaster, this collision of three trains was Britain’s worst railway disaster in terms of the number of people killed. The Leith-based 1:7th Battalion The Royal Scots (Royal Regiment), en route to battle, saw casualties totalling 216; there were 12 non-troop deaths.

WW100 Scotland distributed an event program for Saturday’s events, as well as a comprehensive program explaining the story and its aftermath, which included the soldiers going on to battle in Gallipoli.

We live a short walk from (the Port of) Leith, a community with a history that’s tied to the sea, and to Edinburgh — since 1920, anyway.

And so, on Saturday we went to Rosebank Cemetery, where family members, choirs, ministers, civil servants, troops on parade, and others gathered. There was a giant screen in a park across the street where the public participated/observed, too.

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Pictured: First Minister of Scotland and leader of the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon; the Rt. Hon. Lord Lieutenant and Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Donald Wilson; HRH The Princess Royal, Patron of the Royal Scots Association a.k.a. Anne, a.k.a. Prince Charles’ sister. Sorry, not sure who that is shaking hands with HRH The P.R.
None of these people knocked over that tombstone. E was watching closely.


Along the street from Leith to Rosebank Cemetery these stencils were applied by local school children, one stencil for each soldier who died, as detailed in this roster.

Read more “hyperlocal” and sometimes cheeky coverage here.


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