A visitor to some of the many Commonwealth War Graves Cemeteries in northern France might be surprised to find that there are a significant number of headstones which have the Royal Naval anchor inscribed upon them. In addition to sailors they will also find Royal Marines buried alongside. This is not an anomaly, for not only are there hundreds of such headstones scattered across a number of cemeteries, the Arras Memorial to the Forgotten which lists the names of those who have no graves, has no less than 692 of those belonging to the men of the Royal Naval Division.
As we commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Arras, it is important we share the stories of some of the brave men who made the ultimate sacrifice. Two of these men were Corporal John Connell and Lance Sergeant Ian Gowan.
On Sunday 9 April, hundreds of people turned out to the WW100 Scotland Service at Faubourg d’Amiens Cemetery in Arras, France to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Arras.
Seventy-two S3 history pupils representing each local authority in Scotland are set for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to France to observe the centenary of the Battle of Arras at Scotland’s commemorations.
Over the last seven years, Ian McCracken, archivist at Govan High School in Glasgow, has dedicated his time to researching the lives of the 64 men named on the school’s war memorial. Here, he pays tribute to the seven who fell at Arras, who will also be remembered at commemorations taking place in Scotland and France on Sunday 9 April.
Scotland’s role in the Battle of Arras continues to touch the nation’s heart as we prepare to commemorate thousands of war heroes for their bravery a century on.
To launch the WW100 Scotland commemorations taking place in France and Scotland, Alasdair Hutton OBE, narrator for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, whose grandfather was gravely injured but survived the Battle of Arras, was joined by singer Amy Hawthorn, young members of Cockenzie and Port Seton Pipes and Drums Euan Williamson, 13, and Carys Grieve, 13, and cadets Connor Mullen, 14, Melissa Rodger 14, and Kimberely Dougal, 16, from the Glasgow and Lanarkshire Battalion Army Cadet Force.
Scotland will mark the Battle of Arras and the centenary of the death of Dr Elsie Inglis as part of this year’s World War One commemorations, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop has announced.