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Queensferry Cemetery

Edinburgh's war-time history commemorated with new interactive displays

23 May 2014

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is helping to bring Edinburgh's war-time history to life with the launch of 21st century signage at Queensferry and Rosebank cemeteries, that it hopes will help spark interest about the city's war past among a new generation.

The interactive CWGC Visitor Information Panels at the two cemeteries - the final resting place of hundreds of Commonwealth servicemen and women - will be unveiled on 23 and 24 May.

The Lord Provost of Edinburgh, The Rt Hon Donald Wilson will unveil the panels at Queensferry at 11am on Friday 23 May 2014, with the panels at Rosebank unveiled on 24 May. 

The Lord Provost will be joined by Deirdre Mills (Director of the CWGC's United Kingdom Operations), Mr Norman  Drummond (Chair Scottish WWI Commemoration Panel), Captain Chris Smith (Royal Navy Regional Commander for Scotland and Northern Ireland) and teachers and pupils of Queensferry Community High School, who have been involved in a project researching First World War casualties buried in the cemetery. 

Lord Provost, Donald Wilson, said: "It is crucial that Edinburgh continues to commemorate those that were willing to serve their country so bravely and selflessly. The new interactive panels at Queensferry and Rosebank cemeteries  will be an interactive way for new generations to learn about the final resting place of so many Commonwealth servicemen and women, in an engaging and meaningful way. I hope that the installation encourages many residents to visit the sites, and remember those who fell during both world wars and as a result of the tragic Gretna rail disaster of 1915." 

The signs at Rosebank cemetery will be unveiled during the Royal Scots' annual service of remembrance to those of the regiment who died in Britain's worst rails disaster. On 22 May 1915 more than 220 members of the Royal Scots were killed when their troop-train collided with two other trains near Quintinshill signal box, one and a half miles from Gretna. 

The panels at Queensferry and Rosebank are among 500 to be installed at CWGC locations worldwide and feature information about the site of the cemetery and a QR (Quick Response) code.  When scanned with a smartphone, the QR Code provides access for further information including the personal stories of some of the casualties buried or commemorated there. 

Deirdre Mills, the CWGC's Director of UK Operations, said: "From Shetland to the Borders, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission ensures that the sacrifice of thousands of men and women who died during the world wars is remembered in perpetuity.  The UK as a whole contains over 170,000 Commonwealth war graves, with over 20,000 of these found north of the border. Scotland was an important centre for both training and operational units during both world wars and war graves are to be found at over 1,200 locations.

The CWGC's use of the very latest communication technology will help bring to life the personal stories of those involved in the two world wars and shows how 21st century technology can be used to reinvigorate one hundred year old history.

"It is hoped that the focus on accessibility and interactivity will encourage the public to engage with Edinburgh's war history, visit these places and remember those who died."

Click here to read the full media release.