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Glasgow Western Necropolis

First World War graves in Glasgow commemorated with new interactive displays

07 May 2014

Glaswegians can now learn more about Glasgow's First World War graves and cemeteries with the launch of 21st century signage that it hopes will help spark interest about the city's war past.

The Lord Provost of Glasgow Sadie Doherty unveiled the city's first interactive Commonwealth War Graves Commission visitor information panel at the Western Necropolis in the north of the city on 7 May 2014. 

Cllr Sadie Doherty was joined by Iain Anderson of the CWGC, the Reverend Dr Laurence Whitley of Glasgow Cathedral and teachers and pupils from local Cadder Primary School.

The event marked the beginning of a comprehensive upgrade of First World War site signage both in the city, across Scotland and the world by the CWGC to coincide with the centenary in August of the start of the conflict.

The Lord Provost said: "Thousands of Glaswegian men volunteered for the Great War leaving behind their jobs and loved ones. There are hundreds of memorials and stories across the city and they give us an insight into the experience of the 200,000 men from the city that joined up. 

"This programme of new displays makes it easier for members of the public to find information about those who lost their lives in the conflict and connect with Glasgow's commemoration. The interactive element is a great way of getting younger people engaged with the history of the First World War and our city, ensuring that the stories of those who were involved are kept alive." 

Each CWGC cemetery visitor panel will contain detailed information related to the specific cemeteries, giving background to the burials and memorials contained within. When scanned with a smartphone, the QR (Quick Response) codes provide access to the information and will also take the user to online CWGC micro sites.

These sites will explore the graves in further detail, including some personal stories and biographies of soldiers buried in the cemeteries. This will help bring to life the personal stories of those involved in the conflict, and shows how 21st century technology can be used to reinvigorate one hundred year old history. 

Click here to visit the CWGC's Glasgow Western Necropolis micro-site.

The new commemorative panels are part of CWGC's ongoing maintenance of over 1100 war graves across the three sites of Lambhill Cemetery, St. Kentigern's RC Cemetery and the Western Necropolis which are housed in the site were the first interactive panel was launched.

Iain Anderson, CWGC's Regional Supervisor in Scotland, said: "The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's use of the very latest communication technology is aimed at bringing to life the stories of those who gave their lives during the two world wars. 

"The stories revealed on our panels at Glasgow give a fascinating insight into the city's response to the First and Second World War, as well as the high price paid by Scots and Commonwealth servicemen and women during the wars. "The CWGC is also extremely grateful to the staff of Glasgow City Council who do so much to facilitate our work in the City." 

It is hoped that the focus on accessibility and interactivity will encourage the public to engage with Glasgow's First World War history, in particular as later in the year Glasgow will be the focal point for the First World War commemoration across the United Kingdom. 

On 4 August, Glasgow will commence the country's programme of remembrance events with a service in Glasgow Cathedral, set to be attended by representatives from across the Commonwealth who will be in the city for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. 

Dr Whitley, Minister of Glasgow Cathedral, will perform a blessing at the launch of the panels as well as taking a lead role in the 4 August commemoration. 

He said: "I am humbled and honoured to be taking part in this very important event, of which the presence of young people is a vital part. The prayer of dedication will reflect the hope that the commemorative panels will be both a sign and a pledge to their generation that the sacrifice of so many from our community will not be forgotten. The City is to be congratulated for its commitment to such initiatives."  

Pupils from Cadder Primary will also be attending the unveiling as part of their First World War project. 

With their school only a short walk from the cemetery, the children have been discovering the rich history on their doorstep. Class teacher Anne Wallace said: "The children are very enthusiastic to find out the stories behind the headstones they pass every day." 

The unveiling of these displays is an important step in the preparation for Glasgow's major First World War commemoration events later in the year, where the more than 18,000 Glaswegians who lost their lives in service of their country will be remembered.

Click here to read the full media release.

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