Fife part of WWI tribute

Wooden gravestones at Holyrood Park, part of the Drumhead Memorial. Picture: Scott Louden
Wooden gravestones at Holyrood Park, part of the Drumhead Memorial. Picture: Scott Louden

Fife was represented at a special drumhead service at Edinburgh Castle on Sunday to commemorate the centenary of World War One.

The multi-faith ceremony on the castle esplanade marked the start of the five-year Scottish Commemorations Programme.

It was conducted by senior chaplains from the Army, the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force.

The service also featured troops from all three and was accompanied by music from three military bands, two cadet bands, three choirs and around 200 massed pipes and drums.

Provost Jim Leishman and several councillors represented Fife at the event, which was also attended by First Minister Alex Salmond and Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael, civic and religious leaders, Armed Forces representatives and veterans and around 5500 members of the public.

It was organised by the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Drums were assembled to represent an alter and draped with the colours of the three services, replicating those held by servicemen in the field a century ago.

After the service participants formed a parade and marched down to Holyrood Park, watched and applauded en route by thousands of spectators lining the Royal Mile.

More than 1000 temporary headstones had been erected at the park to represent the names listed at the Scottish National War Memorial. Provost Leishman laid a wreath on behalf of Fife Council.

Despite heavy rain, people remained at Holyrood Park to watch in silence as a lone piper played while walking among the headstones.

Brigadier David Allfrey, chief organiser of the event, said the service on the Esplanade represented the moment before deployment while the procession down the Royal Mile symbolised a ‘March as to War’ and the gathering in Holyrood Park, the approach to the Front and assembly for military action.

“The memorial of over 1,000 headstones will provide a vital sense of scale and a focus for acts of individual and collective commemoration,” he said.

The Scottish Commemorations Programme will remember eight particular events from the war that had a significant impact on Scotland, including major battles.