21 April 2023
A charity aiming to keep the memories of the fallen alive launched in Scotland at Edinburgh Castle recently.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) launched the Commonwealth War Graves Foundation at the exclusive event. CWGC are the world leaders in commemoration and care for 1.7 million casualties across 23,000 locations in 150 countries around the world. In Scotland, CWGC cares for 20,700 casualties in 1,276 locations across the country, from the Borders to Norwick in Unst.
The launch of the Foundation in Scotland is a significant milestone for the charity, who will now be able to raise funds in Scotland to ensure their vital commemorative and education work continues.
The launch event
Hosted by Major General Alastair Bruce OBE KStJ VR DL, Governor of Edinburgh Castle, guests included Sir Hew Strachan, the Head of the Royal Navy in Scotland alongside senior representatives of the Army and RAF, MSP Paul Sweeney, Baroness Annabel Goldie, Lord Provost Robert Aldridge and Archbishop Leo Cushley.
The aim of the Foundation is to engage and educate people in Scotland with the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the men and women it commemorates. Through innovative educational activities, public events and outreach programmes, the Foundation educates everyone from school groups to World War experts, amateur historians or just those interested in learning more about the names on their local war memorial.
Remembering the fallen
The Foundation runs a range of activities and initiatives to help raise money and support for important projects such as “Eyes On Hands On”. Scottish volunteers, such as Fiona Dunlop devote a great deal of time to looking after the headstones of the men and women in Scotland who gave their lives for our freedom. The CWGC has tended the burial sites of her relatives for many years. Now the former Peebles High School teacher takes care of more than 150 graves throughout the region and received a special mention in the Scottish Parliament last year for her volunteering.
Director General of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), Claire Horton, said: “The work of the Foundation will be absolutely vital in raising funds to help us keep the memories of the fallen alive in Scotland and around the world. Our work on every continent except Antartica, makes us one of the world’s largest commemorative and horticultural organisations. Many of our sites are now over 100 years old and the ravages of time together with climate change pose immense challenges. We should be under no illusion that difficult years lie ahead.
“The Foundation will work across a range of different projects and initiatives, all with the same aim: to engage the public and help keep the stories of the fallen alive. With the help of generous supporters, volunteers and funders we hope to keep alive the legacy of people, architecture and heritage involved in previous conflict. Every Foundation project is carefully designed to inform and inspire the public, especially the next generation.
“Telling the stories of the fallen as the World Wars recede from living memory, running educational, public engagement and outreach programs to inspire future generations are just some of the challenges that the Foundation will help us tackle head-on. We will ensure those who made the ultimate sacrifice for us are honoured in perpetuity.”
For more information, please visit the Foundation’s website.
Report and image courtesy of Commonwealth War Graves Commission.