Crowds honour war dead at city Garden of Remembrance

Standard bearers stand to attention while Royal Engineer veterans salute crosses bearing pictures of service personnel killed in Afganistan. Picture: PA

Standard bearers stand to attention while Royal Engineer veterans salute crosses bearing pictures of service personnel killed in Afganistan. Picture: PA

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CROWDS paused in the centre of Edinburgh to honour Scotland’s war dead at a special ceremony for the opening of the Garden of Remembrance in Princes Street Gardens.

Ex-service personnel joined Lord Provost Donald Wilson, other dignitaries and members of the public in paying tribute at the start of Remembrance week.

Dozens of standard bearers lined up at the side of the Scott Monument along with the senior pipe major from Legion Scotland and the band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland to mark the start of the ceremony.

And Edinburgh’s longest serving Legion Scotland standard bearer, Adam Carruthers, laid a wreath along with the Lord Provost and serving military personnel, including a representative from 3 Rifles, the resident battalion in Edinburgh.

Mr Carruthers, 80, was wearing his British Empire Medal, just awarded for 50 years’ service to Legion Scotland.

In a special gesture to mark the centenary of the First World War, the standard bearers wore medals belonging to relatives from the 1914-18 conflict as well as ones they had been awarded personally.

Kevin Gray, chief executive of Legion Scotland, said: “It’s very important to help keep alive the memory of those who lost their lives in the defence of our country and those who have come home whose lives are changed forever as a result of their service. This year during the centenary of World War I it is especially poignant as we remember those who gave their life 100 years ago and since up to those serving in present-day conflicts.”

Next to the Garden, on the west side of the Scott Monument, is Poppyscotland’s Field of Remembrance. It contains thousands of crosses, each one sent to Poppyscotland from supporters across the country. There is a special Afghanistan plot to commemorate the 453 service personnel killed in that conflict.

Members of the public can make a donation for poppies, crosses and other remembrance symbols at the garden.

Crosses can be planted in memory of loved ones in areas of the garden dedicated to Royal Navy, army and Royal Air Force units and charities that support the veteran community.

All funds raised will contribute to the Scottish Poppy Appeal.