Standard bearer to open city Remembrance Garden

Adam Carruthers, who was presented with the British Empire Medal, will open the city's Garden of Remembrance on Monday. Pic: Neil Hanna

Adam Carruthers, who was presented with the British Empire Medal, will open the city's Garden of Remembrance on Monday. Pic: Neil Hanna

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Edinburgh’s longest serving Standard Bearer is to mark the start of Remembrance Week by taking part in a ceremony at Princes Street Gardens.

Adam Carruthers, 80, who was awarded the British Empire Medal last week for 50 years services to Legion Scotland, will join Regimental Associations and veterans’ organisations, as well as the Lord Provost, at the special ceremony in Princes Street Gardens East at 11am.

Adam will wear his BEM along with all his medals and those from his family as he parades with the Legion Scotland standards at the opening of the Garden of Remembrance.

In a special gesture to mark the centenary of WW1, Legion Scotland Standards will each wear medals they have been awarded personally as well as any from relatives, including those who served in WW1.

Adam, from Edinburgh, signed up at 18 and served over five years in the Scots Guards. He marched in the Coronation and funeral of Queen Mary before he was deployed to the Suez Canal in Egypt.

During routine patrols and guarding Military bases two of his battalion were shot and killed.

He said: “When you are still a teenager those things probably don’t affect you at the time. Now when I think back it’s hard to come to terms with how terrible it really was.”

The father of two now trains others including Cadets. This year will be his fiftieth year as a Legion Standard Bearer.

“My father Robert served in World War One,” he said. “He never talked about his experiences but I think that was quite common back then. My two brothers also served in the Army. Like most who serve in the forces my family didn’t do it for any kind of recognition. Today and all of this week I will think about them and the men we lost in our battalion.”

This year more Standard bearers than ever before will take part in the opening of the Garden of Remembrance. Around 38 standards will parade with Legion Scotland at the Garden many for the first time in the last 30 years of the ceremony’s history.

Serving military personnel including a representative from 3 Rifles, the resident Battalion in Edinburgh, will lay wreaths at the ceremony as they join veterans and families to pay tribute to loved ones and brave service men and women who have served in our Armed Forces.

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 a loved one at areas of the garden dedicated to Royal Navy, Army, and Royal Air Force units and organisations along with dedicated areas for charities that support the veterans’ community.

All funds raised will contribute to the Scottish Poppy Appeal, run by Poppyscotland, which provides vital year-round support to the Armed Forces community in Scotland.

Adjacent to the Garden, on the west side of the Scott Monument, is Poppyscotland’s Field of Remembrance. Thousands of crosses are on display, each one sent to Poppyscotland from supporters across the country. In addition, the Field contains a special Afghanistan plot, to commemorate the 453 Service personnel killed in the conflict.

Legion Scotland branches and members acting as Scottish Poppy Appeal area organisers and volunteers combined to raise around a third of the Appeal total in 2013.

Kevin Gray MM, Chief Executive Officer 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 a hundred years ago and since up to those serving in present day conflicts. We would encourage anyone coming along to wear their medals and those of their family members, in what we hope will be a special tribute.”

“Through organising events during remembrance week, working with schools and helping preserve war memorials Legion Scotland is the custodian of remembrance in Scotland. We hope that veterans, families and local communities will all join us in giving our heartfelt thanks at the Garden of Remembrance opening and help us honour the memory of our brave fallen.”

Guests attending the Garden ceremony and members of the public will also be able to plant crosses and other Remembrance symbols, and write their own messages of Remembrance and support at the Poppyscotland Field of Remembrance.