Graves of Edinburgh's heroes left lying 'cracked and broken' in undergrowth

VANDALISM and neglect have left the final resting place of some of the Capital’s greatest heroes in a state of disrepair, it has been claimed.

Tuesday, 22nd October 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 22nd October 2019, 9:35 am

The graves of war heroes are among those found lying on the ground in undergrowth at North Merchiston Cemetery.

Writing in the Evening News today, former MP Angus Roberston called for a public debate on what should happen to such rarely visited historical cemeteries.

The former MP and Depute Leader of the Scottish National Party added: “Sad to say however that the graveyard is the victim of the worst neglect, decay and vandalism imaginable.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Graves in North Merchiston

“Many, if not most of the headstones now lie on the ground, toppled over, fallen down, or taken down.

“They often lie face down, sometimes propped up, cracked and broken.”

Among those buried in North Merchiston is Private Charles Kennedy of the Highland Light Infantry.

He was awarded the VC for carrying a wounded comrade for three quarters of a mile under enemy fire during the Boer War in South Africa.

Private Charles Kennedy

Nearby, is the grave of Private James Davis of the Black Watch who also received the VC for carrying a comrade under fire, this time during the Indian Mutiny.

“It doesn’t even face the path and it’s surrounded by ivy and trees - you wouldn’t know somebody special is buried there,” said Mr Robertson.

Tory councillor Scott Douglas said: “It’s appalling to see the state of disrepair that some of these graves have fallen into.

“Many of these individuals gave their lives for their country, and yet their final resting place is in a shameful state.

“We owe it to them to better than this, and we need to see urgent action taken.

“The council should now outline what steps they will be taking to restore these sites to a state that is worthy of those who are buried there.”

North Merchiston, along with Warriston and Dalry cemetery, was compulsorily purchased by the council in 1994 after widespread vandalism.

An Edinburgh Council spokeswoman said: “Graveyards like North Merchiston, Warriston and Dalry are truly historic and the final resting place of so many people through the centuries, including those who fought for our country.

“While the maintenance and restoration of grave stones isn’t the Council’s role, we do work very hard to keep our cemeteries safe and cared for.

“Occasionally we do need to gently lay stones flat to stop them falling down but we have never needed to do this to Commonwealth War Graves, which are instead reported to the Commonwealth War Grave Commission if they are in need of repair.”

Read More

Read More
Watch: Offenders restore city graves in Edinburgh