New exhibition to help regiment connect directly with local community

A Scottish infantry regiment is looking to strengthen its links with the community across Midlothian with a new venture to coincide with this year’s Remembrance Day.
Members of the 1/7th Battalion are pictured in the trenches at Gallipoli in 1915. (Royal Scots Museum)Members of the 1/7th Battalion are pictured in the trenches at Gallipoli in 1915. (Royal Scots Museum)
Members of the 1/7th Battalion are pictured in the trenches at Gallipoli in 1915. (Royal Scots Museum)

The Royal Scots Museum is bringing an exhibition about the regiment to Dalkeith Palace, which opens this Saturday, November 4.

Its aim is to reconnect the regiment, the oldest and most senior in the British Army until amalgamation into the Royal Regiment of Scotland in 2006, with its traditional recruiting area, which extended from Edinburgh and the Lothians down to the Borders.

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It will feature a selection of displays and artefacts from the regiment’s museum at Edinburgh Castle as well as a chance for the public to understand the continuing relevance of Remembrance, learn about their local regiment and research local veterans and medals and watch living history films.

There will also be a research hub manned by experts from the National Records of Scotland, Lothian Family History Society (LHS), Royal Scots researchers and a medal expert, offering an ideal opportunity for anyone researching their family’s military history to take along any documents, photos and medals they may have.

Rob Wainwright, one-time Medical Officer to the 1st Battalion and captain of the Scottish rugby team, has contributed a video in which he gives his take on serving in the armed forces and the impact of warfare on those who serve.

David Nisbet, museum trustee, said the event will hopefully become an annual occurrence.

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He said: “Because Edinburgh Castle, where the museum is, is quite expensive to get into, this is a new venture to try to reach out to our old recruiting area and the first of what we’ll be doing on an annual basis.

"Its primary purpose is remembrance, but we want to try to bring more people into the regimental family.”

To that end, the regiment is keen to find relatives of two former members: Lance Corporal Peter Burnett, 2 Battalion, from Dalkeith; and Private Andrew Cornwall, also 2 Battalion, both of whom feature in the exhibition.

Their story is about the tragic sinking of the Japanese troop ship Lisbon Maru, sunk in the South China Sea, on October 1 1942. Of the 1816 POWs aboard 828 perished, 183 were Royal Scots, including LCpl Burnett and Private Cornwall.

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Anyone with information can contact Mr Nisbet at [email protected].

Brigadier George Lowder (Retd), Royal Scots Trustees chairperson, said: "This exhibition is a wonderful opportunity to underline the significant role the community of Midlothian played in the history of The Royal Scots, down the years. It gives us a chance to display interesting objects and stories which are not on show in our museum in Edinburgh Castle.

"Dalkeith Palace, which has its own story and connections to tell with our Regiment is an excellent setting for this temporary exhibition.”

The exhibition will run at the palace until November 8 and although entry is free, tickets should be booked via the Dalkeith Country Park website.