Photographer of wartime sites backs Dreghorn campaign

Marc Wilson
Marc Wilson
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A PHOTOGRAPHER who spent years documenting wartime defences is backing a campaign to preserve the under-threat 
Dreghorn trenches.

Marc Wilson, who studied at both Edinburgh and Napier universities, said he would love to include the warfare training site in his project The Last Stand.

One of the  sites recorded for posterity by Marc Wilson

One of the sites recorded for posterity by Marc Wilson

The 43-year-old travelled more than 10,500 miles to photograph the remnants of 20th century war across the UK, France and Germany for his exhibition. He visited more than a dozen sites in Scotland, including Cramond Island in the Firth of Forth, and now plans to visit Edinburgh in March.

He said: “I think the likes of Dreghorn trenches are really important to preserve because of the history involved. The whole idea is that you shouldn’t forget the past so we don’t make the same mistakes in the future.

“If there are local places like that which people can go to and learn about the story behind it, then it will give people a great sense of what it was like to be involved. It’s an important subject matter and, especially as the veterans get older each year, I thought it was important to create a visual record of these huge, immovable objects I photographed places like Dreghorn trenches which were fascinating and would like to come back to picture these. If the campaign clears the way for more people to go and see it then I think that it’s a wonderful thing to do.”

Last month Edinburgh City Council promised £3500 to carry out an initial survey of the First World War trenches, amid fears the historic network of warfare training trenches is being lost to nature. It follows an Evening News-backed campaign led by writer and historian Lynne Gladstone-Millar, whose father, William Ewart Gladstone-Millar, was trained in the trenches before he was sent to the Battle of the Somme.

Marc, who now lives in Bath, Somerset, visited more than a dozen locations in Scotland. Most of his pictures were of defences along the coastline so Marc would regularly pit his wits against the changing tides to ensure he did not get stranded,

“I had to work out when it was high and low tide and try and coincide that with the right weather and the right light.”

His work is currently at The Strand in London, where he is a finalist in the prestigious Terry O’Neil award. The dad-of-one hopes to return to Edinburgh in March to carry on his work if he can secure more funding for the project which has already cost £6000.