Scottish soldiers who fought at the Battle of Passchendaele have been remembered as commemorations begin to mark 100 years since the conflict.
Veterans and serving soldiers from The Royal Regiment of Scotland marched through the Perthshire town during the event, which begins the wider “Crieff Remembers” fortnight.
The British and Commonwealth attacks were fought near Ypres from 31 July to 10 November 1917, in battlefields that turned to liquid mud and were summed up in poet Siegfried Sassoon’s line “I died in hell, they called it Passchendaele”.
It is remembered as one of the harshest battles of the war, with heavy rain contributing to the Allies gaining only five miles of ground in three months.
About 325,000 Allied troops and 260,000 Germans died in the battle.
There was a large Scottish presence with more than 50 battalions joined by expat comrades in Scottish battalions from Canada, England and South Africa.
Crieff is particularly linked to Passchendaele because of the high number of Black Watch soldiers who took part a century ago.
A group of current Black Watch soldiers took part in the commemorations after returning from Ypres, which they had reached in a 600-mile cycle.
The service was led by the Legion Scotland national padre with a wreath-laying ceremony featuring Lieutenant General Sir Alistair Irwin KCB CBE, the President of Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland. After the service, entertainment was provided by pipe bands, charity stalls and music from Legion Scotland singing sensation Amy Hawthorn ensuring a day of Remembrance was also one of happiness.
Festivals Crieff Chairman Alastair McClymont said: “There’s a real buzz about the town at the moment and we are delighted to have Legion Scotland’s significant input to the launch of our Crieff Remembers programme. As well as today’s wonderful parade, we also have the official opening of a truly unique exhibition of First World War material loaned from local families. It is open to the public from today until Saturday 12 August and is supported by a programme of evening events. It is a moving experience and one not to be missed.”
Neil Combe, manager of the Crieff Succeeds BID Ltd, said: “Festivals Crieff has worked tirelessly to deliver a remarkable programme of events. We work on behalf of the local business community and are delighted to play a part in the staging of a commemoration that means so much to Crieff.”
Also attending was James McCabe, from Crieff, whose great-uncle, David Watson McDonald McCabe, was wounded during the 2nd Battle of Ypres which took place two years before Passchendaele. He returned to the battlefield, but was seriously wounded and died as the Battle of Passchendaele loomed. David McCabe’s great-great-great nephew David McInally was on parade as a member of the Royal Regiment of Scotland band.