The anniversaries to be marked in 2018

From the foundation of groundbreaking institutions and revolutionary political changes to global conflicts and domestic tragedies, 2018 will be a year to remember those who inspired, sacrificed and drove changes in Scottish life that are still felt to this day.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 3rd January 2018, 8:22 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd January 2018, 8:31 am
11th November 1918:  Crowds celebrating the armistice in London, at the end of World War I.  Getty Images
11th November 1918: Crowds celebrating the armistice in London, at the end of World War I. Getty Images

The year will mark two significant milestones in the extension of British democracy, charting a century of the first instance of women being enfranchised in the UK and 90 years since the vote was equally granted for men and women across the country.

On February 6, 1918, the Representation of the People Act was signed into law, handing all men over the age of 21 the right to go to the polls.

More significantly, land-owning women over the age of 30 were enfranchised in the UK for the first time.

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22nd August 1918: The British Cavalry passing the remains of Albert Cathedral, after the 2nd Battle of the Somme. Getty Images

Ten years later, on July 2, 1928, the Equal Franchise Act levelled the playing field by giving all women – regardless of property ownership – the same voting rights as men in one of the biggest-ever victories for the suffrage movement.

A host of events to mark both occasions are to be held around the country, culminating in the Vote100 exhibition at Westminster, scheduled to run between July and September.

Initially formed on April 1, 1918, the Royal Air Force will mark 100 years of patrolling the nation’s skies in a year-long celebration.

At the time of its formation, it was the first and only air force to be totally independent of military or navy control and has been a backbone of ­Britain’s military history throughout conflicts in the 20th century.

Wreckage of the nose-cone and cockpit near the Borders town of Lockerbie, where Pan Am flight 103, a 747 Jumbo jet, crashed after a bomb exploded on board in December 1988.

The force is promoting its centenary programme under the RAF 100 banner and is due to spend up to £8 million on celebrations during the course of the year.

Also on April 1, BBC Reporting Scotland will celebrate 50 years of delivering nightly news bulletins to televisions in homes around the country.

The anniversary comes as the corporation is set to expand its news offering, with the launch of a new Scottish-only television channel later in the year. The channel will come complete with an exclusive hour-long news programme every night.

The world of motor racing will come together on April 7 to pay tribute to one of the greatest ever to grace the track on the 50th anniversary of his tragic passing.

3rd July 1967: Racing driver Jim Clark (1936 - 1968).

Jim Clark was killed at the Hockenheimring track in Germany as he raced in a Formula Two event in 1968.

Family members are hopeful they can mark the anniversary of his death with the creation of a museum dedicated to the two-time Formula One champion.

Thousands of visitors, including racing greats such as the late Ayrton Senna, have passed through a small memorial room to Clark in the Borders town of Duns, but plans for an updated memorial are being proposed for consideration this year.

On July 5, Scotland will pay tribute to the thousands of doctors, nurses and staff of the country’s hospitals as the NHS celebrates 70 years of keeping the nation healthy.

22nd August 1918: The British Cavalry passing the remains of Albert Cathedral, after the 2nd Battle of the Somme. Getty Images

First established in 1948 as the world’s fully comprehensive state health care provider, the service is set to honour those who have continued to make a difference to the lives of people in Scotland.

At a time where the service is facing greater challenges and staffing shortages than ever before, events in different areas will vary by health board. However, a statement on the NHS website reads the commemorations will “allow us to thank staff across NHS Scotland and its partners for their hard work and commitment, and to demonstrate their achievement and successes, whilst acknowledging the challenges they 

The post-Second World War era led to a number of new towns springing up across Scotland as part of plans to deal with a population boom in the country following the conflict.

While the likes of Cumbernauld and East Kilbride were designated as overspill towns for nearby Glasgow, Glenrothes in Fife became one of the most densely populated areas of the region.

The town – birthplace of actor Dougray Scott – celebrates its 70th birthday in the summer and plans to create a digital photo archive charting its history, inviting contributions from existing and former residents.

A century ago, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the guns fell silent across Europe as an armistice was declared to bring an end to the hostilities of the First World War. The conflict claimed the lives of more than 16 million people globally, including an estimated 100,000 Scots and still ranks as one of the bloodiest on record.

Wreckage of the nose-cone and cockpit near the Borders town of Lockerbie, where Pan Am flight 103, a 747 Jumbo jet, crashed after a bomb exploded on board in December 1988.

Among the milestones reached during the year will be the commemoration of the second battle of the Somme, taking place in the latter part of the war between August and September 1918.

While not as well known as the infamous conflict of a year earlier, the battle marked a major victory for the Allied forces ahead of the armistice declared between both sides two months later. More than 30,000 people lost their lives in the battle. The armistice, signed in the back of a railroad car in Paris, marked a victory for the Allies and a defeat for the German forces led by Kaiser Wilhelm II.

The deal brought an end to four years of fighting after similar agreements had been signed with the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires. To this day, the date stands as the day of remembrance for those who lost their lives in conflicts throughout history, also beginning the tradition of wearing a poppy in tribute to those who fell in battle.

The centenary will bring an end to a five-year programme of remembrance across Scotland, spanning hundreds of events marking every significant anniversary of the conflict. A full programme of celebrations charting the centenary of the end of the conflict is expected to be released later in the year.

On December 21, 1988, the country watched on in horror as the unassuming town of Lockerbie became the scene of one of the most infamous terrorist incidents of the 20th century.

In the early hours of the evening, Pan-Am Flight 103, travelling between Frankfurt and Detroit, was destroyed by a bomb. The blast killed all 259 passengers and crew on board the aircraft and 11 others on the ground as debris from explosion rained from the sky. An investigation and pursuit of the man eventually jailed for the attack, Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, took 13 years.

Megrahi was released from prison in Scotland in 2009 on compassionate grounds after he was found to have prostate cancer. He died in his native Libya in 2012.

Dumfries and Galloway council has no plans to officially mark the anniversary of the tragedy. However, a documentary exploring various theories about the motivation for the attack and its aftermath made by Oscar-winning ­Scottish director Kevin MacDonald is rumoured to be considered for release later this year.

The original cast of Trainspotting last year reunited on the big screen for T2, the sequel to Danny Boyle’s 1996 classic. A year later, 2018 will mark 25 years of Renton, Begbie, Spud and Sick Boy as Irvine Welsh’s novel reaches its silver anniversary.

The stage adaptation, Trainspotting LIVE, is heading back out on tour during the year, with performances in ten towns and cities across the country planned between the end of January and May, starting in Belfast on January 30.

3rd July 1967: Racing driver Jim Clark (1936 - 1968).