Permanent Scottish remembrance

24th November 2006 at 00:00
The two-minute silence as an act of remembrance for the dead of Britain's wars earlier this month has prompted me to seek support for a more permanent act of remembrance.

As a history teacher, I have led many school visits to the battlefields of the First World War. On each visit to sites in the care of the Canadian Government, I have been impressed by the fact that Canadian students are in attendance as part of a scholarship scheme which allows them to work as wardens at Newfoundland Park on the Somme and Vimy Ridge.

The students act as guides, advisers to visitors, as role models for young people and ambassadors for their country.

During the First World War, Scotland had one of the highest recruitment rates and hence one of the highest casualty rates of any country. As we approach the centenary of the commencement of the war, surely it is now time that the Scottish Executive, perhaps acting in partnership with the Government of the United Kingdom, initiated a similar scheme.

The existence of a new visitor centre at Thiepval Memorial on the Somme, and the building of a similar facility at Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves cemetery near Ypres, would provide appropriate locations where Scottish students might be based. All that is required is the political will and a relatively small amount of cash to put such a scheme in place.

Peter Wright

Falcon Road, Edinburgh

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