A 12-strong panel of experts from across Scottish society has been appointed to support Scotland’s commemorations of the centenary of World War One.

The newly appointed Scottish Commemorations Panel comprises a mix of professionals from the military and veterans communities, community leaders, clergy, media, historians and education specialists from all corners of Scotland. 

They are:

  • Brigadier David Allfrey MBE
  • The Duke of Buccleuch
  • Maggie Cunningham
  • Reverend Ron Ferguson
  • Lieutenant General Sir Alistair Irwin KCB CBE
  • Group Captain Bob Kemp, CBE, QVRM, AE, DL
  • Magnus Linklater CBE
  • Dr Bill Maxwell, FRSA
  • Professor Louise Richardson
  • Trevor Royle FRSE
  • Commodore Charles Stevenson
  • Professor Sir Hew Strachan

The Panel will support the Chair, former Army Chaplain Norman Drummond, in his work to recommend a preferred approach for Scotland’s commemorations of the forthcoming centenary. They will also oversee the delivery of the programme.

The current Tri-Service Heads in Scotland, Rear Admiral Chris Hockley, Major General Nick Eeles and Air Commodore Gerry Mayhew, will provide additional advisory support to the Panel.

The Panel’s first meeting will take place in Edinburgh on Thursday (March 14), and is expected to consider how they can best support the development of the commemorative programme, and which key dates or themes could feature within it.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, said:

“This Panel brings together 12 remarkable people with an exceptional range of skills, experience and expertise across many fields. Their wisdom and advice will be extremely helpful in guiding Scotland’s approach to commemorations sensitively over the period to 2019 and ensuring that Scotland’s commemorative plans are relevant to all parts of society.”

Norman Drummond, Chair of the Scottish Commemorations Panel, said:

“Scotland’s Commemorative Programme must provide opportunities for people of all ages to learn about the war in meaningful ways and so to enable them to explore the resonance of World War I and its aftermath to contemporary life here in Scotland and beyond. This view is shared by the Panel.

“Within the Panel, Commodore Charles Stevenson, Lieutenant General Sir Alistair Irwin and Group Captain Bob Kemp from the Tri-Service Veterans community, will help to determine how best to recognise the sacrifice of Scotland’s servicemen and women and the appropriate commemoration of the battles in which Scotland played a key role. 

“I am joined from the world of education by Dr Louise Richardson, Principal of St Andrews University, and by Dr Bill Maxwell, Chief Executive of Education Scotland. Both will help to ensure that the Commemorative Programme takes full account of how our pupils, students and teachers learn about World War I.

“We shall also consult our local authorities. In this regard the Duke of Buccleuch, in addition to his valuable links with the network of Lord Lieutenants across Scotland, will ensure that the train crash at Quintinshill near Gretna on 22 May 1915 - with the loss of 214 Officers and men of the 7th Battalion Royal Scots Territorial Force - will be suitably commemorated.

“Professor Sir Hew Strachan and Trevor Royle will set the context of our commemorations and ensure we maintain historical accuracy and perspective in all that we do.

“Brigadier David Allfrey, Producer and Chief Executive of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Maggie Cunningham, Chairman of BBC Alba, and Magnus Linklater, former Editor of The Scotsman and The Times Scotland, are from  the arts and broadcasting fields and will undoubtedly inject creativity into our collective thinking.

“Ron Ferguson, as a former Leader of the Iona Community and Minister of St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, will help us to consider how to commemorate the momentous role that Orkney played during the War and in particular within the Battle of Jutland in 1916.

“The Panel is committed to developing a programme of which Scotland can be rightly proud."

The Panel Members

Brigadier David Allfrey MBE
Brigadier David Allfrey is Producer and Chief Executive of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and Events and Festivals Champion for the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA). 

The Duke of Buccleuch
Captain General, The Queen’s Bodyguard for Scotland, Royal Company of Archers and Hon Colonel, 52nd Lowland 6th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland and formerly President of the National Trust for Scotland.

Maggie Cunningham
Chairman of BBC Alba and a Director of Sabhal Mor Ostaig.  Former Deputy Controller of BBC Scotland, Head of Radio Scotland and Secretary to the Broadcasting Council for Scotland.

Reverend Ron Ferguson
A former Leader of the Iona Community and Minister of St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, Ron is a columnist, author and playwright and lives in Orkney.

Lieutenant General Sir Alistair Irwin KCB CBE
Sir Alistair’s long career in the Army culminated in his holding the appointment of Adjutant General, the Army Board member responsible for all personnel matters.  Since leaving the Army he has been closely involved with veterans affairs in Scotland. Most relevant in the context of the Great War commemorations he is President both of the Royal British Legion Scotland and Poppy Scotland.  He has been a Commissioner of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission  since 2005 and is currently its Vice Chairman.

Group Captain Bob Kemp, CBE, QVRM, AE, DL
A former Royal Air Force aviator, the Inspector of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force and an Industrialist, currently Director Scotland, Northern Ireland and Northern England of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.   

Magnus Linklater CBE
Magnus Linklater has held a number of senior editorships on newspapers in London and Scotland, including the Evening Standard, Sunday Times, Observer and London Daily News. He has been Editor of The Scotsman, and columnist and Scotland Editor of The Times. A former Chairman of the Scottish Arts Council, he is the author of several books on current affairs and Scottish history.

Dr Bill Maxwell, FRSA
Dr Bill Maxwell was appointed as Chief Executive of Education Scotland in May 2011.  Education Scotland has been established by the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning as a new style of integrated improvement agency, supporting quality and improvement in Scottish Education.  Bill previously held the post of Senior Chief Inspector of Education in Scotland and, prior to that, Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales.

Professor Louise Richardson
Professor Richardson was appointed Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of St Andrews after a 20 year career at Harvard University. A political scientist by training, she has written and taught extensively on the subject of political violence.

Trevor Royle FRSE
Author of more than 30 books on the subject of war and empire including “Flowers of the Forest: Scotland and the First World War (2006)”. Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Honorary Fellow in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh.

Commodore Charles Stevenson CBE
Commodore Stevenson CBE served in the Royal Navy in Destroyers and Aircraft Carriers. A former Director of Naval Surveying, Oceanography and Meteorology at the Ministry of Defence he completed his service as the Naval Regional Commander, Scotland and Northern Ireland.  He now runs his own Company as well as being an Ambassador for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Professor Sir Hew Strachan
Chichele Professor of the History of War, Oxford University; Commonwealth War Graves Commissioner; Trustee of the Imperial War Museum; member of the UK National First World War Committee.


# Marian 2013-03-11 11:13
I sincerely hope that the panel come up with plans to commemorate the human sacrifices made by Scotland rather than the flag waving triumphalism and glorification of war I fear will happen south of the border.
# MAcandroid 2013-03-11 11:24
In my opinion the best way to honour the sacrifices made by our service personnel would be to take the £50m and spend it supporting our surviving ex-service men and women and the families of those killed in service.
Spending the money to commemorate the start of a war is obscene.

Someone started this before me - epetition here:
# Astonished 2013-03-11 11:30
MacAndroid - Star Comment

I could not agree with you more
# X_Sticks 2013-03-11 11:40

I think the £50m is just an excuse to get a fighting fund for the anti-independence brigade and get round the funding rules.

I've never, ever heard of anyone "commemorating" the START of a war. I find it quite disgusting.

By all means commemorate those lost in the battles of WW1 - but the START of the spat between the european royal families (aren't they all the same mob anyway?) that cost millions of lives. Obscene as MAcandroid rightly says.
# proudscot 2013-03-11 11:51
I'm surprised that our esteemed Labour MP Ian Davidson is not on this committee set up to co-ordinate celebration of the start of one of the greatest slaughters of humans in the history of warfare.

After all, he is on record in Hansard, claiming that we pro-independence Scots celebrate the Bannockburn Anniversary, because it resulted in "the murder of hundreds of thousands of English people!" (A truly remarkable estimate, considering the highest estimate of the English army at that battle, is around 17,500).
# jurist 2013-03-11 14:09
I don't care who's on their panel; this makes me sick.

I agree with the previous posters; to commerate the START of a war is crass and disgusting.

I hope there's an outcry against this.
# Robabody 2013-03-11 14:48
Well, to the save the committe some time and money I propose that "Oh! What a lovely war" is made compulsive viewing for everyone, throughout every channel. To be transmitted on the anniversary of the very first day of the war and that it be played throughout the day without interuption from jingoists and the BBC.
# zorbathejock 2013-03-11 14:50
I am really surprised and disappointed that the SNP Govt. is going along with this travesty. No-one should commemorate the start of a war.
# MAcandroid 2013-03-11 15:03
How do the panel commemorate this ?
In World War One, the executions of 306 British and Commonwealth soldiers took place. Such executions, for crimes such as desertion and cowardice, remain a source of controversy with some believing that many of those executed should be pardoned as they were suffering from what is now called shell shock. The executions, primarily of non-commissioned ranks, included 25 Canadians, 22 Irishmen and 5 New Zealanders.

# Coinneach 2013-03-12 20:08
MAcandroid, you should have carried on your search.
Approx. 50% of the shot were from, I'll save you the looking, but you may have a guess. 22 Irish, but the balance of the 150 odd were from SCOTLAND and N. England.
Moreover, the Aussies high command forbade any of their men ever to but sentenced to death, and none were.
# Fungus 2013-03-11 15:08
And not only any war but this one in particular. A war of imperialism, the first war in which killing people was industrialised, where men lived in the most appalling conditions and, if they survived, were often mentally damaged. A war run by the same class of incompetents running the UK today and a war directly responsible for the rise of fascist Germany and the holocaust.

What's not to celebrate?
# pictishbeastie 2013-03-11 15:39
I'm curious as to who it was that decided who should be "appointed" to this panel and what qualifications were needed to be "appointed"?
# Breeks 2013-03-11 15:39
I have the same misgivings as all of you, but can I just make one observation which goes a little against the grain?

The centenary marking 1914 -2014 marks our transition from a Nation which was enthusiastic to go to war to the more general anti-war Nation we are now. In these narrow terms, I think the centenary from 1914 is likely to mark a more profound change in our culture and ideology than the similar changes we'd see in ourselves from 1918. By 1918, we'd already been scarred/changed forever. The Century which so profoundly changed us is 1914 to 2014 specifically because it has the First World War between the bookends, whereas 1918 to 2018 does not.

Now that I have got that one point off my chest, I'm back on side with the rest of you, uneasy about what politicisation to expect, and much preferring Centennial events to commemorate the end of the War, not it's beginning.
# Big Eye 2013-03-12 07:53
Only the Better Together mob would think it a good idea to celebrate the start of a war rather than the end.
# Coinneach 2013-03-12 21:00
Trevor Royle had a piece on WW1 in the Sunday Herald a couple of weeks ago, he omitted to mention the Scottish death ratio which was 26.4%. Over a quarter of our men dead against English deaths which I calculated, and it was'nt easy getting figures, at 10-11%. Everything British this and British that. The Welsh enlisted, which at that time included Monmouthshire had 15% deaths. Irish 17%. I had a letter pointing this out published but heavily truncated, the following week.
We lost 147,080ish men of all ranks, with around 5-10% of them being of officer rank.
BUT, because these men were the cream of our nation, huge numbers not being of acceptable quality due to diet, living conditions, health etc, it must have stopped Scotland in it's tracks, all those skilled and professional wen gone, after it was over.
I think both my grandfathers were in reserved occupations.
# Coinneach 2013-03-12 21:17
But my father was not so lucky in the second.
I am going to write, as in a paper letter, to Fiona Hyslop telling her she has become Cameron's puppet and it is a absolute disgrace to celebrate the start of a war, any war, but especially this one which was so injurious to Scotland, and I'm an SNPer.
In case it does not appear, # MAcandroid @ 2013-03-11 15:03 on the executions, 1/2 ish of them were carried out on, you might be unsurprised to know, Irish, Scottish and N.English soldiers.
Could we not do a quick celebration for the 10th of the Iraq war, and get war criminal Blair up to start proceedings.
# macdonald88 2013-03-14 17:42
Right minded people will commemorate (between 2014-18) all those who died in WW1 and will take the opportunity to educate our youngsters about how ghastly the war was. The emphasis must be on commemoration, not celebration. We might remember that when we commemorate, not celebrate, Bannockburn, or are there different rules for that one?
# Kenneth_ 2013-03-17 07:42
#Coinneach Nice bit of calculations. It is actually very easy to find the figure of 147k because that is the number of WW1 names commemorated in the rolls of the Scottish National War Memorial in Edinburgh Castle.

That figure, or an exaggerated one of 150k, is often trotted out to show how badly the Scots were treated by the upper-class English donkeys.

What commentators like you fail to take into consideration is that the rolls contain thousands of duplicates. If any man served in two regiments (and it was very common) he is double counted.

The rolls also record all the men lost in all the Scottish infantry regiments during the war so that total contains thousands of English, Irish and Welsh.

The actual figure will still be horrifically large and had a huge impact on Scotland, but lets not downplay the other Home countries suffering too

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