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The Appeal.

The Great War Memorial Committee was established in the autumn of 2003 in order to raise funds to finance the construction in the French village of Contalmaison of a fitting memorial to the 16th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Scots ('McCrae's Own'). Construction of what has already become known as 'The Contalmaison Cairn' was completed late in 2004 and a service of Dedication and Unveiling was held in the village on Sunday 7 November - in front of a crowd of over 500 battalion families, Hearts, Hibs and Raith supporters, Royal Scots, government representatives, and locals.


"Quieten down, lads. I'm trying to read about
this here Memorial Trust."

From the outset, this project has been characterised by the 'simple spirit of excellence', so dear to the heart of Sir George McCrae. He would have been very proud of our efforts. The job, however, remains unfinished and we are still actively trying to raise funds. In the short term there are minor practical considerations: the paved area around the cairn, for example, requires to be extended. The sheer number of visitors to the site is an unanticipated (but welcome) development, but it means we will be obliged to lay an additional area of (expensive) Caithness slate. The cost of raw materials and labour must be met by the Committee.

There is also the matter of a one-off payment to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission so that our memorial can be added to their list of monitored monuments. This figure (which is currently being negotiated) will in itself amount to several thousand pounds. We propose also in future to make an annual donation to Erskine Veterans' Hospital, so none of the monies that we raise will be wasted.

With the above in mind, the Great War Memorial Committee is on the point of changing into a formally constituted charitable and educational trust. The aims are as follows: 

---To ensure the long-term care of the Contalmaison Cairn.
---To maintain and honour the memory of McCrae's Battalion. 
---To organise commemorative and educational pilgrimages to the 
     Western Front. 
---To promote the spirit of friendship between the people of Edinburgh 
     and the Somme.  

To this end, we are committed to raising funds continuously. We hope, in time, that the annual pilgrimage to Contalmaison will (at long last) become an important date in the Edinburgh calendar. The two City battalions were wiped out on 1 July 1916: it is our intention that the memory of their sacrifice will be kept sharp and bright in the minds of each new generation.

Anyone who wishes to contribute should send their cheques (payable to the 'McCrae's Battalion Trust') to the address below.  All donations will be formally acknowledged by our treasurer and a list of donors (the ‘Roll of Honour’) will be lodged in the National Library of Scotland (along with the rest of the Committee’s records) for posterity.

McCrae's Battalion Trust,
c/o The Royal Scots Club,
31 Abercromby Place,
Edinburgh,
EH3 6QE.
 

For secure online donation using your credit card, follow this link to our PayPal account:

Questions regarding donations can be sent by e-mail to : [email protected].


 


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Images courtesy of Jack Alexander / McCrae's Battalion Archive