Celebrating Leith and North Edinburgh Leith Festival 2010
Leith Festival 2009
Leith Pageant 2009
Leith Gala Day 2009
Performers 2009
Leith Festival Arts2009
Legends v Leith
Leith Roll of Honour (WW1)

Leith Festival 2008
Leith & North: Please email any news items to: news@leithandnorth.org.uk Leith Roll of Honour - Leith's sacrifices in the Great War remembered Article title from the Leith Observer: Leith War Memorial - schemes suggested - Novermber 28th 1918 Once again the Leith Roll of Honour was on display during the week of Leith Festival, June 2009. The Roll consists of five volumes listing the names of 2206 Leithers who gave their lives, as volunteers and conscripts, in the Great War of 1914-18. The youngest was a teenager and the oldest was 59. One detail which brings them back to life is their address, so many of which are still familiar street names today. The population of Leith at the time was 84,000 and over 14,000 went to fight in the war - one in six of the entire area.

Woman wearing white gloves looking at  a  book larger than A4 size Five volumes bound in burgundy coloured leather with gold leaf and white cotton gloves Left <<<: Archivist Laura Brouard of LHS Archive with a volume of the roll. A banner of Jimmy Rutherford who died in the Spanish Civil War is behind.
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The five volumes of the Roll with the white gloves used for turning their pages
The Leith and Newhaven men were part of Queen's Edinburgh Rifles, many forming the ill fated 7th Battallion. 180 odd men lost their lives in the Gretna rail disaster, en route to Gallipoli, a figure drawn out from the researches of one man, Andrew Grant.

Andrew visited the Leith Roll, last year with his wife, and his imagination was captured by the discovery of one of her relatives, a J. Dickie in the Roll. Andrew's research into this man, was the start of a journey which led him to trace as much detail as possible about those listed in the Roll. He has compiled a fully searchable reference work that enables Leithers to discover what they can. One visitor was a 98 year old woman, who was able to see a picture of her loved one for the first time in 90 years.

Earnest young man leans forward engaged in discussion with two older men Andrew with a Canon Ixus on a tripod  placed on a bound volume of the  Leith Observer Left <<<:John Kent and Andrew Grant discussing the research with a visitor
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Andrew Grant photographing war portraits from the Leith Observer.

Andrew has worked his way through the back copies of the Leith Observer, tracing details of the men's lives and copying the war portraits preserved there. War portraits were taken in situ where the soldiers were serving, and many many families had no other visual memory of their deceased.

With painstaking care, over 900 hours, Andrew has compiled these war portraits, along with details of where the men are buried (some 1,000 of them only marked by war memorials in far off lands,) as well as details of the regiments and battalions with which they served. Andrew's records are shown in the pictures above, and will soon be on permanent display in Leith Library.

War portait of man in uniform with a  wry expression, his hand in his pocket and a  Tammie War portait of a dark haired even featured man Left <<<: War Portrait of Lance-Corporal Adam Henderson (Bridgend, Leith) who died of wounds after the War
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War Portrait of Corporal A. Laing, a blacksmith from Bonnington Rd who died of influenza in India.

Intriguingly the story of these men has continued beyond the Roll, into the present. While relatives have discovered details of their lost loved ones, Andrew has uncovered 18 Leithers who died in the Great War, and who are not noted in the Roll. Along with this, human connections have been made. Many people have discovered common bonds that they would not otherwise have found, including a bridge spanning the generations between Andrew and young military historian Dave Clarke pictured on the opening page of our Leith Festival coverage, whose knowledge of the Royal Scots was accorded the testimony "what he doesn't know about the Royal Scots isn't worth knowing." The story of the men from Leith who died far from home will not be forgotten.

Photographs are shown, capturing the edition of the Leith Observer which Andrew was studying when Leith & North visited. The Roll is held by Lothian Health Services Archive.

Lothian Health Services Archive web site >>>
Read about the Gretna rail disaster on Wikipedia >>>