Since 11 o’clock on the 11th of November 1919 people have paid their respects and remembered the Great War dead through the ceremony of Remembrance. Remembrance often takes the form of two minutes silence in front of a war memorial.
War memorials take many forms. During and after the First World War hundreds of civic war memorials were erected across Scotland and thousands more plaques and rolls of honour were created for churches, schools, clubs, factories, societies and any group of people who had a shared loss. All of them were in a prominent position so everyone could see the sacrifice which had been made.
Erecting memorials to soldiers who had died overseas was not a new idea to early twentieth century Scotland. In a few cases Scottish communities had erected memorials for the Crimean War, and later the Boer War but the huge losses of the First World War led to a proliferation of memorials across the country on a scale never seen before or since.
Memorials were made from granite, sandstone, marble, bronze, brass, wood, and in all sizes, shapes and colours. If we think of a war memorial we imagine a celtic cross on a high street or a brass plaque on a wall but memorials could be gyms, halls, schools, chairs, benches, beds, fountains, nurses, parks, libraries, art galleries, even holiday homes for widows and orphans.
These Remembrance pages give an overview of the different types of war memorial found in Midlothian after the Great War and some background on why they were chosen.