Scotland`s War Memorials
I have a large collection of War Memorial images, both in the UK and abroad and this section is due to be revamped with memorials listed in their respective regional locations // etc* Further War Memorial and Military History content, not exclusively relating to Scotland, may also feature in the galleries of individual countries on this site.
The Scottish National War Memorial
The Scottish National War Memorial is located in Edinburgh Castle and was created to commemorate Scottish soldiers, and those serving with Scottish regiments, who died during the Great War. It also honours men and women who lost their lives during WW2 and more recent conflicts. Housed in a redeveloped barrack block in Crown Square, at the top of the castle, the magnificent monument was formally opened in 1927 and incorporates numerous monuments.
I took all of the external shots featured on this page, however, general photography is not permitted inside the building. The above view is from an antique postcard. The following images and many others can be found on the Memorial`s official website and are all copyright: © www.snwm.org.
Featured above are `Soldier of The Tank Corps`, `Gordon Highlanders Piper, 16th Canadian Scottish, Private`, and `Army Service Corps Driver and Horse`, all by Alice and Morris Meredeth Williams. The Bronze Royal Artillery Memorial shown below is by Alexander Carrick, one of Scotland’s greatest ever monumental sculptors who was responsible for numerous war memorials, not only in the UK but also overseas. Unlike most other sculptors, Carrick actually served during the Great War as an artilleryman on the Western Front and witnessed the horrors of life and death in the trenches first hand.
Carrick was born in Musselburgh, near Edinburgh, and in 1897 he became an apprentice stonemason, working under Birnie Rhind, who was a respected monumental sculptor of the time. Carrick went on to study at Edinburgh College of Art and later became head of sculpture there. During the Great War Carrick served for three years in the Royal Garrison Artillery, an arm of the Royal Artillery, and saw action on the Western Front. His experiences appear to have had a large influence on many of his works.
At the end of the conflict he returned to Edinburgh and shortly thereafter received his first commission to create a war memorial for Lochawe (LINK)* which stands at the entrance to Saint Conan's Kirk. Other examples of Carrick`s work can be found inside that church and at various locations, not only in Scotland and England but also in South Africa. He was also a great influence on sculptors that followed. Above: Detail from the Nursing Services Memorial by Alice Meredith Williams and figures from Carrick`s Royal Artillery Memorial.
The shrine houses a steel casket containing the names of every Scot or member of a Scottish regiment who died as a result of the First World War. The Mercantile Marine Memorial, above right, is by Charles D`Orville Pilkington Jackson ARSA, FRBS, FRSA (11 October 1887 – 20 September 1973). This renowned architect and sculptor whose works include Tillycoultry`s WW2 Garden of Remembrance, the Devonvale Mills War Memorial at Tillycoultry and the Robert the Bruce Statue at Bannockburn, was appointed supervising sculptor for the Scottish National War Memorial project.
Above: The Womens Memorial and, below right, detail from the Nursing Services Memorial, both works by Gertrude Alice Meredith Williams (1877 – 3 March 1934), who generally went by the name of Alice Meredith Williams. In 1902, while in studying in Paris, she met the artist Morris Meredith Williams, four years her junior. Having decided to marry, he left Paris in 1905 for a part-time job as drawing master at Fettes College in Edinburgh. Alice returned to Liverpool, her place of birth, and moved in with two of her sisters temporarily while seeking commissions. She married Williams in 1906 and the couple relocated to Edinburgh.
By June 1916, after a year spent in training, Morris M. Williams was Lieutenant with the 1st Glamorgan Bantams (the 17th Battalion), the Welsh Regiment, fighting in France. Over the next three years, this art school-trained illustrator made hundreds of quick, unofficial, pencil drawings of army life in small pocket-sized sketchbooks. They featured the Welsh Infantry, then the Royal Artillery and finally the Royal Engineers.
Meanwhile, his highly-skilled sculptor wife, Alice, was busy working on a series of painted plaster panoramas of women’s war work, for the Imperial War Museum and on a memorial stained glass window for the 17th Battalion.
In 1920, the architect Sir Robert Lorimer saw Alice’s models and commissioned her to work with him on a major memorial project in the Eastern Cape, South Africa which featured St George slaying the Dragon and four low-relief, bronze panels, illustrating scenes from the South African experience of the war. These included Delville Wood, below left, where more than 2,300 South African troops died. Their next collaboration was on the Paisley War Memorial, considered by many to be one of the finest memorials in Scotland. In 1921, the town council launched a competition to find the best design. There were 197 entries and the one from Robert Lorimer and Alice Meredith Williams came first.
Alice’s sculpture, which is called The Spirit of the Crusaders, features a mounted crusader, carrying the flag of St Andrew and accompanied by four British soldiers moving purposefully forward, despite the weight of their equipment and the never-ending mud. Each figure had been drawn by Morris and modelled by Alice. The figures looking down from the memorial stare visitors directly in the eye. The sculpture was expertly cast by J.W. Singer in Frome, in Somerset and was unveiled in the pouring rain, in July 1924, by Mrs McNab, a widow who had lost three sons in the war.
This work led directly to Morris and Alice’s collaboration with Lorimer on the Scottish National War Memorial. Constructed from a former barrack building within the walls of Edinburgh Castle, this extraordinary act of remembrance features the work of eleven artists and more than 200 craftspeople and labourers. Alice designed twelve pieces and collaborated with Morris on three of them, including a bronze panel in memory of the London, Liverpool, Tyneside, Canadian, South African and Scottish and the famous bronze frieze around the walls of the shrine. The frieze, in four panels, two long and two short, commemorates sixty roles played by men and women (not forgetting the horses, mules, dogs and pigeons) during war. These four panels are linked by a fifth with thorns, for sacrifice and bay, for victory and wisdom. (to edit)*
The last images from the memorial website show Alice Meredith Williams` Angel in bronze by Casket in Shrine, Tyneside Scottish Memorial by Alice and Morris Meredith Williams, plus the Earl Haig Memorial by Pilkington Jackson. The Chaplains Memorial by Hazel Armour (Kennedy) is pictured below.