‘Above and beyond’ response
The region’s Armed Forces champion Archie Dryburgh said Dumfries and Galloway has gone “above and beyond” in commemorating the centenary. As residents prepare to mark the Armistice anniversary that ended the Great War and Remembrance Day on Sunday, the councillor said he is “proud” of the dignity and respect shown. He said: “It has been a busy four years in the region comm-emorating the centenary of the First World War and it has been done with dignity and respect from schools to communities. It began with Lights Out events and there has been so much since. Dumfries and Galloway has gone above and beyond some of the other regions in the UK. Communities, schools and churches have all joined in.
“We have had fantastic responses to the Armed Forces Day parades and flag-raising ceremonies. It was wonderful to welcome guests at the Plainstaines to commemorate the Battle of the Somme.
“We have been able to honour all our First World War recipients of the Victoria Cross and we also saw Britain’s worst rail disaster at Quintinshill remembered by the nation.
“We also had the Pack Up Your Troubles Festival in Gretna and Eastriggs which was a big success.”
Mr Dryburgh, who recently held a “thank you” event for the First World War generation in Dumfries with South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth, said the region had also benefited from stunning exhibitions in local museums.
He added: “The exhibitions at Dumfries and Annan and smaller museums have been fantastic in telling the stories of local heroes and our wartime heritage.
“The public have taken these exhibitions to heart and the amount of information, artefacts and photos that have come in have been fantastic and will help make sure they are preserved as a legacy.”
A group of Army Cadets narrated some letters and stories to make a short film which accompanies the Annan exhibition, Records of War: Photography and Letters from World War One.
Mr Dryburgh said: “The cadets were absolutely brilliant, very professional in the way they approached this and how they took it on board. It was good experience for them and they learned a lot about how the Great War affected the town.”
Armed Forces champion Archie Dryburgh dressed for First World War