Scotland : First World War Commemorations Panel

A 12-strong panel of experts from across Scottish society has been appointed to support Scotland’s commemorations of the centenary of World War One.

The newly appointed Scottish Commemorations Panel comprises a mix of professionals from the military and veterans communities, community leaders, clergy, media, historians and education specialists from all corners of Scotland.

They are:

·         Brigadier David Allfrey MBE

·         The Duke of Buccleuch

·         Maggie Cunningham

·         Reverend Ron Ferguson

·         Lieutenant General Sir Alistair Irwin KCB CBE

·         Group Captain Bob Kemp, CBE, QVRM, AE, DL

·         Magnus Linklater CBE

·         Dr Bill Maxwell, FRSA

·         Professor Louise Richardson

·         Trevor Royle FRSE

·         Commodore Charles Stevenson

·         Professor Sir Hew Strachan

The Panel will support the Chair, former Army Chaplain Norman Drummond, in his work to recommend a preferred approach for Scotland’s commemorations of the forthcoming centenary. They will also oversee the delivery of the programme.

The current Tri-Service Heads in Scotland, Rear Admiral Chris Hockley, Major General Nick Eeles and Air Commodore Gerry Mayhew, will provide additional advisory support to the Panel.

The Panel’s first meeting will take place in Edinburgh on Thursday (March 14), and is expected to consider how they can best support the development of the commemorative programme, and which key dates or themes could feature within it.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, said:

“This Panel brings together 12 remarkable people with an exceptional range of skills, experience and expertise across many fields. Their wisdom and advice will be extremely helpful in guiding Scotland’s approach to commemorations sensitively over the period to 2019 and ensuring that Scotland’s commemorative plans are relevant to all parts of society.”

Norman Drummond, Chair of the Scottish Commemorations Panel, said:

“Scotland’s Commemorative Programme must provide opportunities for people of all ages to learn about the war in meaningful ways and so to enable them to explore the resonance of World War I and its aftermath to contemporary life here in Scotland and beyond. This view is shared by the Panel.

“Within the Panel, Commodore Charles Stevenson, Lieutenant General Sir Alistair Irwin and Group Captain Bob Kemp from the Tri-Service Veterans community, will help to determine how best to recognise the sacrifice of Scotland’s servicemen and women and the appropriate commemoration of the battles in which Scotland played a key role.

“I am joined from the world of education by Dr Louise Richardson, Principal of St Andrews University, and by Dr Bill Maxwell, Chief Executive of Education Scotland. Both will help to ensure that the Commemorative Programme takes full account of how our pupils, students and teachers learn about World War I.

“We shall also consult our local authorities. In this regard the Duke of Buccleuch, in addition to his valuable links with the network of Lord Lieutenants across Scotland, will ensure that the train crash at Quintinshill near Gretna on 22 May 1915 – with the loss of 214 Officers and men of the 7th Battalion Royal Scots Territorial Force – will be suitably commemorated.

“Professor Sir Hew Strachan and Trevor Royle will set the context of our commemorations and ensure we maintain historical accuracy and perspective in all that we do.

“Brigadier David Allfrey, Producer and Chief Executive of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Maggie Cunningham, Chairman of BBC Alba, and Magnus Linklater, former Editor of The Scotsman and The Times Scotland, are from the arts and broadcasting fields and will undoubtedly inject creativity into our collective thinking.

“Ron Ferguson, as a former Leader of the Iona Community and Minister of St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, will help us to consider how to commemorate the momentous role that Orkney played during the War and in particular within the Battle of Jutland in 1916.

“The Panel is committed to developing a programme of which Scotland can be rightly proud.”

The Panel Members

Brigadier David Allfrey MBE
Brigadier David Allfrey is Producer and Chief Executive of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and Events and Festivals Champion for the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA).

The Duke of Buccleuch
Captain General, The Queen’s Bodyguard for Scotland, Royal Company of Archers and Hon Colonel, 52nd Lowland 6th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland and formerly President of the National Trust for Scotland.

Maggie Cunningham
Chairman of BBC Alba and a Director of Sabhal Mor Ostaig. Former Deputy Controller of BBC Scotland, Head of Radio Scotland and Secretary to the Broadcasting Council for Scotland.

Reverend Ron Ferguson
A former Leader of the Iona Community and Minister of St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, Ron is a columnist, author and playwright and lives in Orkney.

Lieutenant General Sir Alistair Irwin KCB CBE
Sir Alistair’s long career in the Army culminated in his holding the appointment of Adjutant General, the Army Board member responsible for all personnel matters. Since leaving the Army he has been closely involved with veterans affairs in Scotland. Most relevant in the context of the Great War commemorations he is President both of the Royal British Legion Scotland and Poppy Scotland. He has been a Commissioner of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission since 2005 and is currently its Vice Chairman.

Group Captain Bob Kemp, CBE, QVRM, AE, DL
A former Royal Air Force aviator, the Inspector of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force and an Industrialist, currently Director Scotland, Northern Ireland and Northern England of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.

Magnus Linklater CBE
Magnus Linklater has held a number of senior editorships on newspapers in London and Scotland, including the Evening Standard, Sunday Times, Observer and London Daily News. He has been Editor of The Scotsman, and columnist and Scotland Editor of The Times. A former Chairman of the Scottish Arts Council, he is the author of several books on current affairs and Scottish history.

Dr Bill Maxwell, FRSA
Dr Bill Maxwell was appointed as Chief Executive of Education Scotland in May 2011. Education Scotland has been established by the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning as a new style of integrated improvement agency, supporting quality and improvement in Scottish Education. Bill previously held the post of Senior Chief Inspector of Education in Scotland and, prior to that, Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales.

Professor Louise Richardson
Professor Richardson was appointed Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of St Andrews after a 20 year career at Harvard University. A political scientist by training, she has written and taught extensively on the subject of political violence.

Trevor Royle FRSE
Author of more than 30 books on the subject of war and empire including “Flowers of the Forest: Scotland and the First World War (2006)”. Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Honorary Fellow in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh.

Commodore Charles Stevenson CBE
Commodore Stevenson CBE served in the Royal Navy in Destroyers and Aircraft Carriers. A former Director of Naval Surveying, Oceanography and Meteorology at the Ministry of Defence he completed his service as the Naval Regional Commander, Scotland and Northern Ireland. He now runs his own Company as well as being an Ambassador for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Professor Sir Hew Strachan
Chichele Professor of the History of War, Oxford University; Commonwealth War Graves Commissioner; Trustee of the Imperial War Museum; member of the UK National First World War Committee.


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