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Remembrance Service for 'Sporting Battalion'

Tuesday June 19 2018

An Edinburgh Church is to host a community World War 1 commemoration of the famous ‘McCrae’s Battalion’.

Also known as the ‘Sporting Battalion’ because it was made up largely of footballers from Heart of Midlothian and other Edinburgh and Fife teams, their supporters and other sports players, the battalion was raised at a meeting in the Usher Hall on Friday November 27 1914.

Most of the battalion, formally the 16th Royal Scots, raised by Colonel Sir George McCrae, didn't return from the war.

The battalion will be commemorated on July 1 at 11am in St Cuthbert’s Church, where a wreath will be blessed. Before the service there will be a live video link to a ceremony in Contalmaison in France, where the McCraes Battalion Great War Memorial is situated. Contalmaison was one of the allied objectives in the Battle of the Somme and soldiers from the battalion were involved in the fight to secure it.

After the service, a piper will lead the congregation up to the Usher Hall, to lay the wreath.

There will be refreshments, and another chance to view the footage from Contalmaison, in the Lindisfarne Room of St Cuthbert’s from about 1pm.

The Act of Remembrance at the Usher Hall will occur annually in future, on the Sunday nearest to July 1.

Feature: A Battalion with a Difference


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