The main War Graves Week events have moved from Wales to Scotland today, to Edinburgh (Comely Bank) Cemetery. The two Public Engagement Coordinators for the CWGC who cover Scotland are Patricia Keppie and Sehar Sardar.
Patricia is the Public Engagement Coordinator for Scotland (East), which covers the Scottish Borders, Lothian, Midlothian, the City of Edinburgh, Falkirk, Stirling, Fife, Perth and Kinross, Angus, Aberdeenshire, Moray, the Highlands, and the Orkney and Shetland Islands. She has been working for the Commission for more than four years and thoroughly enjoys engaging the public with the 21,000+ commemorations in Scotland. As someone who has 10 family members commemorated by the CWGC, she said “I know just how important this connection is.”
Patricia is also honoured to represent the Commission at many national events in Scotland; one of her proudest moments was laying a wreath at the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle on Anzac Day.
Sehar is the Public Engagement Coordinator for Scotland (West), which covers Argyll and Bute, Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde, Ayrshire, the City of Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Dumfries and Galloway, and the Western and Southern Isles. Her background is in learning and engagement as well as heritage education, and she has been interested in the history of this region for a long time. She is particularly keen to explore and engaging the public with Glasgow (Western) Necropolis, which is a source of incredible local history from both World Wars.
She is extremely pleased to represent an organisation like the CWGC that is committed to commemorating the men and women who died in the First and Second World Wars. When speaking on this, she said: “It makes me happy to know that my work for the Commission will help keep the stories of those casualties alive for future generations.”
Comely Bank Cemetery
Comely Bank Cemetery is situated in the heart of Edinburgh and is the final resting place of over 300 service personnel. Laid out in 1896, the cemetery contains over 200 burials of the First World War. The Second World War plot is immediately in front of the First World War graves plot and contains more than half of the 76 Second World War burials at the site. The cemetery also contains the war grave of a member of the Finnish Legion and two non-war service burials.
An unusual feature of the cemetery is that the granite headstones in the war graves plot lie flat, a decision that was made by Imperial War Graves Commission architect and native of Edinburgh, Sir Robert Lorimer.
One of the women commemorated at Edinburgh (Comely Bank) Cemetery is Driver Jean ‘Jeanie’ Cockburn. She served in the Women’s Legion and was attached to the Royal Army Service Corps when she died in December 1918. Her Personal Inscription, presumably chosen by her sister who lived nearby, says: “IN LOVING MEMORY”.