Share your family’s World War One story with us

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Friday, August 3, marks 100 days to the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One.

An Allied counter-attack, the Hundred Day Offensive, finally broke the stalemate on the Western Front and brought World War One to a close.

Symbol of remembrance...Elaine Edwards, National War Museum exhibition co-curator, holding a 1920s waxed paper poppy. (Pic: Neil Hanna)

Symbol of remembrance...Elaine Edwards, National War Museum exhibition co-curator, holding a 1920s waxed paper poppy. (Pic: Neil Hanna)

Today, the Midlothian Advertiser is launching its own Hundred Day Offensive, to ensure everyone locally has an opportunity to remember, reflect on and mark this historic occasion.

And we’re asking our army of readers to take part in the campaign, by paying special tribute to their own World War One heroes.

The men who so bravely fought for our freedom from 1914 to 1918 can no longer share their stories with us – sadly, they are all now gone.

But we’re hoping the proud families of these men will give them a voice – so that none of us ever forgets the debt we owe.

Appeal...Colin Hume, Johnston Press Scottish weeklies editorial director, is asking readers to share their World War One stories and pictures.

Appeal...Colin Hume, Johnston Press Scottish weeklies editorial director, is asking readers to share their World War One stories and pictures.

Colin Hume, Johnston Press Scottish weeklies editorial director, explained more about the campaign.

“No village, town or city in Scotland was left unscathed by World War One,” he said.

“Countless sons, brothers and husbands were lost to the war and their families were left here to grieve them.

“Also here at home, in our foundries and on our farms, workers toiled long and hard to help feed the war machine.

“With 100 days to go until the anniversary of the end of World War One, we want local families to share their stories with our readers and ensure that these brave men are never forgotten.”

Remembrance Day this year will be a particularly poignant one, marking as it does 100 years since the end of the war.

More Britons died in World War One than in any other conflict; around six million men were mobilised and, of those, just over 700,000 were killed.

Nary a village, town or city in Scotland was unscathed – as evidenced by the war memorials which stand proudly within them.

The majority were constructed after the war ended, their aim being to provide communities with a focal point for their grief.

One hundred years since the war ended, on November 11, 2018, they will serve that self-same purpose.

Up and down the country, special commemorations are also being staged to remember the fallen and all those who fought for our freedom.

The National War Museum in Edinburgh Castle is currently hosting an exhibition, The Poppy: A Symbol of Remembrance.

Featuring loans from Poppy Scotland and the Lady Haig Poppy Factory, it explores the origins of the symbolism of the poppy from the famous poem, In Flanders Fields by John McCrae, through to the earliest adoptions of it as a symbol of remembrance.

It includes examples from 1921, when the first poppy day took place in Britain, and 1926 when the first poppies were made at Lady Haig’s Edinburgh factory.

Personal effects and correspondence from World War One servicemen are also featured, showing the impact the war had on families across the country.

The exhibition is open until January 27, 2019 and is included in castle admission.

Also in Edinburgh, at Murrayfield Stadium on August 19, families are being invited to take part in the Big Poppy Bounce.

From 12pm to 2pm, people will space hop 100 metres to mark the 100th anniversary – and raise vital funds for Poppy Scotland.

Tickets are £10 for adults and over 16s, £5 for children aged five to 15, with under 5s bouncing for free. Visit www.poppyscotland.org.uk/get-involved/the-big-poppy-bounce for more details.

Far, Far from Ypres – the acclaimed production of World War One songs, poems and stories following the terrifying journey of a Scot to the trenches and back – is coming back to Edinburgh, to the Usher Hall, on Sunday, November 11, at 7.30pm. Tickets are £20, £16 and £12 on 0131 228 1155 or at www.usherhall.co.uk.

Other notable dates include the opening of the Edinburgh Garden of Remembrance on October 29 and in Glasgow on October 30; Legion Scotland’s Festival of Remembrance in Dundee on November 3; and the Armistice 100 parade on November 11.

And, of course, on Sunday, November 11, Remembrance services will be held in towns and villages across Midlothian, with wreath-laying ceremonies at local war memorials.

To share your memories and pictures, send an email – entitled World War One – to midlothianadvertiser@jnlothian.co.uk.