Gretna Train Crash – Centenary Commemoration, Saturday 23 May

(based on a flyer posted on Tower Wharf Residents’ Association’s website – thank you!)

At 6:49 on 22 May 1915 a troop-train carrying 498 members of the 1st/7th (Leith) Battalion, The Royal Scots, en route to Liverpool to embark for Gallipoli crashed into a local train parked on the wrong line, at Quintinshill, just north of Gretna. A minute later a Glasgow-bound express ploughed into the wreckage. 216 men from the Battalion died and a further 220 were injured in the crash and ensuing fire. Nearly all came from Leith, Musselburgh and Portbello. It is still by far the worst accident for casualties in the history of railways in briatin. Most of those who died were buried in a communal grave in Rosebank Cemetery, Pilrig Street, where a memorial Cross and Plaques commemorate all 216 who died. 

There will be a commemoration of this disaster on Saturday 23 May 2015. The times are

10:15 military parade leaves the former drill hall in Dalmeny Street
10:25 parade arrives at Rosebank Cemetery
11:00 service of commemoration (relayed to TV screen in Pilrig Park
11:45 parade departs Rosebank Cemetery, turning into Broughton

The parade will follow the route taken by the funeral cortege on 24 May 1915, out of Dalmeny Street, left onto Leith Walk and right onto Pilrig Street to the entrance to Rosebank cemetery.

To join in the commemoration service

The best location for most people to join in the service will be from within Pilrig Park where a large-screen TV will relay the broadcast live from Rosebank Cemetery. Views of the memorial and its surrounding area will be severely limited by trees, gravestones and, on the day, by the parade troops. Admission to the cemetery will be limited and will be only by ticket, with priority going to the descendants of those involved in the crash. Details of availability and how to apply will be given on from 30 April 2015.

An alternative viewing area, particularly for those who are disabled, is being provided within Pilrig St Paul’s church on the corner of Leith Walk and Pilrig Street. A new BBC docu-drama of the crash, with commentary by Neil Oliver, will be shown within the church at 11am followed at 12 noon, by the service.