HOLLYWOOD actor Dougray Scott will open major exhibition in Aberdeen on the role of The Gordon Highlanders in the Battle of Somme offensive.
His grandfather, Lance Corporal John Patterson Morrison was a Cameron Highlander who fought at the Somme during 1916 and was transferred to 7th Battalion The Gordon Highlanders in 1917 where he fought at Arras and Passchendaele.
Having a celebrity of the stature of Dougray agree to open the exhibition shows that many people have a connection to the Great War through their relationsBryan Snelling, chief executive of the Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen
The 7th Battalion had suffered heavy losses during the fighting at the Somme, particularly during Beaumont Hamel in November 1916.
Scott, originally from Glenrothes and now based in the United States, has worked with the Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen to trace the military service of his grandfather, originally from Waterside near Dalmellington in Ayrshire.
Now the star of Ripley’s Game, Desperate Housewives and Fear the Walking Dead, will return to Aberdeen next Thursday, March 3, to open Sacrifice at the Somme: The Gordons and the Blood-soaked Standoff, 1916.
Bryan Snelling, chief executive of the museum, said: “We are extremely pleased that Dougray has agreed to open our new exhibition. We were able to help him find out more about his grandfather’s service with The Regiment through our Research Department.
“Having a celebrity of the stature of Dougray agree to open the exhibition shows that many people have a connection to the Great War through their relations, not least the people of the North East of Scotland, and we hope that they will take the opportunity to visit the museum and the exhibition to find out more.”
More than 58,000 British casualties were declared during the 141 day battle, the majority in the first hour.
Three Scottish division took part along with 51 infantry battalions.
Some Scottish battalions such as the 16th Royal Scots suffered badly, particularly on the first day.
This battalion had been raised in Edinburgh and included the whole of the Heart of Midlothian first team and many other footballers and sportsmen.
Almost three quarters of the battalion were killed or wounded on July 1st 2016 - the first day of the offensive.
That same day, the 2nd Battalion The Gordon Highlanders also paid a heavy price and lost 16 out of 24 officers and 445 out of 783 soldiers.
By the end of the year, 1,546 Gordon Highlanders had either been killed in action or died of their wounds. At most, the front line had been advanced by about 6 miles.
Ruth Duncan, curator of the Gordon Highlanders Museum, said: “The Battles of the Somme are collectively remembered as the epitome of pointless sacrifice and have left their mark on the history of The Regiment.
“It is a devastating but important story to tell, as even one hundred years later, the impact of those battles is still being felt by people today.
“The exhibition presents a whole range of artefacts from soldiers of different backgrounds and ranks to tell the story of the Regiment’s involvement at the Somme through the lives of those who experienced it.”
Sacrifice at the Somme: The Gordons and the Blood-soaked Standoff, 1916 is open to the public at the Gordon Highlanders Museum, Viewfield Road, Aberdeen, until November 2016, 10am – 4.30pm.