Protector of Scotland’s 20k war graves recognised

Picture: TSPL
Picture: TSPL
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The man responsible for the care of more than 20,000 war graves in Scotland has been recognised with a special award.

Iain Anderson, Regional Supervisor for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), was presented with a special President’s Commendation from The Duke of Kent at St. James’ Palace in recognition of his outstanding contribution and dedication.

In addition to his normal duties – caring for war graves at more than 1,200 locations throughout Scotland – Iain has been responsible for preserving one of the remotest war grave sites in the CWGC’s care.

Iain oversaw the installation of a 600kg granite memorial to commemorate the resting place of six airmen on Ben More in the Western Highlands who were killed when their Avro Anson plane crashed on the mountain in April 1941.

The crash site is so remote that the only way to reach it is a five mile trek on foot. To install the memorial, Iain had to liaise with numerous local and military stakeholders, eventually arranging delivery of the granite marker by RAF helicopter.

The CWGC’s Director General, Alan Pateman-Jones, said: “We are very grateful for all the hard work Iain has done.

“The graves at Ben More are so remote that the only way to reach them is on foot, and, initially, Iain had to be guided to the site by a member of the local Mountain Rescue Team. Iain’s hard work and planning, together with his dedication and considerable tenacity, have ensured that the burial site is now marked and protected for the future.”

Iain said: “It is an honour to accept this award and I am very grateful for the recognition that not only myself, but my entire team in Scotland receive for doing such an important job.

“It was quite a challenge to get the new memorial at Ben More in place, but it was also a very rewarding project.

“I’ve been in close contact with the relatives throughout and it is hugely gratifying to see how pleased they have been with our efforts to commemorate their loved ones.”

The Commission maintains the graves and memorials of the 1.7 million Commonwealth servicemen and women who died during the two world wars. It also holds and updates an extensive and accessible records archive.

The Commission operates in over 23,000 locations in 153 countries across all continents except for Antarctica.

From Shetland to the Borders, the CWGC ensures that the sacrifice of thousands of men and women who died during the world wars is remembered in perpetuity.

The UK as a whole contains over 170,000 Commonwealth war graves, with over 20,000 of these found north of the border.