SILENCE fell across the Lothians yesterday as a series of events took place to remember Britain’s war dead.
First Minister Alex Salmond was joined by Lord Provost Donald Wilson, Scottish Secretary Michael Moore, military leaders, veterans and serving personnel at Scotland’s national remembrance ceremony at the Stone of Remembrance at the City Chambers.
A two-minute silence was observed and Mr Salmond was one of more than 60 people who laid a wreath during the traditional Remembrance Sunday commemorations, before he attended a Service of Remembrance at St Giles Cathedral.
It followed the traditional Royal British Legion march to the City Chambers, The Heart of Midlothian Remembrance Day service at Grosvenor Street and other events throughout the region, held against a backdrop of autumn sunshine.
Mr Salmond said: “Today presents every man, woman and child in Scotland with the opportunity to pause and reflect on the immense sacrifice which so many have made to protect our way of life and freedom down the years.
“This moment allows us to pay tribute to all of our servicemen and women, past and present, who have laid down their lives in defence of our country and whose sacrifice will never be forgotten.
“It is important that we also remember that today’s commemoration is not simply about historical events but also about the sacrifices servicemen and women today continue to make.”
Leigh James, speaking on behalf of the Royal British Legion Scotland, said: “We were really pleased that so many people turned out to pay their respects and pay tribute to servicemen and women past and present.
“There have been so many events across Edinburgh and the Lothians where local communities joined together in collective acts of remembrance.
“It was a great turn out in Edinburgh, I arrived well before the service started and already people were at the barriers, and it was nice that after the formalities were over so many members of the public took the time to look at the wreaths.”
Meanwhile, at Craiglockhart, a memorial was unveiled to the Second World War crew of a Wellington bomber which crashed during a secret test flight in 70 years ago.
It remains one of the Capital’s worst ever plane disasters and cost the five crew members their lives – but an even greater tragedy was avoided when the doomed pilot brought the plane down in the densely-populated area without any further loss of life.
A cairn was unveiled near the site of the crash yesterday, as family members of the heroic airmen looked on.
Local Councillor Gordon Buchan is among those who has been pushing for a permanent memorial.
He said: “It’s important that these people are remembered and it’s important that people know the history of the area and the sacrifices that others have made before them. “It also acts as a reminder to the current generations to think of the armed services not just of yesterday but of today as well. We need to look to the past as we look to the future.”