THE Duke of Kent, President of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, will unveil a new-style information panel at the Portsmouth Naval Memorial next week, which tells the story of Scotland and British Lions legend David Bedell-Sivright.
Bedell-Sivright was among 12 greats inducted to Scottish Rugby’s inaugural Hall of Fame in 2010. The panel, to be unveiled on Tuesday, is among 500 that the Commission is installing to provide more information for the public during the centenary of the First World War.
More than 100 of the panels are being erected at UK sites to provide information about the many thousands of First World War casualties, from all parts of the Commonwealth, who are buried or commemorated there. Each of the panels carries information about the site of the cemetery or memorial. Each panel also carries a QR (Quick Response) code which when scanned with a smartphone provides access to further information, including the personal stories of some of the casualties buried or commemorated at the location.
HRH The Duke of Kent said: “The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is at the heart of events to mark the centenary of the First World War. Our cemeteries and memorials will be the focus for many acts of remembrance over the coming years and this initiative will help inform visitors of the historical context, while putting a face to the names of those who died.”
The QR code on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial panel reveals the story of surgeon David Bedell-Sivright, described as “One of the best forwards ever to wear a rugby jersey.”
Bedell-Sivright (Cambridge University, West of Scotland and Edinburgh University) debuted against Wales in 1900 and went on to win 22 Scotland caps. A pioneer of the wing forward role, he was regarded as the hardest man to play for Scotland and is the only Scot ever to play in three Triple Crown winning sides (1901, 1903 and 1907). He was the only player to tour with both the 1903 and 1904 British Isles sides (captaining the 1904 Australasian tour, aged 23) and also captained Scotland. After he retired from international rugby he became the 1909 Scottish heavyweight amateur boxing champion.
Bedell-Sivright died on 5 September 1915 while serving with the Royal Naval Division during the Gallipoli campaign.