Sobering photo shows how devastating WW1 was for one Scots regiment

A sobering photograph doing the rounds on social media is serving as a stark reminder of how devastating the Great War was for Scots regiments sent to fight in France and Belgium.

The composite picture, which has been posted on Twitter, Reddit and Facebook, shows the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders in 1914 standing in front of Edinburgh Castle as well as a second picture of them in 1918 when they returned from the war.

The first features six full rows of men, with hundreds of soldiers standing to attention while the second shows just under 30 left.

Though the bottom picture hasn’t been authenticated, with some questioning if it is real, the photograph still acts as a grim reminder of how high the toll of life was during the First World War.

The original post has been shared nearly 4,000 times at time of writing, with users flocking to comment on how it is a “very powerful anti-war” message.

One user posted that if it is indeed true, it is an “appalling reminder” and that we “must never forget” the sacrifices these men made.


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On Reddit, a user found that the original picture was from the Kildonan Museum on South Uist, it was part of an exhibit which states: “The 1st Camerons sustained heavy losses in the early months of the war with the result that by Christmas 1914, all but one officer and 27 men were killed or wounded of the 27 officers and 1,000 men whose tartan had swung down the Lawnmarket from Edinburgh Castle on 12 August.”

Private Allan McLachlan of the 3rd Battalion, Cameron Highlanders, was one of those soldiers lost during the Great War. Picture: John Devlin