World War 1 and Scotland: UK country that volunteered more than any other in the Great War, 108 Anniversary

On July 28, 1914, World War 1 began. It was a horrific conflict that forever changed the cultural, economic and social fabric of Scotland, which proportionately volunteered more support than any other area of the UK.

The Great War summary: how did World War 1 begin?

World War 1 began in 1914 after the assassination of Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand by Gavrilo Princip (a Serbian nationalist).

His murder propelled Europe into a war that lasted until 1918.

Corporal Stuart Gillies of The 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland practices his bagpipes in Loos British Cemetery during a rehearsal for a re-burial ceremony on March 13, 2014 in Loos-en-Gohelle, France. Almost 100 years after they were killed in action in the World War One battle of Loos in 1915, twenty British soldiers will be re-interred in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Loos British Cemetery in Northern France. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

During the war, Britain, France, Italy, Romania, Canada, Japan, Russia and the United States (Allied Powers) fought against Germany, Bulgaria, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire (the Central Powers).

Due to the horror of trench warfare and industrialised military technology, the Great War saw unprecedented levels of death and destruction.

In the end, the Allied Powers claimed victory, but 40 million soldier and civilian casualties worldwide were recorded.

How many Scots volunteered in the First World War?

Approximately 190000 Scottish soldiers volunteered for the Great War prior to conscription.

It is estimated that roughly 190,000 Scots volunteered to assist the war effort before conscription was then mandated in 1916.

In Scotland today, almost every village and town has its own memorial to commemorate those who lost their lives in the war; a testament to the nation's huge volunteering effort.

How many Scots died in the First World War?

At least 134,712 brave men and women from Scotland were reported to have died during the Great War.

This figure reflects the names inscribed on the rolls of honour of the Scottish National War Memorial, which includes Scots who had left Scotland prior to the war, but returned to do their duty.

The death toll of Scots in WW1 has been a topic of controversy for some, and many assert that the country suffered disproportionately compared to other UK countries.

Certainly, Scottish areas like the Isle of Lewis and Harris, sustained some of the highest proportional losses of any British area.

Some researchers have deduced the death count could in fact be far greater.

However, Lt Colonel Roger J. Binks, Secretary to the Trustees of the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle, said: "I don't believe that there is an absolute figure.

"I don't think there ever can be."

Why was Scotland called the “workshop of the world” during WW1?

Scotland’s contribution to the war effort was far greater than its massive count of volunteer soldiers alone.

Scottish agriculture and industry was hailed as the “workshop of the world” during the Great War.

The iron foundries, steelworks, shipyards, and engineering shops of Glasgow churned out essential artillery, munitions and battleships.

In addition, the huge Dornock Munitions Factory cropped up in Dumfries and Galloway, which was the UK’s largest cordite factory (an explosive agent required for ammunition.)

Where is the Scottish National War Memorial?

Located at Edinburgh Castle, Scotland’s collective history from the Great War is memorialised by the Scottish National War Memorial.

It opened in 1928 and acts as both a museum and a memorial.

It stands to represent the scale of Scotland’s military sacrifice and uphold honourable remembrance of those brave soldiers.

Given the massive volunteering effort of Scotland during WW1, however, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a town or village without a dedicated memorial.

Lest we forget.