The former RAF mess steward was the last surviving person in the world known to have served in the Great War.
An estimated 15 million people were killed in what proved to be one of the most devastatingly destructive episodes in human history.
The events of 1914-18 not only shaped but defined the lives of many of our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. So many perished or lost the ones they held most dear.
Today, the Second World War tends to dominate our historical imagination, but the earlier conflict created much of the modern world.
Its importance in our history is impossible to overestimate, but it is a part of our collective memory that is in danger of falling from our grasp.
The training trenches in Dreghorn Woods, where thousands of young men were prepared for the killing fields of France, is a powerfully evocative connection with that past.
Yet they are in danger of disappearing forever – and all for the sake of around £10,000.
Imagine what an inspiring memorial these trenches, restored and preserved, would be for future generations. It would be a place where history comes to life. Somewhere every schoolchild in the south-east of Scotland would be able to visit to learn at first hand a little of the sacrifices their forebearers made.
The News today calls on the Ministry of Defence, the city council and the country’s heritage agencies to work together to make this happen.
We must not let our own history slip from our grasp.
Game on at last
Edinburgh will finally get the chance to honour Sir Chris Hoy and his fellow Olympians on Sunday, September 16, we reveal today – more than a month after the Games ended and two days after the national event in Glasgow.
We’ll have to wait to see whether these factors will impact on the numbers who turn out on the Capital’s streets but this has certainly been a huge missed opportunity.
The Evening News has been calling for a parade ever since Sir Chris racked up his record-breaking haul. The delay seems extraordinary as cities across the UK have managed to get their act into gear.
It is good that a date has at least been confirmed at long last. We’ll just have to hope that the spirit of London 2012 lives on just a little while longer.