Quintinshill (Gretna) rail disaster marked with commemorative events

Our First World War commemorations continue as 57 3rd year pupils from Larbert High School attend a talk held at Larbert Library on 27th May to commemorate the Quintinshill (Gretna) rail disaster.

Artist Jan Bee Brown’s talk will be based around the events of Quintinshill and the story of John Sutherland, a former teacher at Laurieston Primary School and member of the Tryst Golf Club in Larbert. Sutherland was billeted alongside the troops involved in the Quintinshill disaster in the Tryst Ground just behind Ochiltree Park, the ground of Stenhousemuir F.C., but is believed to have left on one of the trains just prior to the train involved in the accident. He met up with the survivors after the disaster and sailed with them from Liverpool on board the ‘Empress’ bound for Gallipoli. 

Jan has also created a memory box exhibit, as a visual re-telling of the story of John Sutherland. The new memory box will be added to the existing displays created by the pupils of Laurieston Primary School as part of FCT’s Heritage Lottery funded project ‘Our Area in the First World War, memorial, reflection and restoration’. John Sutherland’s photograph is amongst those included in the Laurieston School Album compiled by James Mather, Head Master of Laurieston Primary during the war. (The album is held in Falkirk Archives). The album was the initial source of inspiration behind the memory boxes created by the pupils. The exhibition also includes memory box exhibits created by adult participants from the local community which explore more wartime stories from across the area.

The Exhibition ‘Our Area in the First World War: memorial, reflection and restoration’ will be on display in Larbert Library to tie in with the Quintinshill anniversary from 8th May to the 13th June.

The 3rd year pupils from Larbert High school will also be attending commemorative events held in Edinburgh to mark the anniversary of the Quintinshill (Gretna) rail disaster and will participate in the Quintinshill Commemorative Parade in Larbert on the 21st of May, organised by Councillor Buchanan.

Chairman of the Board Ian Scott said: “The support from the Heritage Lottery Fund has enabled us to work in partnership with local schools to help young people develop connections with the heritage of their area and broaden their understanding of the scale and impact of the momentous events surrounding the First World War.”

Larbert Library will also be hosting a talk, Remembering the Quintinshill Disaster, open to the public on Thursday 21st May at 7pm, where local historical interpreter Robert Frank Holsman will commemorate the centenary of Britain's biggest railway disaster with stories of the 7th Royal Scots, Quintinshill, and World War One. Tickets are free from Larbert Library.


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Last updated: 25 July 2014 at 16:14