The sacrifice of Scottish sporting stars who took part in the Battle of the Somme will be remembered at two special services today.
Services will be staged in Edinburgh and France to mark the century since the 15th and 16th Royal Scots went into action on July 1 1916.
The 16th was famously called McCrae’s Battalion after Lieutenant-Colonel Sir George McCrae, who rallied the men of the Edinburgh to enlist beside him.
During their advance on German defensive positions on the opening day of the Somme they lost more than three quarters of their strength.
Those who survived regrouped at the French village of Contalmaison — where a Scottish cairn was erected in 2004.
A memorial service will take place there at 9.15am French time and highlights will be relayed to the civic event at St Cuthbert’s Church at 12.30pm.
The St Cuthbert’s service is being organised by the McCrae’s Battalion Trust and will be led by Army Padres.
McCrae’s Battalion is also known as the Sporting Battalion after a group of Heart of Midlothian players enlisted, followed by professionals from other football and sporting clubs, and their supporters.
One of the organisers of the service is Janice Todd, an elder at St Cuthbert’s church and whose uncle Jimmy Todd was one of the players who signed up.
The Raith Rovers player was the first footballer in the battalion to be killed, falling in action before the Somme.
Janice said: “I think this event is important because in a few years the immediate family members of the men who served and made the supreme sacrifice won’t be here to remember them and the First World War will, inevitably, be relegated to the history books.
“We, in St Cuthbert’s Church and McCrae’s Battalion Trust, want people to know about this unique service so that they can come along and remember the fallen with us.”
Representatives from Hearts, Hibs, Dunfermline Athletic, Raith Rovers and Falkirk teams will take part in the Edinburgh service while the chairman of McCrae’s Battalion Trust, Major Gary Tait, will be attending the Contalmaison service.
Around 250 pilgrims and associates of the trust are making the journey to France.