Cha do dhùin dorust, nach d’ fhosgail dorust ~ No door ever shut but another opened

Saturday, 29 November 2014

WW1 commemorations - McCrae's Battalion Centenary Usher Hall

There are many commemoration events taking place for WW1 around the country.

Last night I attended an emotional McCrae's Battalion Centenary at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh for an evening of music, narration and drama.

100 years ago yesterday George McCrae led hundreds of men from a rally at the Usher Hall to the Palace Hotel in Castle Street where the recruiting office was located to join the 16th Royal Scots.

He had earlier recruited the entire Heart of Midlothian football team, the first professional team to sign up en masse in the country. Players and supporters from Falkirk, Dunfermline, Hibernian and Raith Rovers also joined McCrae's one of the first of the 'Sportsmen' battalions who rather than being drawn from a wide geographical area were largely made up of men who played football or other sports together.

The BBC have made a fine docu-drama of the story: Hearts and WW1

Last night’s event culminated in song including: Hearts of Glory sung by Craig Herbertson and the fine Somewhere in France written and sung by historian Jack Alexander:
A CD of all the songs is planned for release next year.

A much longer documentary of the story is available at

The square outside the Usher Hall was renamed yesterday as McCrae's Place

Photo courtesy of Ian Cunningham