44 Buchanan Street, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 8RF - 0131 554 0953

Company Registration Number: 197820 - OSCR Charity Number: SC006692


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Remembering the Leith Battalion

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In the early morning of 22nd May 1915 one thousand and twenty-eight officers, and men, of the 7th (Leith) Royal Scots set out for Gallipoli. As they set out from Larbert Station no one foresaw the tragic events that would unfold as a head on collision with another train at Quintinshill, near Gretna, would take the lives of 216 men.

Few crashes in Europe can have had more of an impact upon one small community than the Gretna raill disaster which took place at Quintinshill Junction on the 22nd May 1915.

Three trains were involved; a special troop train, a local train and the night express coming north from Euston Station, London. The special troop train carried the Leith based 7th Battalion Royal Scots, Territorial Force bound for Liverpool on their way to Gallipoli as part of 156th Brigade of the 52nd (Lowland) Division. The Battalion had been mobilised at the outbreak of the First World War and had served on coastal defences. Bound for war and in high spirits they left Larbert in two trains and headed south. It was the second of these trains that was involved in the crash.

The Signalmen at Quintinshill, anxious to complete their paperwork, simply forgot the local train which should have been shunted on to a loop line but which was sitting directly outside their signal box and gave the all clear signal for the troop train to come through. The impact was so great that the troop train was crushed to less than half its normal length and the wreckage overturned on to the northbound line.

Minutes later the northbound express from Euston crashed into the debris setting it on fire. It was Britain’s worst train crash. Three officers, twenty-nine non-commissioned officers and one hundred and eighty two soldiers were killed or burned to death. Thousands lined the streets of Leith for the funeral procession and burial at Rosebank Cemetery.

Most of those who survived the crash returned home and the remainder ofthe 7th Battalion sailed to Gallipoli. The two signalmen were held responsible and served terms of imprisonment. The Pilmeny Youth Centre dedicates these pages to the memory of all those Leith soldiers and their
comrades who set out on 22 May 1915....and never returned.

The Pilmeny Youth Centre are planning four commemoration themes to remember the tragic events of Gretna 1915. The local community needs to open a window to this tragic and rarely every mentioned event. The Pilmeny Youth Centre research team and our partner research team, Leith Academy Princes Trust XL Group, has uncovered many strands to this tragedy during our research. Our Commemorative Stained Glass Plaque and the Tree of Life will be a fitting tribute to the memory of Leith's own and stand as testament that in future years the community will never forget the Leith Battalion 1/7 Royal Scots.

For details on the four themes please visit their dedicated pages which are linked at the top of this page.

The Casualties

Information displayed in captions is correct to the best of our knowledge following research carried out by project staff and young people from Leith Academy's XL Group. Photos courtesy of Andrew Grant.

Photograph of the wreckage at Quintinshill on 22nd May 2015.

Leith Academy XL Group pupils visit Rosebank Cemetry, the final resting place of many of the casualties.

If you require any more information please contact us using the enquiry form at the bottom of the page. Alternatively, you can call the PYC on 0131 554 0953 or email gretna@pilmeny.co.uk



Friday 16th August 2013

The Pilmeny Youth Centre is delighted to announce the appointment of three new directors. A warm welcome to Cindy Pritchard, Tom Burnett and Frank Ross. All of our new directorship appointments, have a long history of working alongside, or supporting the youth centres work in the community, and the increase in board directorships will allow the board to consolidate its current and future development strategies. Welcome also to, Maria Croall who joins our management committee. Maria will represent our landlords and the congregation of Pilrig St Paul's Church.

Thursday 8th August 2013

Thanks to support and funding from the Big Lottery Fund in tandem with The Scottish Government the PYC will continue its out of school sports provision with our new Fit4Fun project. Taking place over three separate days, the project will cater for children in Primary 1 up to Primary 6. See poster for details.

Friday 2nd August 2013

PYC music project hitting the right notes. Thanks to funding support, and generosity of the Moffat Charitable Trust and the Ernest Cook Trust, our sucessful music project will continue for another year. In addition, PYC is now in a position to expand its music provision, to offer tuition to older children within the community. Both projects, are due to commence on Monday 19 August, continuing until end of June 2014. Registration is now open for budding musicians looking for tuition at our Senior music sessions.......

Wednesday 31st July 2013

P-KAD Project. Our Pilmeny Kick About Nights moved a step closer to reality with capital funding support awarded by the Gordon Faser Trust, The John Watson Trust and the Rank Foundation. The generous contributions from all three funders has allowed PYC to lay the "foundations" for our winter evening sports projects with the purchase of four portable floodlight rigs that will allow PYC to facilitate evenings sports activities - 4 a side football - Basketball - Unihock etc at the two recreational areas contained within Dalmeny Street Park. Two ideal sites, used by local children and young people, from dawn to dusk in the Spring and Summer evenings, but lie redundant as soon as the clocks change in October. When the dark nights flood in....its all systems go for P-KAD






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