A SINGLE headstone in Glasgow’s Lambhill cemetery brings the horrors of war sharply into focus.

Four brothers, all killed in World War One, a family torn apart – as countless others were.

Remembering their stories, and the impact on the families and communities left behind, is at the heart of the country’s annual commemorations.

As this year’s Remembrance Sunday approaches, however, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is urging Glaswegians to ‘go local’ as many larger events are cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

There are more than 21,000 war dead commemorated in Scotland, spread across 1300 locations and CWGC is opening up a series of digital resources to help people discover their local World War heritage.

Our War Graves, Your History includes local stories, downloadable walking tours and tips on how to understand the history in your hometown.

Glasgow Times:

You can also meet the local team tasked with maintaining war graves in your area.

They include Iain Anderson, CWGC’s regional manager for Scotland. After a long career with CWGC throughout Europe, he now leads the team responsible for war graves in Scotland.

The sites they maintain are spread across the whole country, from the islands and highlands, to city centres and to scores of churchyards and burial grounds that contain just a few war graves, often spotted by the green Commonwealth War Graves signs at their entrance.

They include Glasgow (Western) Necropolis where almost 500 World War casualties are buried.

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Here lie men and women from across the Commonwealth, from South African nurses to Scottish soldiers like the Boyles.

“This is a very sad story, of four brothers, all serving in the First World War, none of whom survived,” explains Iain.

“They left a sister, and two widows – their father, John, a ropemaker, was a widower at the start of the war.”

Glasgow Times:

Robert Boyle, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, is buried in the Lambhill section of the cemetery. He died on 30 July 1916.

His brother Alexander, a stoker, was killed in action in the Dardanelles in July 1915. Samuel was lost in France in October 1914 and David died on the SS Sycamore on August 25, 1917, lost at sea, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London.

“Robert’s headstone is unusual in that the personal inscription also remembers his brothers and far exceeds the 66 character limit set for personal inscriptions, showing that there are always exceptions to the rules,” says Iain.

A number of recruiting depots of Scottish regiments were based in Glasgow during both world wars, most notably the Royal Scots Fusiliers and the Highland Light Infantry.

Several military hospitals opened in Glasgow during the First World War, with Stobhill becoming the 3rd and 4th Scottish General Hospitals, housing a total of 2400 beds.

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The Western District Hospital and Springburn Hospital (now North Glasgow College) were also taken over for military use and facilities in Govan became Merryflats War Hospital.

Those who did not recover were buried in cemeteries in the city, if their families did not request otherwise.

Barry Murphy, CWGC’s Director General, said: “This year has been like no other, and sadly this will have an impact on the usual traditions around Remembrance Sunday. The British public has already shown this year that with the smallest of gestures we can still find a way to thank the bravest among us. We’re encouraging people to seek out the stories in their local area, using the new digital resources.

Anyone wishing to visit a war grave this autumn is reminded to check local guidelines and adhere to social distancing throughout. Find out more at www.cwgc.org/exploreGB