The Cross of Sacrifice pictured right is a standard feature of all British Commonwealth War Cemeteries throughout the world. It was designed shortly after the 1914-1918 War.
Prior to WW1 no nation had systematically cared for its war dead – in fact, throughout the ages only the graves of the Great Commanders received any recognition. During WW1 the Imperial War Graves Commission was created as a permanent organisation to safeguard for all time the remains of our gallant dead, wherever they might be. As time passes, very few know those who gave their lives. This is an attempt to show that the men and women, on the St Michael’s and North Merchiston memorials, once lived their lives in the same houses, in the same streets, as others do today.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (‘CWGC’) is the official reference source of Commonwealth military personnel who died in conflict since the 20th century, although only basic information is held in their database.
In the 1980’s a member of a church in the Viewforth area, Gordon Taylor, started researching the names on the memorials of all churches in that area. As a development of his significant interest in military medals, Gordon had researched the backgrounds of many of the holders of these medals. In parallel with this, he had researched the backgrounds of many servicemen who died in the major conflicts of the 20th century, so that a human story could be attached to the names which appear on the war memorials.
This research was achieved by focusing on a small group or groups, and one such group comprised those whose names were found on the war memorials of the three main churches (Viewforth, St David’s and St Oswald’s) which existed in the locality of Gordon’s home in the Viewforth area of Edinburgh. Although two of those church buildings have now closed, all the memorials are preserved. Our sincere thanks go to Gordon who kindly offered to research the names on St Michael’s & North Merchiston memorials, together with biographical details and photographs where available.