The final commemoration in Elgin Cemetery with (from left) Fiona Fraser, one of the centenary project’s most dedicated volunteers, Derek Bird, WFA Scotland (North) branch chairman, and Lord Lieutenant of Moray Seymour Munro.

The final commemoration in Elgin Cemetery with (from left) Fiona Fraser, one of the centenary project’s most dedicated volunteers, Derek Bird, WFA Scotland (North) branch chairman, and Lord Lieutenant of Moray Seymour Munro.

The last poppy cross laid at Elgin grave in six-year Western Front Association Scotland (North) project to commemorate all Moray’s World War One casualties

A six-year project to commemorate each and every man buried in Moray who died as a result of World War One military service has come to an end.

Many men who served in the Great War died from wounds after being repatriated to the UK for treatment, from accidents, or from illness contracted or made worse during their military service.

Casualties included men who were discharged due to illness and died later.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s World War One casualties list runs from August 4, 1914, to August 31, 1921.

In January 2015, members of the Elgin-based Scotland (North) branch of The Western Front Association embarked on a project to visit all 170 such graves in Moray on the centenary of each man’s death.

The members held a simple ceremony and placed a poppy cross at each headstone.

Branch chairman Derek Bird said: “A small group of branch members have travelled the length and breadth of Moray in sunshine, snow, and everything in between, to commemorate all the First World War servicemen buried in the county.

“When planning the project my thoughts were that although many ceremonies were planned over the centenary period on the battlefields, or in places such as Westminster Abbey, there were those who might be forgotten – the ones who are buried in our local cemeteries.

“I am delighted that in Moray we were able to ensure that each and every one of the 170 servicemen has been individually commemorated.

“To the best of my knowledge, ours is the only county in the UK where this has been done.”

The first ceremony was held in January 2015 at Dipple Burial Ground, near Fochabers, for 19-year-old Private Alexander Roy, who died of pleurisy while training at Bedford with the local Territorial battalion, the 6th Seaforth Highlanders.

The last, attended by Moray’s Lord Lieutenant Seymour Monro, remembered 42-year-old Lieutenant John Gill who died in Elgin of pulmonary tuberculosis in January 1921.

Mr Bird said it was a fitting end to the centenary project as John Gill had been involved at the very outset of the war, sending out mobilisation notices from the 6th Seaforth’s Cooper Park headquarters in August 1914.