Lord Provost opens exhibition to commemorate centenary of the end of the Great War
The Lord Provost of Aberdeen Barney Crockett has officially opened a special exhibition to mark the centenary of the end of the ‘war to end all wars’, at the Gordon Highlanders Museum today (Tuesday 20 February).
The Lord Provost gave a poignant and well-considered speech during which his own personal connection to the conflict was highlighted, as his grandfather was sent over to the Western Front immediately after his 18th birthday.
1918 – The End?: The Gordon Highlanders in 1918 explores the story of the regular and territorial battalions of the Regiment in the final few months of the Great War, a period unlike any other during the ‘war to end all wars’.
Things looked bleak at the beginning of 1918. The Allied offensives at the end of 1917 had again failed to break through the German lines. The end of the fighting on the Eastern Front in early December had released thousands of battle-hardened German troops who took part in the Spring Offensive of March-May 1918.
Finally, the tide started to turn. The American troops – 2 million men with tanks and artillery – helped to exert pressure that the war-weary German soldiers could not resist. In August 1918, the Allies started their own great offensive, which finally succeeded in forcing the German High Command to agree to an Armistice in November. The entry in the War Diary of 4th Battalion The Gordon Highlanders from that day simply recorded: ‘Such a day is difficult to realise’.
The Lord Provost of Aberdeen Barney Crockett said: “We all know that 2018 is the centenary of the end of World War One. The Gordon Highlanders Museum always has a commemoration of that war but has specially curated a most thought-provoking exhibition focussing on the story of the Gordon Highlanders in the final months of the Great War. This was not the war of attrition and trenches but of great bloodshed and rapid movement culminating in victory.
“We cannot but be moved by the intensity of the sacrifice but also inspired by the resilience, bravery and resourcefulness shown by our forebears. I am sure that everyone in the North-east will want to visit this exhibition.”
Curator Ruth Duncan said: “I was delighted that the Lord Provost could take the time to visit the museum on this special day and officially launch our new exhibition. The Gordon Highlanders have always had a close link with the City and it is very pleasing to see that link continue today with the Lord Provost’s attendance as our Guest of Honour.
“The Gordon Highlanders were in action until the very last day of the war across the Western Front and in northern Italy. This exhibition reveals some of the stories of the Gordon Highlanders who were involved in those final months of fighting as well as looking at the aftermath of the conflict.”
The exhibition runs until 1 December 2018.