MORE than 8,000 people are expected to join armed forces chaplains in a special First World War commemoration that is reminiscent of a battlefield service.

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Right Reverend John Chalmers, will welcome people from all over Scotland for the "Drumhead Service" at Edinburgh Castle tomorrow.

The format is a tribute to the soldiers on the frontline who held services of worship using neatly piled drums - the drumhead - in place of an altar. The multi-faith service on the castle esplanade is designed to replicate those services.

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After the service, military bands will march down the Royal Mile and the congregation will be invited to follow the procession to Holyrood Park, where a replica Commonwealth war graves cemetery has been made.

More than 100 headstones will represent the names listed in the Rolls of Honour at the Scottish National War Memorial.

Those gathered are invited to lay wreaths or markers to reflect the sacrifice made by so many.

It is hoped the Drumhead Service, procession and memorial will encourage people to remember those who died in the First World War and to ask what can be learned from the conflict.

Mr Chalmers said: "This will be a poignant act of remembrance but my prayer is that over the next few years acts of commemoration will result in the more active pursuit of peace.

"It is not enough to remember the past, we must learn from it."

Mr Chalmers has recently aided his youngest son John-James through recovery after he was wounded in Afghanistan while serving in the Royal Marines - the 25-year-old suffered arm, leg and facial injuries in a blast, which killed two of his comrades.

The traditional service at Edinburgh Castle, conducted by senior chaplains of the Army, the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force, will re-enact what would have taken place here at home and on the frontline.

Among those taking part in the ecumenical service is Reverend Scott Brown QHC, Chaplain of the Fleet.

The Drumhead Service begins at 10.30am and will be followed by the voluntary procession.