IN peace, but especially in war, music means more than words which is why Scotland’s service to mark the end of the First World War began the way it did. High up in Glasgow Cathedral, in front of the great stained-glass windows, fiddler Andy Cant spoke with his violin. His piece was inspired by the theme of goodbyes and on the British side in the First World War, there were 700,000 of them – more than 100,000 of them Scots.

The words at the service were powerful too. Professor Norman Drummond, the former army chaplain who chaired the Scottish First World War commemorations panel, made it clear in his address that the service, attended by over 1,000 people including Princess Anne and the First Minister, was not just about then, but now as well. The memory of the Great War, he said, was a tool for the living and a warning not to let politics get out of hand. No one referred to anything – or anyone – specific, but the congregation will have had their own ideas about what he could mean.

The service had started in the light at 4pm and ended in the dark an hour later in a day full of symbols. At 6am, pipers played laments all over the country, at 8.30am cathedral bells began to ring out and at 11am, thousands of Scots made the traditional gesture of silence, which this year was given added poignancy because it marked what came to be called the Great Silence: the days and weeks after the guns stopped on November 11, 1918.

The service at Glasgow Cathedral was the focal point of the day and, in words and music, concentrated on four themes: first, sadness at the loss of life (one in seven of the Scots who served were killed); also, the sense of victory against the odds; and the seeds of social change – the congregation was reminded that the Glasgow rent strikes happened just a short walk from the cathedral.

The fourth theme was one that perhaps some might feel less certain about in uncertain times: courage for the future. In his prayer, Professor Drummond quoted the Canadian medical officer Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae: “To you from failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high.” That torch of hope and love, said Professor Drummond, continues to be thrown to each and every one of us, in our homes and in our families, in our communities and across the nation. But the torch is not as bright in some places as others, the places where war is still happening, 100 years later.

One of the next generation taking the torch symbolically at the cathedral was ten-year-old Cara Lucas from Peebles who read the prayer of St Francis of Assisi. “Lord make me an instrument of your peace” she said, but the words were especially poignant because Cara’s family knows peace is far from being sorted yet: Cara’s father Alexander James Lucas was a Royal Marine Commando when he was killed in action in Afghanistan on November 24, 2008. He was 24 years old.

Cara’s reading was among the many words of peace and hope in the service, but there were also reminders of the greatest tragedies. Such as the fact the signing of the armistice did not immediately mean the end of the killing. It was signed very early in the morning but a few hours later, at 9.30am, trooper George Ellison of the 5th Royal Lancers died near Mons. He is the last known British soldier to be killed. Scottish battalions also continued to be involved in operations until 1919 and in southern Russian until 1920.

The music at the service reflected the desire, or duty, to remember these stories – at one point the Glasgow Cathedral Choir, their voices beautifully filling the nave, repeated one refrain “we will remember them”. And the service reflected how valuable music was to the men in the trenches by including Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag. The bit in the song about lighting your fag may not have quite the resonance it once had, but it was one of the most moving moments of the service when the congregation sang the song in 2018 just as men would have done in the trenches in 1918.

HeraldScotland: The music also focused on particular stories – like John Lauder, the son of the great Scottish entertainer Sir Harry Lauder. Soloist Amy Hawthorn and the congregation sang perhaps Lauder’s most famous song Keep Right on the End of the Road. The words are still inspiring, especially when sung by a thousand people: “if you’re tired and weary still, journey on til you come to your happy abode.” But the congregation was reminded why Sir Harry wrote it: his son was killed in action in December 1916. Sir Harry decided the show had to go on and returned to the stage just a few days later.

The congregation at Glasgow also included the descendants of some of those who died in the war, including the family of four Glasgow brothers, including William Herbert Anderson who was awarded the Victoria Cross. Lieutenant Colonel William Herbert Anderson, known as Bertie, was commanding the 12th Battalion, The Highland Light Infantry, as it moved through France in March 1918. He was awarded the VC for leading his command in a double-counter attack, successfully driving the enemy away despite being overwhelmingly outnumbered. However, his bravery cost him his life and he died behind enemy lines on 25 March 1918 at the age of 36.

Bertie was the last of four brothers to perish in the war – Charlie had died on 19 December 1914 at the age of 26, followed by Ronnie on 8 October 1915 at the age of 30. Both had also served in the Highland Light Infantry. A week before Bertie’s death, his youngest brother Teddie, who had transferred to the Royal Flying Corps, went down in a plane over Winchester on 16 March 1918 aged just 21.

Bertie’s great-grandson, Robin Scott-Elliot, who attended the commemoration with his wife Karen and their daughters Iona and Torrin, said he had always found it hard to imagine what his ancestors suffered.

“It’s unthinkable what the parents of Bertie, Charlie, Ronnie and Teddie must have gone through, losing all four sons in less than four years,” he said. “When I think about when they died in relation to my age now, I’m struck by how truly short their lives were.

“The impact of their deaths was felt in the family for years – their parents never recovered, and my grandfather, who was a toddler at the time of Bertie’s death, had to go through life without a father - an experience which was shared by many after the war.

“I am very proud of the brave actions of my great-grandfather and great-uncles. It’s so important to pass these stories on to the next generation so that the devastation caused by the war is never forgotten.”

Iona Scott-Elliot, aged 11, great-great granddaughter of Bertie, added: “I think we should always try to remember my great-great grandad and all the other men and women like him even though they died a long time ago.”

It would be hard to put it better than Iona did, but the Glasgow service did succeed in pointing out that the centenary commemorations have to be about more than remembering.

The service reminded the congregation, and the audience watching on BBC1, that amongst the troops at the front line there was relief at having survived but there was also anger and resentment too about what they had been put through.

HeraldScotland: Some good came from that anger and restlessness – the vote was extended to all men over 21 (except conscientious objectors who were temporarily disenfranchised) and to women over 30. But the service reminded us too that the lessons of the Great War were not immediately learned – there was a determination to be as hard as possible on the Germans in the peace negotiations after the war - and so - as we know - the seeds of the Second World War were sown.

This concern about how we learn the lessons of war and peace was reflected in one of the most powerful readings by Gurjit Singh Lali, a member of the Scottish commemorations panel. He quoted Gandhi: “I am a man of peace, I believe in peace but I do not want peace at any price. I do not want the peace that you find in the grave.” There were also words from King George V speaking in Flanders in 1922. “Can there be more potent advocates of peace upon the earth,” he asked, “ than this massed multitude of silent witness to the desolation of war?”

Norman Drummond explored similar themes in his address. Four years ago, when the commemorations began and a service was held in Glasgow Cathedral in 2014, Professor Drummond asked an important question: what have we learned from all this? There were some who were critical of the idea of four years of remembrance and still are. Others asked whether it was right for then PM David Cameron to spend £50million on the commemorations. Part of the justification was that we should learn from the past and teach future generations, but four years on, Professor Drummond, and everyone else, is still trying to find an answer to his question: what have we learned from all this?

In his address to the congregation, Professor Drummond said personal connections to war were important and had become more important over the last four years – cupboards were opened, boxes found, and letters from a century ago read and re-read. But Professor Drummond said he had learned that certain values are timeless – loyalty, devotion, courage, resilience. The lesson was to be there for each other – to be the stretcher bearer, in war and peace, for those in any kind of need.

The final words of the service and the final powerful symbol went to the Right Revd Susan Brown, the moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Mrs Brown admits herself that she is not a big woman, but her voice was big in a cathedral that was bigger. Remember the poppy, she said. The black at its centre is the blackness of war. The red of its leaves is the red of blood. But most important of all is the green of its stem, she said, because that is the green shoot of hope.

And the last bit of music in a service of music? That went to Andy Cant, who started the service with his violin high up in the roof of the cathedral. For the closing moments, he switched to the pipes and ended Scotland’s act of remembrance with a wordless gesture that was perhaps its most moving. A lone piper sounding out clearly, powerfully and hopefully.

The service at the cathedral was the centrepiece of a poignant day of remembrance that started before the sun came up. The first act of commemoration was at 6am when pipers across the country, standing in the dark, played Battle’s O’er, the traditional lament that is often heard at the end of war.

Many of the pipers played at their local war memorial, but the lament was also heard at the Forth Bridge, and Cpl McClintock of 132 (North Berwick) Sqn ATC had the honour of piping Battles O’er at the tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey. The lament was also heard at Ibrox Stadium.

Just a few hours later, at 9.30am, the bells of Dunblane Cathedral were rung to mark the moment 100 years ago when the bells were rung at the end of the war. Across the day, church bells were also rung in Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Inverness and Stirling – some by new bell-ringers recruited over the last year to commemorate the 1,400 British bellringers who died between 1914 and 1918.

HeraldScotland: There were other, new ways to remember too, starting at Ayr beach in the morning. Slowly, as a group of volunteers worked away on the sand yesterday, a face emerged, only to be washed away later by the tide. The face on Ayr beach was of Walter Tull, the first black officer in the British Army and one of British football’s first black players. Tull had signed for Rangers when he was 29 but was killed while engaged in combat near Arras in Northern France. Yesterday, the sea slowly erased the sand-painting of his face as a reminder of his sad loss.

Similar events were staged at other beaches across the UK, including West Sands at St Andrews, where they commemorated Elsie Inglis, a pioneering surgeon and suffragist. Other beaches taking part in the project in Scotland were Scapa beach, Orkney, St Ninian’s beach, Shetland, Roseisle beach, Moray, and Culla Bay on Benbecula.

The beach events were the idea of the filmmaker Danny Boyle, who said they seemed the perfect place to reflect some of the consequences of the Great War. “Beaches are truly public spaces, where nobody rules other than the tide,” he said. “They seem the perfect place to gather and say a final goodbye and thank you to those whose lives were taken or forever changed by the First World War.”

The beach remembrance events happened throughout the day but it was at 11am that most of the country took part. The Armistice was signed in 1918 in Compiegne and came into force on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month and at the same time 100 years later politicians, civic leaders, veterans and relatives gathered to mark the centenary at the symbolic centres of remembrance across the country.

At the Cenotaph in London, the Prince of Wales led the Royal Family’s tributes as the Queen looked on from a balcony. Charles laid a wreath on behalf of his mother for the second year in a row, while an equerry laid a wreath on behalf of the Duke of Edinburgh.

In a significant and hopeful break with history, the President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, was also present and laid a wreath on behalf of the German people. It is the first time since the Cenotaph was inaugurated in 1920 that a representative of the country has taken part in the UK’s national service of remembrance.

At 11am precisely, the traditional two minutes of silence was held, but there was also a significant and welcome sound: the chimes of Big Ben. The clock is being renovated and has been silent since August 2017 when works began, but it has been fitted with a custom-built electronic mechanism built to power the striking hammer to ensure it can still sound for important national events.

In Scotland, the 11am silence was observed at the Cenotaph in Glasgow’s George Square, while in Edinburgh First Minister Nicola Sturgeon laid a wreath at the Stone of Remembrance outside the City Chambers.

Following the service, the city then thanked those who served with a procession from St Giles’ Cathedral to the steps of the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle. The memorial houses and displays the rolls of honour of Scots servicemen and women from all the armed services, the Dominions, Merchant Navy, Women’s Services, Nursing Services and civilian casualties of all wars.

By the time darkness fell after 4pm, the remembrance took on a new shape at the Scottish Parliament when the names of the 134,712 men and women from the rolls of honour were projected on to the building. Along with Scottish servicemen, the names included nurses, munitions factory workers, Merchant Navy personnel, and overseas servicemen.

HeraldScotland: The scale of the loss was reflected by the fact it took seven hours to show all the names, finishing around midnight. Each name shone on the building for around 10 seconds to the sound of Sir John Blackwood McEwen’s String Quartets Volume 1 by the Chilingrian Quartet. There were also images and designs that tell the story of the global war.

The presiding officer Ken Macintosh said it was a striking tribute. “The fact it will take seven hours to project the names of all those who died reflects the sheer scale of the loss and devastation the war

had on communities right across Scotland,” he said.

The parliament’s tribute was not the only light of hope and peace that shone into the dark evening. Shortly before 7pm, Shetlander Geoffrey Priest made his way to Saxa Vord, in the north of Unst, where he lit a beacon that was the centrepiece of the island’s commemoration of the centenary. It is no surprise that Shetland would want to mark the sombre occasion, as 600 Shetland men lost their lives in the First World War – a higher proportion than anywhere else in Britain.

Finally, the day and night of commemoration came to an end at 7.30pm when an audience of around 2000 filled the Usher Hall in Edinburgh for a performance of the multimedia production Far, Far from Ypres, which brings the story of prototypical Scots soldier Jimmy McDonald to life through songs, poems and real stories.

The show featured large screen projection of images from the war and a cast of folk singers who remained on stage throughout the performance, singing the ‘trench’, ‘marching’ and Music Hall songs of the time.

Jimmy’s story brought the day of remembrance to an end and there was then a chance for Professor Norman Drummond to reflect on what has been learned over the last four years.

Professor Drummond told The Herald that he wanted the last four years of commemoration to reflect a theme of reconciliation but also education.

“When I was invited by the Scottish Government to chair and set up the Scottish Commemorations Panel, I accepted on three conditions – that it would concentrate on education, genealogy and legacy and we asked: what do we learn from all this?” he said. "I think the Scottish commemorations have been pivotal in reminding us that this is not just remembrance – important though that is – but it’s about what we take forward to the future.

“We live in divided times and I think the First World War gives us evidence of what happens when we let politics get out of hand.”

Professor Drummond and his family have also felt the last four years personally. His grandfather Norman Walker, who served on the Western Front, where he was badly gassed, was awarded the MC in 1918. Later, he was an international cricketer and played for Scotland – all on one lung.

“I was about seven or eight when he died,” said Professor Drummond, “but I can identify with those who wish they could talk to those who are no longer with us, to ask them: what was it really like?”

Professor Drummond’s wife Elizabeth also has personal connections to the conflict through her grandfather John Burn, of the Tyneside Scottish, serving with the Northumberland Fusiliers. He was killed on the 27th September 1918 and, earlier this year, Professor Drummond and his wife went out to John’s grave in France.

“There we were,” he said, “100 years on, around one grave almost to the hour of when he would have been killed.”

Professor Drummond said he wanted the day to reflect four themes – the first being a collective sadness at the loss of life. Historians still argue about the precise number of Scots who lost their lives but we can safely say that over 100,000 died.

And it was particularly poignant on the centenary of the end of the war to note that many soldiers died on the last day itself, including 93 Scots.

The second theme was victory and Professor Drummond acknowledged that it was not just about joy but profound mixed emotions.

He also hopes that the commemorations over the last four years have struck the right tone. He said: “We’ve always tried to have the appropriate tone and the advice we’ve received is that, yes, the victory was important at that time – therefore, we commemorate it from a long lens. But there was joy and relief that it was all over and that we had withstood overwhelming odds and were really proud of the way our men and women responded.”

The third theme was seeds of change – an effort to reflect the fact that the First World War led, in the short and longer term, to economic, social, cultural and political changes.

And then the fourth theme – courage for the future. In the words of Professor Drummond: colleagues became comrades. Professor Drummond said he hoped that, at the end of the day of memories, and four years of reflection, the collective remembering had been worth it. “We believe we have created a fitting, traditional yet contemporary service to reflect the mood of the nation at the time of the first Armistice 100 years ago,” he said.