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Commonwealth War Graves Commission



  • CWGC to illuminate the sky above Edinburgh Rosebank Cemetery on Armistice Day (11 November) at 7pm
  • At four CWGC locations across Great Britain, searchlights will beam light into the Armistice night sky in memory of those who died
  • CWGC’s Edinburgh Rosebank Cemetery has been chosen as one of the four key sites to light up across the UK to honour those who died in the war

For 11 November, an Armistice Day like no other, the CWGC is lighting up the sky above Edinburgh Rosebank Cemetery to pay tribute to the 1.7 million Commonwealth war dead as part of its #ShineOn Remembrance activities.

#ShineOn is CWGC’s inclusive, accessible, digital Remembrance event that is completely free and open to all.

Through a virtual experience on the CWGC website, making use of the Commission’s existing extensive records and search facility, the public will be able to name stars after one of the 1.7 million Commonwealth war dead in CWGC’s care. The CWGC is then encouraging everyone to take a moment at 7pm on 11 November 2020 to step outside their homes, look at the stars and remember the fallen.

In a few key locations, including the Edinburgh Rosebank Cemetery , searchlights will beam light into the Armistice night sky from CWGC cemeteries and memorials, not to encourage crowds, but in a symbolic gesture that the light of remembrance, even in these dark times, will never be extinguished.

The lights will be visible for miles around and those who live locally are encouraged to look to the sky at 7pm and watch from the safety of home. The installations are not there to encourage crowds.

Edinburgh (Rosebank) Cemetery contains 270 First World War casualties that CWGC commemorates.  Most died in the Gretna railway disaster, when two trains collided at Quintinshill Junction near Gretna on 22 May 1915, killing 210 officers and men of the 1st/7th Royal Scots on their way to embark for Gallipoli.

CWGC’s Director General, Mr Barry Murphy, explained: “For more than a century, we have gathered at the same time on the same day, to bow our heads and think of those who sacrificed their lives for ours, during the two world wars. But this year’s different.

Lord Provost Frank Ross said: “Whilst we can’t come together in person, we can still make sure their names burn bright. Not just for one day, but for all the days (and nights) to come. So, this year, on Remembrance Day, we’ll look up to the stars in our night sky to remember those who fell. All 1.7 million of them.

I would urge the public to join us by choosing to name a star in remembrance of someone and looking up into the night sky at 7pm on 11.11.20 to remember that person and all those who died during the two world wars. Together, we can make sure their names Shine On.

 Whilst it is disappointing that we can’t come together as we usually to on Armistice Day to pay our respects, I’m sure CWGC’s Shine On will prove to be a poignant tribute from our Rosebank Cemetery.

Although physically not together, as with many areas of our lives, we can join in virtually and take part in the initiative and name a star in remembrance. Ensuring that when we look to the skies, we will think of those 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth who died during the world wars.

I urge residents to embrace the opportunity to observe the season of remembrance. Taking a moment to pause, reflect, remember and show our gratitude and appreciation for the enormous sacrifices that have been made - and continue to be made every day on our behalf - by courageous men and women.”

Published: 6th November 2020