McCrae's Battalion Great War Memorial

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detail of memorial cairn (1)

McCrae's Battalion Great War Memorial is a World War I memorial cairn located in the village of Contalmaison, France. Designed by the historian, Jack Alexander, it was unveiled in 2004[1] after being first proposed by survivors of the battalion in 1919. As such, it is the last of the 'original' Great War memorials to be built. It commemorates the dead of the 16th Royal Scots volunteer battalion formed by Sir George McCrae, known as 'The Sporting Battalion', who participated in the First Battle of the Somme, July 1916.

detail of memorial cairn (2)

The battalion was notable for its high number of professional sportsmen and fans drawn from the football clubs Heart of Midlothian FC, Hibernian FC, Raith Rovers FC, Falkirk FC and Dunfermline FC and a variety of other sporting clubs. [2] Visiting the Contalmaison Cairn has become something of a pilgrimage - particularly for football supporters and school groups.[3][4]


  1. ^ "Ceremony to unveil WWI heroes' cairn". Scotsman Publications. 30 October 2004. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  2. ^ McCrae's Battalion: The Story of the 16th Royal Scots by Jack Alexander, Mainstream Publishing 2003 (Appendix 2, pg 292)
  3. ^ "Poignant 1914 Edinburgh derby to be commemorated on French soil". The Scotsman. 12 April 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  4. ^ "Contalmaison pilgrimage". Hearts News. Heart of Midlothian F.C. 26 November 2010. Archived from the original on 29 December 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 

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Coordinates: 50°01′21″N 2°43′47″E / 50.0224°N 2.7297°E / 50.0224; 2.7297