Plaques to commemorate First World War writers, poets and artists

Five writers and artists who recorded the impact of the First World War are being recognised with commemorative plaques.

Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the end of the conflict, and Armistice Day this weekend, the Historic Environment Scotland (HES) plaques will be unveiled over the coming months.

The first plaque was unveiled in Aberdeen on Friday November 2 to honour young Scottish war poet Charles Hamilton Sorley, who lived from 1895 to 1915.

His account of the war was told through his poetry, which was recovered from the Western Front and published posthumously after his death in 1915.

Others being recognised include William Lamb (1893-1951), a Scottish artist and sculptor who fought in the Battle of Passchendaele, where his dominant right hand was severely injured – he later learned to draw and paint with his left hand – and Joseph Lee (1876-1949), a Dundee-born journalist, artist and poet who chronicled life in the trenches.

His sketches also depicted the prison camps after he was taken prisoner in 1917 and spent the rest of the war in an internment camp.

Plaques have also been awarded to Lady Margaret Sackville (1881-1963), a British poet and author whose works focused on the brutality of war and women’s social freedom, and Mary Symon (1863-1938), a poet who penned poems telling the impact of the First World War upon the people of Scotland.

Lady Margaret Sackville
Lady Margaret Sackville

HES head of grants Thomas Knowles said: “The commemorative plaque scheme recognises people from all walks of life who have made an impact on Scottish history.

“We are delighted to include five creative historic figures whose poetry, writing and art have recorded the tragedies and impact of the First World War.

“Their stories are part of the legacy of the war on Scotland and its people, both at home and overseas.”

The plaque for William Lamb will go up at the William Lamb Studio in Montrose, Angus, while the one for Lady Margaret Sackville will be situated at 30 Regent Terrace in Edinburgh, where she once lived.

Joseph Lee will be recognised with a plaque at 18 Airlie Place, Dundee, the closest surviving building to where he lived for much of his time in the city, while the one for Mary Symon will be located in Dufftown, Moray.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “I am pleased the latest round of plaques will commemorate some of the finest war poets and creative historic figures.

“Through their writing they have made an incredible contribution to the history of our country, recording the tragedies and horrors of the First World War and leaving a lasting legacy for future generations.

“These plaques, which come as we mark Armistice Day and the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, will lead to a greater recognition of these remarkable people and the contribution they have made, in many cases, to the wider world.”