The memorial, which was erected in 1927, was funded by Americans of Scottish descent who wished to recognise the bravery and sacrifice of Scottish Soldiers during World War One.
Information taken from the Edinburgh Museum and Galleries website.
A seated kilted soldier on a low plinth with a rifle across his knees gazes across to the castle, behind him is a bronze bas-relief on a Craigleith sandstone wall, which has two intertwined wreaths with shields bearing the Stars and Stripes and St. Andrew’s cross.
Bronze statue of a soldier. Part of the Scots American War MemorialThe figure and relief were sculpted between 1924-27 by Robert Tait Mackenzie (1867- 1938), born in Ontario, Canada of Scots parentage and architect Reginald Fairlie (1883-1952) designed the setting.
The plinth is inscribed: THE CALL 1914
A Tribute From Men and Women of
Scottish Blood and Sympathies
In the United States of AMERICA TO SCOTLAND
A People that jeoparded their lives unto the Death
in the High Places of the Field JUDGES.V.18
The bronze bas-relief depicts ‘the call to arms’, with a cross-section of Scottish working men – miners, shepherds, gamekeepers, farmers and fishermen – being led off to war by a regimental pipe and drum band. The bronze was cast at the Roman Bronze works in Brooklyn, New York
Below is the inscription in stone –
“IF IT BE LIFE THAT WAITS, I SHALL LIVE FOREVER UNCONQUERED, IF DEATH, I SHALL DIE, AT LAST, STRONG IN MY PRIDE AND FREE.”
– from ‘A Creed’ a poem by written at Vimy Ridge in 1916 by Lieutenant E. Alan Mackintosh M.C. (1893-1917) of the 5th Seaforth Highlanders, 51st Highland Division.
The memorial was unveiled on 7th September 1927 by Mr. Alanson Bigelow Houghton, the U.S. Ambassador to Britain, who was given the freedom of the city at the same ceremony. Mr J. Gribbel of Philadelphia, Chairman of the Scottish-American War Memorial Committee proposed the memorial be erected in Edinburgh, ‘by people of Scots blood and sympathy in the USA, in commemoration of the Scottish effort in the Great War’.
R.T. McKenzie requested that his heart be buried under the memorial, this was refused by the City Council. However his heart was sent to Scotland after his death in Philadelphia aged 71 years. It was buried (14th April 1938) near the South East corner of St. Cuthberts Church on Lothian Road where there is a plaque with the initials RTM.
Annual memorial service – last Monday in May.
The Scottish-American War Memorial Service, always takes place on the last Monday in May. It is organised by The English-Speaking Union Scotland and in this, the 101st year since the start of the Great War, the organisers will welcome representatives from the US, Scottish and UK Governments, the Scottish Parliament, the US and UK Armed Forces and the City Of Edinburgh Council, for a short service and wreath laying ceremony at 12 noon.
The event is free and the organisers welcome all those who wish to attend, particularly visitors and residents in Scotland who are from The United States. Please be seated by 11.45am.