University war-dead honoured

University war-dead honoured

The University of Aberdeen will commemorate Remembrance Day this weekend (Sunday 9 November) with the launch of a new on-line Roll of Honour – a searchable index of the staff, students and alumni of the University who laid down their lives during the Second World War.

The new resource - www.abdn.ac.uk/historic/memoriam - will provide the public with on-line access to these details for the first time, supplementing the existing First World War resource that was launched by the University in 2006.

The roll tells the stories of the soldiers and sons of Aberdeen, the Northeast, and farther afield who were involved in the Second World War and did not survive to tell their own.

It provides details of each soldier's name, rank, regiment, honours, date of birth, date of death, and burial along with a brief biography.

The resource will be launched following the University's annual Remembrance Sunday Service which will be held in King's College Chapel on Sunday at 10.50am.

Members of the public will be invited to attend a reception in Elphinstone Hall following the service, where staff from the University of Aberdeen's Historic Collections department will demonstrate the online facility on a large plasma screen. 

In World War Two a total of 182 staff, students and alumni of the University lost their lives. Their service spanned all branches of the Armed Forces and there were exceptional numbers, 85, with the Royal Air Force. Soldiers were posted all around the world illustrating the global reach of the war with service in the Medical Branch of the Straits Settlements Volunteer Force, Indian Medical Service, Federated Malaya Volunteer Reserve, Indian Mountain Regiment and Kenya Defence Force.

They died in places including Malaya, Libya, Java, Burma and Italy, in Japanese prisoner of war camps and on flying operations off Norway and Australia.

Siobhan Convery, University of Aberdeen Archivist, Historic Collections said: "The online roll of honour provides a unique tool which brings together biographies illustrating the tragedy, sacrifice, suffering, and overwhelming human cost of the war, whilst also demonstrating the human qualities of courage, selflessness, and compassion.

"Following the Remembrance Sunday Service attendees will have the opportunity to see the online roll of honour in action.  Members of the public will be invited to provide the names of any ancestors involved in the Second World War and staff from the University's Historic Collections department will use the online facility to bring up their information."

The biographical content for the online roll of honour has been taken from the University publication, the Roll of Remembrance, published in 1952. Supplementary information has been gathered from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

The project has been led by staff and volunteers working in the University's Historic Collections and in co-operation with University Directorate of Information Technology (DIT) staff.

The Remembrance Sunday service will be conducted by Reverend Dr Easter Smart and the Preacher will be The Rt Rev Dr Robert (Bob) Gillies, BD PhD who was consecrated and installed as Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney in September this year.

The ceremony will be attended by Professor C Duncan Rice, Principal and Vice Chancellor, University of Aberdeen, Officers and members of The Aberdeen Universities' Royal Naval Unit; The Aberdeen Universities' Officer Training Corps; and the East of Scotland Universities' Air Squadron.

Representatives from the Universities' Air Squadron, the Royal Naval Unit and the Officers' Training Corps will parade along the High Street, Old Aberdeen at 10.15am, before they enter the Chapel. 

Members of the general public, staff and students are invited to attend the service.

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