On Sunday, 26 September 2010 a company of about 100 people gathered at Blacksike Bridge, some half a mile north of the Gretna Visitor Centre, for the unveiling of a memorial plaque to commemorate those lost in the Quintinshill Rail Disaster which occurred in the early morning of Saturday, 22 May 1915. The troop train collided with the stationary local passenger train which had been shunted onto the up track to allow the London to Glasgow overnight express to pass. The express ran into the debris of the original crash causing even more casualties. The cause of the accident was the failure of the signalman on duty to put a collar onto the signal lever; this would have prevented his pulling off the signal so stopping the train from the north.
The train from the north had left Larbert near Falkirk about 2.45 am carrying A and D Companies plus the Headquarters of the 1/7th Royal Scots on their way to Liverpool en route to Gallipoli.
As a result of the crash a total of 227 lost their lives; 213 members of the 1/7th Royal Scots, two members of the 8th HLI attached to the Royal Scots, a total of nine passengers, including several officers proceeding home on leave and three railwaymen. The injured, numbering 246 included,191 officers and other ranks, 51 passengers and four railwaymen.
At the ceremony, after welcoming everyone, the local minister Rev Bryan Haston conducted the Service of Dedication. The plaque which had been commissioned by the Springfield and Gretna Green Community Council was unveiled by Eileen Muir and the inscription on the plaque was read by John Cameron, chairman of the Scotland (South) Branch of the Western Front Association. The words on the plaque were written by the late Denis Muir, a local historian and poet who was instrumental in keeping the story of Quintinshill in the public eye.
No wreath to commemorate our glory day,
Nor tears to be shed on this permanent way.
Just "Flowers of the Forest" for youth in their prime
For the piper's lament stills the passage of time.
No wreaths and no sorrows as memories unfurl,
Just eternity's promise
"They shall never grow old"
After a minute's silence and the recital of Binyon's famous lines, piper Ashleigh Bell played the Scottish lament "The Flowers of the Forest". The service closed with Rev Haston pronouncing the Benediction.
The company were invited back to Stormont Hall, Headless Cross, Gretna Green for refreshments of tea and the opportunity to see a display about the disaster.
See also: BBC Scotland
Please note that, contrary to the BBC report, the plaque is on Blacksike Bridge just north of the crash site and not on Quintinshill Bridge which is south of the crash site.