A Dedication Ceremony will take place on Monday 28th October to mark the completion of the War Memorial Restoration Project and the addition of missing names. The ceremony will commence at 1030 am, with the Lord Lieutenant and East Lothian Provost present as well as pupils from Dunbar Primary and Grammar Schools.
Conservation and Enhancement Project
Designed by the Edinburgh architect F E B Blanc, and erected by Dunbar builder George Cunningham, the Memorial was commissioned to “commemorate the memory of those who had given their lives for the King and Country” during World War 1 (Burgh Council minutes). It was unveiled and dedicated on 3rd July 1921, “in the presence of several thousands of spectators” (“Haddingtonshire Courier”). Sited at the entrance to the town’s West Promenade, it remained there when two granite plaques recording the dead of World War 2 were added to the plinth, and unveiled at an “impressive ceremony” on 2nd June 1949 (“Haddingtonshire Courier”). Threatened by coastal erosion, the Memorial was moved inland to its present location in 1989, when it was positioned within a concrete slab enclosure.
At its exposed clifftop site overlooking the North Sea, the Memorial, almost a century old, inevitably has suffered from the effects of the weather. Concerns were expressed over the loss of legibility of the names of the fallen, at its general condition and at the poor quality of its surroundings. To address these, a working group comprising representatives of Dunbar Community Council, the local branch of the Royal British Legion, and the Dunbar & District History Society was established to make recommendations for the Memorial’s conservation, and any other actions needed.
A condition survey identified its conservation requirements, and it was decided to upgrade its setting by replacing the concrete slabs with red sandstone paving. As their thinking evolved, the working group came to the view that possible “missing” names from both World Wars should be researched, with the intention of adding those that met War Memorials Trust criteria. In all, 65 names were investigated, most being discounted because of limited, if any, links with Dunbar and Parish. The conservation and enhancement of the Memorial was accomplished in time for the Remembrance Service on Sunday 11th November 2018, which marked the centenary of the World War 1 Armistice. The addition of 16 “missing” names on 28th October 2019 represents the completion of the project.
From the outset it was clear the works could only be undertaken if financed from external sources. A campaign to raise funding succeeded in attracting grants and donations totalling £26,000. The working group wish to extend their warm thanks to the undernoted for providing the financial support needed to transform their proposals into reality.
Viridor Credits Environmental Company, East Lothian Council (Civic Pride Fund)
War Memorials Trust, Dunbar Community Council, Greene King, Rotary Club of Dunbar
EDF Energy, Anonymous Benefactor.