Friendship Agreement

1 July 1916 – the First Day of the Battle of the Somme

The City of Edinburgh and Contalmaison

We are honoured today to host a historic statement from our friend Frank Ross, Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh.

One hundred and four years since the two City of Edinburgh battalions took part in the ill-fated assault on the village of Contalmaison, City of Edinburgh Council has drawn up a ‘world’s first’ – a Friendship Agreement between the capital city of Scotland and a tiny village of 123 souls.

The fields around Contalmaison conceal the remains of hundreds of young soldiers from Edinburgh and surrounding districts who went willingly to the Somme to help liberate France from a cruel invader. Our memorial Cairn commemorates their sacrifice and the villagers care for it as if it were their own. Edinburgh and Contalmaison are linked by a common history and their enduring friendship (now formalised in civic prose) is the keystone of a living form of Remembrance of which we are all rightly proud.

The words of Siegfried Sassoon yet again come to mind: ‘Look down and swear upon the slain of the war that you’ll never forget’.

Scotland and France – Europe’s oldest Alliance. Edinburgh and Contalmaison – bound by blood, bound by history and bound by memory. We are proud to call them our friends.

Watch the Lord Provost’s message below:

Frank Ross, Lord Provost of City of Edinburgh

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