In pictures: Quintinshill rail crash remembered at Larbert station

Wreaths are laid at Larbert station in memory of those killed at Quintinshill. Pictures: Alan Murray
Wreaths are laid at Larbert station in memory of those killed at Quintinshill. Pictures: Alan Murray

It was the station where 100 years before troops had assembled to begin the long journey to the front.

A century on, Labert was the venue for a commemorative service in honour of the 216 soldiers killed at the Quintinshill rail disaster Gretna on May 22, 1915.

Troops of the Royal Scots march through Larbert

Troops of the Royal Scots march through Larbert

It remembered a horrific accident on home soil while the country was fighting the First World War abroad.

At 6.50 a.m. a troop train which had departed from the town collided with a stationary local service at a junction near Gretna. Moments later the wreckage was hit by an express bound for Glasgow.

It remains the deadliest rail disaster in UK history, with at least 226 people losing their lives. The precise number is unknown due to the severity of the firestorm caused by the gas lighting system used in carriages.

The majority of those killed were from Leith but several of the victims were from the Falkirk district.

Camelon pipe band leads the procession from Larbert Old church

Camelon pipe band leads the procession from Larbert Old church

Private James Robertson (17), originally from Carronshore, Private William Pettigrew (17) of Larbert and Private J.W. Ballantyne - who moved from Leith to work at a Camelon chemical works - were all killed on that fateful morning.

The 1/7th (Leith) Battalion, the Royal Scots, had been camped at the Tryst, Stenhousemuir, for several weeks before they began the journey that should have taken them to Gallipoli to join the British Empire forces fighting the Ottoman army.

Last Thursday, a day before the centenary of the event, hundreds gathered to pay their respects.

It was led by Camelon Pipe Band, the same band that had played the departing troops on to the train a century before.

The procession nears Larbert station

The procession nears Larbert station

They were followed by troops from the Royal Scots, a colour party carrying its regimental flags and dignitaries including Provost Pat Reid and the Lord Lieutenant of Stirling and Falkirk Marjory McLachlan.

Pupils from Larbert High School, local Boys’ Brigade and Scout companies and members of the Free Colliers.

Baillie Billy Buchanan, who led the organising committee, delivered a speech thanking those who had attended.

The Larbert event was followed the next day by a service at Gretna attended by Anne, Princess Royal, and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Larbert Scouts joined the parade

Larbert Scouts joined the parade

A further commemoration was held on Saturday at Edinburgh’s Rosebank Cemetery where the victims are buried.

Provost Pat Reid prepares to lay a wreath at Larbert station

Provost Pat Reid prepares to lay a wreath at Larbert station

The colour party lowers its flags for a minute of silence

The colour party lowers its flags for a minute of silence

Members of the Free Colliers took part in the parade

Members of the Free Colliers took part in the parade