Portsmouth Naval Memorial shines light on Scottish rugby legend

His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent will be visiting the Portsmouth Naval Memorial and Southampton (Hollybrook) Cemetery on 19 February to unveil the latest information panels put in place by the CWGC.

The panels carry information about the site and the reason why it is situated where it is. Each panel also carries a code which, when scanned with a smartphone, provides further information, including the personal stories of some of the casualties buried or commemorated at the location.

The code on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial panel reveals the story of David Bedell-Sivright, a Scottish Rugby international who captained the British Lions and died at Gallipoli; and the code at Hollybrook tells more about Lord Kitchener, who is commemorated on the Memorial there.

HRH The Duke of Kent said: ‘The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is at the heart of events to mark the centenary of the First World War. Our cemeteries and memorials will be the focus for many acts of remembrance over the coming years and this initiative will help inform visitors of the historical context which brought these places into being, while putting a human face to the names of those who died. It is a powerful means of combining traditional methods with new technology to ensure we never forget.’

Bedell-Sivright was born in 1880 in Edinburgh and attended Fettes College and Trinity College Cambridge. He gained blues at Cambridge between 1899 and 1902 and was first capped for Scotland in 1900. He went on to win 21 Scottish caps and to represent the British Lions on tours to South Africa (1903) and Australia (1904).

A combative wing-forward, he is rumoured to have once tackled a carthorse in central Edinburgh.

On 25 January 1915 he was commissioned as a surgeon in the Royal Navy and in May 1915 went to Gallipoli with the Hawke Battalion of the Royal Naval Division.

In September 1915 he was attached to the Royal Marine Light Infantry when he complained of being bitten by an insect. He contracted septicaemia and died on 5 September 1915.

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