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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 November 2005, 16:20 GMT
'Forgotten voices' go on display
A staff member looks at some of the wills
The wills were written by those who died in combat
The final wishes of Scottish soldiers and airmen who died in combat have been brought to life for an exhibition.

Wills written between 1857 to 1966 are on display in the foyer of the National Archives of Scotland (NAS) building on Princes Street in Edinburgh.

Digital images have been created of the wills and readings of some of the documents will also be available.

Parliament Minister Margaret Curran said the exhibition evoked the "forgotten voices" of the soldiers.

The project has been carried out in partnership with the Scottish National War Memorial (SNWM).

The exhibition, and a new catalogue of soldiers' wills, was launched by Ms Curran on Thursday.

'Remarkable documents'

She said: "It is particularly fitting that it should be launched so close to Armistice Day.

"These remarkable documents give us a glimpse of the lives of men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.

"Through the expression of their last wishes, many moving letters, poems and prayers, these 'forgotten voices' have been poignantly evoked."

About 31,000 wills were written by Scottish soldiers and airmen over the period covered by the exhibition.

As far as we are aware, no equivalent project is being conducted for soldiers' wills elsewhere in the UK or Ireland
George Mackenzie
Keeper of the Records of Scotland

The vast majority - some 25,000 - were penned by those who died during the First World War.

The soldiers used their army pay books to record their wishes for the disposal of their property and effects.

The documents, which also include some personal letters, were passed on to the Edinburgh Commissary Office by the War Office after the soldiers and airmen died in conflict.

George Mackenzie, Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said: "As far as we are aware, no equivalent project is being conducted for soldiers' wills elsewhere in the UK or Ireland.

"I am pleased that in this digital age, we are able to use new technology to present them to a global audience."

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