The year 2018 marked the 100th Anniversary of the end of the First World War.
Since 2013 Queensferry History Group has researched many aspects of World War 1 with much of the focus being placed on how the conflict affected the communities of Queensferry and Dalmeny.
On this website, we’re allowing people in South Queensferry and the wider world to become aware of the History of Queensferry before, during and after World War One, and perhaps help people find their lost relatives.
Britain’s declaration of war against Germany in August 1914 put the Firth of Forth on a war footing. New regulations came into force for shipping in the Forth. Plans were put in place to make the Forth a major base for the Grand Fleet. Fortifications around the Forth Bridge were brought into action. Hundreds of Queensferry men enlisted to fight in the war. They boarded troop trains at a station near what is now the lawn bowling club. Suddenly Queensferry was short of workers. What were school children told of this conflict and how did the burgh react? As this website and our research develops we will attempt to discover and explain the background to the war and what is was like in our burgh.
‘Queensferry at War’ – a Queensferry History Group project – explores and records the events of the Great War in and around Queensferry and the impact on the residents.
Our research covers: life in Queensferry during WW1, the stories behind the names on our War Memorials, the Naval History that surrounded Queensferry during the Great War, and more.
Our memorials’ pages contains information regarding the men who died and have their names commemorated on the Queensferry and Dalmeny Memorials. It will later have a section for local men, whose names are not on the Memorials, but should be considered for their great sacrifice.
This project has been made possible with the support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to deliver our Queensferry At War project. More here.
If you have any stories of the war years you would like to share, or can help with information on any of the named men, or would like to know more about those listed on the memorial page, please contact us.
This booklet is now available for a donation of £1 per book, at Queensferry Library, hours Monday and Tuesday 1pm – 8pm, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10am – 5pm. Also available from Allium. We will be distributing around more places in Queensferry over the next few weeks.
Many towns and cities in the UK were devastated by loss during World War One. Not the least was South Queensferry, a small Royal Burgh with a population in 1911, of around 2,000, excluding the naval personnel, due to the proximity of Port Edgar, of 1,510.The Forth Rail Bridge was long since built and manyContinue reading “Wartime Family Devastation”
At 18:30 hours on 31st January 1918 a group of Royal Navy ships set sail from Rosyth. They were headed to Scapa Flow where they were to take part in a fleet exercise. There were some 40 ships and boats in the group, including three battleships and four battlecruisers, each with their destroyer screens, andContinue reading “THE BATTLE OF MAY ISLAND”
The silhouettes shown in this slideshow, produced by Queensferry History Group, were awarded to Queensferry History Group through the Armistice and Armed Forces Communities Programme, funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Trust. Partners in this programme, the charity “Remembered” are responsible for running this project, “There but not there”. These silhouettes are displayed, especially overContinue reading “There But Not There – Slideshow”
Soldiers who made the “ultimate sacrifice” are being remembered by local historians. Queensferry History Group has produced a new book and website highlighting the men from the town – and neighbouring Dalmeny – who went to fight in World War I but never returned. The beautifully-illustrated “Queensferry At War” book, which covers 70 pages, isContinue reading “Queensferry’s War Heroes Remembered”
Between 1918 and 1919 an estimated 40-50 million people worldwide died from influenza. Some reports put the number as high as 100 million, more than died in total due to World War 1. Alarmingly this flu strain was most deadly to those aged between 20 and 40. Glasgow was the first British city to beContinue reading “The 1918/19 Flu Epidemic”
In the West Lothian Courier newspaper edition 5th December, 1919 it was reported that Queensferry had organised a social evening as a thank you to the returning Sailors and Soldiers in the Rosebery Hall. It was arranged by the Local War Service Committee and some 200 discharged and demobilised men and their guests were invited.Continue reading “Welcome Home to Returning Soldiers”
These cards were designed by Erin Boyes, a pupil at Queensferry High School and are available from the History Group. We can be contacted at the email address below. Each card bears the name of one of the men named on the War Memorials in Queensferry and Dalmeny. The cards with the anchor on theContinue reading “Our Poppy Cards”
The Suffrage Movement, Women and the War Effort, Peoples Reform Act 1918 World War I was to bring about many social changes for both men and women. The Suffrage Movement The first of 16,000 petitions was presented to Parliament in 1866 containing over 3 million signatures petitioning for women to have the same voting rightsContinue reading “Women, the War and the Vote”
News of the armistice was greeted with joy by people all over Britain on the morning of November 11th 1918. The Fleet based in the Forth were given the news early in the morning and it is likely that people in Queensferry heard the news before people in London! There are three eyewitness accounts ofContinue reading “Armistice Day in Queensferry”
“At the beginning of 1918 it may have seemed that the War would continue indefinitely but as the year wore on significant events occurred which would bring the conflict to an end. During the German spring offensive the allied troops lost ground and sustained heavy losses, but German losses were also substantial and the attackContinue reading “Ceasefire”
The year 1918 saw two major offensives: The Spring Offensive (21st March – 18th July 1918) and the 100 Days Offensive (18th July – 11th November 1918), which brought about the end of the War on the Western Front. Queensferry and Dalmeny lost a total of 16 men to these offensives. The 100 Days Offensive,Continue reading “The 100 Days Offensive 1918”
1918 saw two major Offensives, The Spring Offensive 21st March – 18th July 1918 and the 100 Days Offensive 18th July – 11th November 1918, which brought about the end of the War on the Western Front. Queensferry and Dalmeny lost a total of 16 men to these offensives. The Spring Offensive 21st March –Continue reading “The Spring Offensive 1918”
Queensferry History Group has presented two major exhibitions relating to World War I. In 2013 Queensferry History Group, like many other community Groups throughout the country, was aware the time was approaching to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. In our area the communities of Dalmeny and Queensferry lost significant numbers of menContinue reading “Exhibitions Remembering the Great War”
By John Watkinson On Remembrance Day, I often think about my great uncle, David McIntosh. He died with the Canadian infantry in France in 1916 at the age of 23. I call him our family’s Unknown Soldier. About twenty years ago when I visited my mother in Scotland, she gave me a large bronze medallion.Continue reading “Our Family’s Unknown Soldier”
Listed below are the names of the men commemorated on Queensferry’s World War I War Memorial, with information about them. If you are related to the men – or want to share additional information about them – please get in touch. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Private Louis Alfred Anderson, 2nd Battalion, Royal Scots, was born in Queensferry inContinue reading “Queensferry War Memorial”
Listed below are the names of the men commemorated on Dalmeny’s World War I War Memorial, with information about them. If you are related to the men – or want to share additional information about them – please get in touch. Email: email@example.com Private Peter Anderson, of 12th Royal Scots, was born in Selkirk inContinue reading “Dalmeny’s War Memorial”
The War Memorials of Queensferry and Dalmeny . . . . Queensferry’s World War I Memorial was unveiled on Saturday 26th November 1927. The Memorial consists of a bronze plaque bearing in bold lettering the names of the 66 fallen and is surmounted by stone scrolls with the burgh coat of arms and supported onContinue reading “Remembering the Fallen”
The surrender of the German Fleet took place in the Firth of Forth on 21st November 1918, but the first moves took place two days earlier when the German ships set sail from Wilhelmshaven. Admiral Hipper, the Commander in Chief of the High Sea Fleet, refused to lead his ships into internment and chose RearContinue reading “Surrender”
Article XXI of the Armistice required the surrender of the entire German submarine fleet and a total of seventy four ships, including ten named battleships, six named battlecruisers, eight named light cruisers and fifty modern torpedo-boat destroyers. These were to be interned in neutral ports, or failing them, allied ports. The Germans were warned thatContinue reading “Negotiations in the Forth”
Conscription Conscription was introduced in January 1916 for single men aged 16-41. A few months later married men were also included. Men who were called up for service could appeal to a Local Military Tribunal. Tribunals were held at town level and also at county level. Reasons for appeal included ill health, hardship, moral orContinue reading “Conscription, Conscientious Objectors and Military Tribunals”
Their Majesties King George V and Queen Mary accompanied by the Prince of Wales visited the Grand Fleet in the Forth on the eve of the surrender of the German High Sea Fleet. They arrived at Barnton railway station in the evening of November 19th and slept there aboard the Royal Train. The following morning,Continue reading “The Royal Visit to Queensferry in 1918”
‘… Defending the Forth Bridge could be a dangerous business. In 1914 Pte. Paterson was killed while on sentry duty. In 1915 a company of the Royal Garrison Artillery suffered a terrible accident as they marched from the Inchgarvie Fort.’ Defending the Forth Bridge could be a dangerous business. In 1914 Pte. Paterson was killedContinue reading “Forth Bridge War Deaths”
Souvenir Tank Tank banks was the name given to a World War I, British Government, fund raising campaign for War Bonds and War Saving Certificates. William Goss and his son Adolphus are credited with the idea of making souvenir China items bearing the arms and names of seaside resorts which they manufactured from 1858 toContinue reading “The Queensferry Tank”
‘… The British Grand Fleet was based at Scapa Flow at the beginning of WW1. The battle-cruisers moved to Rosyth in December 1915, but it took until April 1918 to make the estuary safe enough for the rest of the Fleet to join them.’ The British Grand Fleet was based at Scapa Flow at theContinue reading “War in the Forth”
‘… On the third of August 1914 policemen posted notices around the Royal Burgh of Queensferry calling men to the Colours. War was declared the following day.’ On the third of August 1914 policemen posted notices around the Royal Burgh of Queensferry calling men to the Colours. War was declared the following day. Reservists andContinue reading “Call to Arms”
Emily Borrowman was the postmistress and telegraphist in Queensferry. She became the darling of sailors and soldiers who passed through Queensferry. Her office, where the Clydesdale Bank is today, was often swamped with servicemen sending telegrams and Emily’s collection of postcards from her admirers and memorabilia of the time tell the story of wartime lifeContinue reading “Women at War”