New Book Details Scotland’s First World War Contribution and Heritage


An extensively illustrated book, Scotland’s First World War, divulging into the physical legacy of the war in Scotland, has been launched in Orkney.

The book follows an audit of the buildings ad structures of the First World War, which was commissioned by Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) in 2013. This identified not only a surprising number but also a wide variety of buildings and monuments across the country, over 900 in total. This information will greatly increase our understanding of the impact of the conflict in Scotland. In numerous cases their First World War connections were little known.

The new book explores the surprising wealth of buildings and structures from the war and what they tell us about the magnitude and achievements of the war effort in Scotland.

Included in the book is a wide range of outstanding archive images of military bases, personnel and equipment, as well as some of the lesser-known aspects of the war, such as drill halls, prisoner of war camps and hospitals. It exposes how the conflict influenced all communities in the country during the war and illustrates the range of work undertaken across Scotland to protect the country against enemy attack and prepare the Scottish soldiers for war.


Scotland’s First World War was launched on Friday by Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, during a visit to Lyness and Scapa Flow in Orkney. The naval site at Lyness has substantial links to WWI, when Scapa Flow was the base of the British Grand Fleet. Now the home of a visitor centre, it boasts poignant and sometimes very personal artefacts from Royal Navy ships anchored in Scapa Flow during the war, and from the German High Seas Fleet, which was interned here after the Armistice and scuttled by its German crews in 1919.

Thistle: WikiPedia
Thistle: WikiPedia

Fiona Hyslop said: “As we approach the centenary of the outbreak of the conflict, it is important that we reflect on the sacrifice and immense efforts of our forebears in defence of our country. This is something we will be forever grateful for. It is equally as important to appreciate the tangible remainders of that conflict that still exist in our historic environment. Much has already been written about the First World War, but we still have a lot to learn.

“Scotland’s First World War will prove invaluable to our education and understanding of how every community played its part during World War One.”

Ms Hyslop added: “The book is based on detailed research commissioned by Historic Scotland and RCAHMS and is an excellent addition to our knowledge and understanding of the built heritage of the First World War in Scotland. I hope people of all ages will read it to learn more about this important period and gain a deeper appreciation of what previous generations did for their country.”

The author of Scotland’s First World War, Kevin Munro of Historic Scotland, commented: “Scotland’s role in the First World War was significant and we are learning more all the time about the contribution made by communities across the country. While the centenary is primarily a period of commemoration, it is also an opportunity to learn more about the conflict and the history and built heritage of WWI. It was a privilege to research and write Scotland’s First World War and I hope the contribution it makes to our knowledge will spur current and future generations to keep the legacy of WWI alive.”


Contributing Source: Historic Scotland

Header Image Source: WikiPedia



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