Remembering the fallen South Queensferry soldiers of WWI

A First World War postcard showing South Queensferry High Street. Picture: Queensferry History Group
A First World War postcard showing South Queensferry High Street. Picture: Queensferry History Group
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New exhibition remembers the troops from Queensferry who went to the bloody First World War battlefields and never returned

THEY were fathers, brothers and sons who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

And now the stories of those men who waved goodbye to the shores of the Forth for the bloody French battlefields of the First World War will be told on their home soil in South Queensferry.

Opening today, Queensferry at War will feature medals, uniforms, photographs and memorabilia, as well as detailing life in the royal burgh for those women left behind.

A spokesman for the Queensferry History Group, who has organised the six-month long exhibition at Queensferry Museum, said: “We hope children in particular will visit the museum and get to know the men from Queensferry who went to war and never returned.

“Using seldom-seen photos, the exhibition will give visitors a feel for the town during the four-year war as a place for off-duty sailors to relax and where casualties from Jutland were treated at Butlaw hospital adjoining Port Edgar.”

The 72-hour Battle of Jutland, on May 31, 1916, saw 250 British and German ships – and some 100,000 men – clash off the Danish coast.

Two battle cruisers were lost by the British in the first hour, along with more than 2000 men. The German fleet managed to escape and quickly proclaimed the battle a victory.

Wounded servicemen were taken to the Royal Naval Hospital at Butlaw, to the west of South Queensferry, to be treated for their injuries – their stories adding to the port’s rich history.

Housed in Edinburgh City Council’s free-to-visit Queensferry Museum, tomorrow’s exhibition will bring the mighty Jutland sea battle to life, while also portraying trench warfare and everyday events in the town between 1914 and 1918.

Maps will show where some of the 103 war dead from Queensferry and Dalmeny lived – whose names appear on memorials in the area – and the battlefields where many of them died.

One panel will tell the story of the bloody Battle of the Somme, and another the lives of local women on the home front.

Councillor Norman Work said: “Like many Scottish towns and communities during the First World War, Queensferry suffered from a terrible loss of life. The names of the sons, fathers, brothers and neighbours who tragically never returned have been immortalised thanks to Queensferry’s war memorials, but this exhibition remembers the men behind the names.

“Their medals and photographs, which have been lovingly passed from one generation to another, have been carefully displayed by the 
history group. It is fantastic to have their research chronicled in our museum.

“It is free to visit and a timely reminder of the royal burgh’s war history ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland this May.”

Queensferry History Group formed in 1988 to stimulate an interest in local history, comprising members of all ages and backgrounds who live in the area. The Queensferry at War exhibition will be open for six months including the anniversary commemorations for the Battle of Jutland in May. Opening hours are Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 10am-1pm and 2.15pm-5pm; and Sunday noon-5pm. It is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The exhibition is funded by the Almond Neighbourhood Partnership.

newsen@edinburghnews.com