Undelivered postcards for Scottish WWI soldiers found in railway station roof

A bundle of postcards sent to serving Scottish soldiers during World War One – and never received – have been found hidden in a railway station roof.

Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 4:57 pm

Now, the search is on for information about the the men the cards were addressed to in the hope they can be sent to their families or held in archives to complete their war record.

The postcards emerged during work to renew the roof at Stirling station, where workmen discovered a “treasure trove” of papers and post concealed in a crawl space.

Amongst the postcards were a number dated to April 1916, which were sent to troops and regiments stationed at barracks at Cambusbarron requesting they collect kit bags and parcels from the station.

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A handful of the postcards addressed to serving soldiers during World War One that were never received. PIC: Network Rail.

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Following the discovery, Network Rail worked with the regimental museums for the Gordon Highlanders, the Cameron Highlanders and the Black Watch in a bid to trace the named soldiers.

Helen Agnew, Network Rail project manager for the Stirling Station roof works said, “It’s been incredible to see these postcards, many of which are more than one hundred years old and to find out about some of the items that were sent on the railway.

"Finding these items in the roof of the station has already offered a fantastic insight into the past but to be able to trace any family members of those who served would be incredible.”

The relatives of Captain & Quartermaster Arthur James MacDonald, of the 8th Battalion of the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders, are among those being sought.

Research by military archivists found Captain MacDonald was wounded on October 28 1918, possibly at the Battle of Cambrai.

Given this was only several weeks from Armistice, the Regimental Museum believes it was likely he survived the war and possibly returned home.

The families of several men who served with the 11th Gordon Highlanders are also being traced, including those related to 2nd Lt. J M or H Campbell, Private W Reddiford of B Company and the Commanding Officer of A Company .

It is also hoped that mail addressed to Private George Rankine, of 6th Black Watch, can also be sent on to members of his family.

Ernie Pope, Co-ordinator for The Highlanders’ Museum who was instrumental in the research into Captain MacDonald, said: “I believe the importance of remembrance is that everyone of us, in this country, will have a distant relative who either, took part in the Great War, or was impacted by it.

"We should never forget the suffering, loss and sacrifice made by so many during one of the darkest periods of world history. Let us all hope and pray we never see it’s like again.”

A number of regiments were stationed in barracks around the village of Cambusbarron during both World Wars, with Hayford Mill used as a training base by the King's Own Scottish Borderers.

Also among the post found in the roof was a bundle of Caledonian Railway postcards, which had been sent to members of the public in the Stirling area asking that they collect items which had been sent on the train.

The postcards and papers are in a fragile condition and are now set to be professionally preserved.

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