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Digging In Pollok Park: A Tour of the Trenches (Part 1)

By Euan Loarridge, Great War Project Editor

Digging in Map

Satellite image of the Pollock Park trenches, taken  24/05/2018. Features are marked numerically and match the headings in this post. Google 2018.

For the past three years, Northlight Heritage, in partnership with the University of Glasgow and Glasgow City Council, has built and maintained a series of reconstruction trenches in the grounds of Pollok Country Park. As the centenary comes to a close, so to do the trenches, with the final open day taking place Sunday 9th of December 2018 (For more information see here). This post is the first of a two part blog which will take a virtual tour of the trenches explaining their purpose and how they have developed over the past three years. The second part of this blog will be made available on the DiggingIn Website.

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Words of WW1: Poems of the Great War

Official Banner - Words of WW1

Earlier this year in April we released a blog announcing that the student-led project Words of WW1 was looking for actors and film-makers to come together to film a series of cinematic recitals of poetry from the First World War. After a stunning premiere in the University of Glasgow’s Memorial Chapel on August 20th, the project has released one new poem each week, each one focusing a different aspect of the First World War. This blog post collects together the 10 videos created by the project into a single post. Each video has been given a brief introduction discussing the background to each poem and how this has been interpreted in the film.

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Event: ‘Shipbuilding on the Home Front during the Great War’ October 24th 2018

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A standard ship under construction at a shipyard along the River Clyde in Scotland 1917. The progress seen in the photograph was the result of two weeks’ work. (IWM Q 19455)

Public Lecture

 ‘Shipbuilding on the Home Front during the Great War, with special reference to Clydeside’.

Professor Hugh Murphy, Department of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow

 

Wednesday 24th October 2018

6-30-7-30pm

Yudowitz Seminar Room

Wolfson Medical School Building

University Avenue.

 

An event to mark the centenary of the end of the Great War.

Sponsored by the Centre for Business History in Scotland.

University of Glasgow

 

RSVP Christine Leslie by e-mail no later than Friday 12 October. Christine.Leslie@glasgow.ac.uk

Refreshments will be served

 

Harland&Wolff1917

King George V watching workers shaping steel stays during his visit to the Harland & Wolff Ltd. shipyard in Govan, Glasgow, 20 September 1917. (IWM Q 54808)

Officers’ Service Records: University Fallen in the National Archives

By Euan Loarridge, PhD Candidate, Department of History, University of Glasgow.

OfficersServiceRecordHeader

Header of Army Form M.T.392 (The Pink Form) Application for a appointment to a temporary commission in the Army during WW1. WO_339/38350 TNA, London.

Amongst the National Archives’ vast collection of documents relating to the First World War are boxes WO_339 and WO_374, which together constitute a series of files related to the service records of individual officers of the British Army who served in that conflict. Unlike the service records for ordinary ranks, which are available to view and search online,  digital copies of officers service records are  not currently available and so can only be accessed in hard copy, in person, at the National Archives in London.

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Event: A Glasgow Elegy, November 10th 2018

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UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW CHORAL SOCIETY & CHAPEL CHOIR COMMEMORATIVE CONCERT – KATY LAVINIA COOPER, CONDUCTOR

Date: Saturday 10 November 2018
Time: 19:30 – 21:15 approx.
Venue: University of Glasgow Memorial Chapel, off University Avenue, G12 8QQ

The University of Glasgow Choral Society & Chapel Choir are pleased to announce that the One Hundredth Anniversary of the 1918 Armistice will be commemorated by a special concert, held in the University’s Memorial Chapel on Saturday, November 10th. To mark this special occasion, a new choral piece has been commissioned from the young Glasgow composer, Tom Harrold, which will be premiered as part of the concert programme. The text of the piece, ‘A Glasgow Elegy’, has been written specially by the poet Grahame Davies and will be conducted by Katy Lavinia Cooper.

 

Tickets: £10 (student concession £5 with ID) on door from 6.45pm subject to availability.

Advance ticket reservations from 15 October by emailing music@glasgow.ac.uk (for collection and payment on door by 7.15pm) or through the eventbrite page: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/glasgow-university-ww1-choral-concert-tickets-51956053956

 

The Way, The Truth, The Life.

You left the path that leads away from pain

and took the way you cannot take again.

You trusted that the search for truth was sweet,

but bitter fruit you did not fear to eat.

You loved, and so you left the light of day

and found a greater light a darker way.

A Glasgow Elegy, by Grahame Davies

 

‘Our Little Holiday’ Glasgow Fair on the Western Front

By Kath Roper-Caldbeck,  University of Glasgow Archives and Special Collections Volunteer

‘Glasgow Fair is on so I do not see why we out here should not have our little holiday as well.’

Daniel McFarlane, 13 July 1918, from the Western Front

 

DC179-2-1-4-12_Daniel McFarlane

DC179-2-1-4-12 Photograph of S/17857 Private (Later Lance Corporal) Daniel McFarlane, 7th Battalion Queens Own Cameron Highlanders, taken while on leave in Tain, Invernesshire in 1915.

 

As an Information Management and Preservation MSc student I have been volunteering at the University of Glasgow Archives & Special Collections, working on a project enhancing existing catalogues.  One of the collections is that of Daniel McFarlane, a medical graduate of the University who fought in the First World War having joined the 7th battalion of the Cameron Highlanders in April 1915. The collection includes an extensive archive of around two hundred letters written to his mother and three sisters throughout the war, which cover his experiences from initial training in Inverness and Tain, to fighting in the trenches in France, and finally ending his war in Belgium where he was demobilized in 1919.

As we in Glasgow approach the time of the Fair holiday in July, a tradition that dates back to the 12th century, it seems appropriate to highlight a letter Daniel wrote to his sister Annie 100 years ago on 13th July 1918 where we can see this was not far from his thoughts. On the second page he mentions that the ‘Glasgow Fair is on so I do not see why we out here should not have our little holiday as well’. [1] He then proceeds to detail the recent company sports day that was held, which had gone very well for him:

‘We had company sports the other day & I got one or two events. I got first in the 220 yds race & was a member of the winning team in the relay race, I myself running in the last 220 yds & getting in first. I got second in the 100 yds, but feel confident I could have got first had the start been fairer. I also got third in the long jump, just going in for fun, & never having attempted it before.’ [2]

He does however mention that ‘So far we have had no prizes’ [3] and jokes that he had better stop these or be accused a cheat.

 

 

This letter has an optimistic tone, with the company at that time having moved away from the front. A minor complaint about a cut on his finger making it difficult to write is brushed aside as he writes ‘still what does that matter when we have no prospect of the trenches before us for some time.’ [4]

Daniel would have another six months to go before demobilization. In October he tells his mother about a close escape he had from some action, unlike the rest of his section:

‘You see they were going over the top just at the very hour I left them…I was extremely lucky. Nearly all my section got slightly wounded & all good soldiers every one.’ [5]

By this time rumours that the war was to end were circulating:

‘We are all frightfully alert as regards peace news just now & the feeling here is that it may come at any moment. The popular belief of us on this course is that we will see no more fighting as it will be over before we return… I expect everyone at home too will be on pins & needles as regards the news.’ [6]

Writing to his mother in December 1918 following the Armistice of 11 November, Daniel’s thoughts have turned to future life beyond the war.  He ask his mother to make enquiries on his behalf following reports he saw in the newspapers ‘that students were in the same position as men who had jobs awaiting them that is the men who would go first’ [7] potentially after Christmas.

 

 

 

01.Letter DC179-1-2-15-7 (pages1and4)

Daniel’s final letter from Belgium written on the 12th of January 1919, DC179/1/2/15/7.

 

By this time his section had moved from France to Belgium and indeed just after Christmas on the 13 Jan 1919 he got the good news, as relayed to his mother:

‘This, I hope, is the last letter I will write to you from Belgium… I received yesterday a call to the orderly room I guessed pretty well what the reason was… when I got to the orderly room I was informed that I was for demobilization. Yesterday I had my papers signed, today I see the C/O and tomorrow I expect to hike the homeward trail & very nice too. Do not be surprised then if I am some time on the road. Travelling is very slow…. The fastest part of the journey, according the letters from those already demobilized is from London to Glasgow’ [8]

He ends this letter by asking her to ‘hunt out the “civvies”!’ [9] That same year Daniel went on to study Medicine at Glasgow University, graduating in 1924.  He continued to practice medicine as a GP until he retired in 1966.

 

 


There are many more letters in the collection to explore, along with postcards, photographs, telegrams and official army correspondence. You can find the updated catalogue here: https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/glaas/data/gb248-dc179

Read more WW1 related content on the University of Glasgow Library’s Blog:

‘Dear Mother, just a note to inform you that I have seen the war through safely’
by Kimberly Beasley.

The First World War and the University of Glasgow: The Participation of Students and Staff by Nichola Jones.

References:

[1] DC 179/1/2/14/9

[2] DC 179/1/2/14/9

[3] DC 179/1/2/14/9

[4] DC 179/1/2/14/9

[5] DC 179/1/2/15/1

[6] DC 179/1/2/15/1

[7] DC 179/1/2/15/4

[8] DC 179/1/2/15/7

[9] DC 179/1/2/15/7

Archie Bowman: Prisoner of War

By Hamish Ross, Author of ‘Archie Bowman: Foot Soldier, German PoW & League of Nations Man’, 2018

Archie Bowman Book

Hamish Ross’ new book on Archie Bowman was published by Pen & Sword in June 2018. 

When C Company 10/11 HLI was given the order to surrender, Lieutenant Archie Bowman found it hard to take: ‘My vote was cast for a fight to the finish, but Mr Cuthbertson who was in command ordered the surrender. I do not blame him. He is a splendid fellow, and was wounded in two places. But to me the act of surrender was almost unendurable.’

So swift was the enemy advance at the battle of the Lys on 9 April 1918 that their haul of prisoners had to suffer a two-march to reach a railhead to be transported to prison camps in Germany. The pace of the long file of prisoners was slow because of the wounded; it looked like a huge funeral procession, only, Bowman wrote, they ‘left behind the dying and the dead.’

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