Monday, January 14, 2013

The London Scottish go into Battle ... but the response is poor

The London Scottish in Action
In December Valerie kindly sent me a digital scan of a picture of some soldiers of the London Scottish Regiment, taken by Harry Cull of Watford.  I was delighted as it all help to document the period when the Territorial Force was based in Hertfordshire for training during the First World War, as many of the official records have not been preserved. In addition the local newspapers (from 1915 onwards) were heavily censored to ensure they did not publish news of identifiable troops posted in the area. For instance we have many pictures of troops in Britton's Camp but all we know is that it was in the St Albans Area. Officially approved cards of the action often take the form of propaganda  - celebrating the undoubted heroism  and failing to mention the pain.

Much of the detailed surviving information about which units were billeted in Hertfordshire (when and where) undoubtedly rests in the post cards taken of the troops at the time, and other cards and letters, almost all of which are in the hands of the families, who kept them, often as a memory of someone who never came home. But when the family owners die such small paper items often end up being destroyed or orphaned in house clearance sales, because they relate to people the executors never knew.

So when I  updated the London Scottish page I suggested that over Christmas readers might look to see if they had any old post cards which could help build a better picture of what was going on in Hertfordshire during the First World War. The response was. to put it mildly, disappointing. While there is still eighteen months to the remembering the outbreak of the First World War I would like to have identified a lot more units / locations / dates before then.

O.K. I know that most of you are researching further back in time - but you also have a duty to ensure that information in your family's possession is not lost, but put on record so that it can available to future generations researching their long dead ancestors.  So why not share it - by ensuring it is available now to others researching their First World War ancestors ...

London Scottish Regiment

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