Saturday, July 30, 2016

First World War Anniversaries in Scotland

Two items just notified from Scotland's People, of relevance to the real history of the war:

[1.] The first march by the Women’s Peace Crusade - Glasgow, 23 July 1916

One of the big centenary celebrations taking place in Scotland this year is the anniversary of the first march of the Women’s Peace Crusade. The first march of the Women’s Peace Crusade took place in Glasgow on 23 July 1916, with 5,000 people attending this demonstration against the First World War. Working-class women played a prominent role in the Crusade, with Helen Crawfurd (1877-1954, her maiden surname was Jack), the ‘Red Clydesider’ who had also led the Glasgow Rent Strikes of 1915, one of the movement’s leaders.

To mark the centenary of the Peace Crusade march in Glasgow, we thought we’d highlight a record that offers an interesting insight into Helen Crawfurd’s home life. [There] is an entry from the 1911 Census, which shows Helen (aged 33) living at 38 Sutherland Street in Govan (in the parish of Partick), with her husband, Alexander (aged 82, a retired Church of Scotland minister), and Annie Laughland (nee Crawford), presumably a daughter from Alexander’s first marriage. It’s interesting to note that the 1911 Census entry spells Helen’s married surname as Crawford, not Crawfurd. 

Children hold placards about fathers in the forces.
And elsewhere: Women's Peace Crusade in Lancashire
A correspondent writes:
Please note that a group of volunteers are making a film about the 1917-1918 Women's Peace Crusade in East Lancashire with money from the AHRC. Lots of new material has been uncovered from local archives - huge processions in Nelson, riots in Oldham and Blackburn, hats torn off and women demonstrators attacked. It has become clear that local Crusades were organised by women weavers often linked to CO families. In Nelson in particular, the COs were nearly all ILP men.  
[It is planned] to write a little booklet too about each town that has been researched - Rochdale, Manchester, Oldham, Nelson, Burnley,Bolton and Blackburn. 
The film will be made by the Clapham Film unit who made These Dangerous Women - a short film about the failed British delegation to The Hague International Congress of Women in April 1915. You can watch it on YouTube. 
We will be filming in late September/early October. We went to Glasgow to be part of their celebrations and work alongside them. 
 One of the WPC handbills
 - It was censored and seized in a raid on the local Manchester WIL [Women's International League for Peace and Freedom] offices in Autumn 1917 and at the same time a number of house were raided too - possibly local 'safe' houses for COs?  There are 6 handbills in the John Rylands library in Manchester. 
The 'peace button' was sold on all the Crusades.

[2.] ‘The North of Scotland Special Military Area’ - designated on 25 July 2016

On 25 July 1916, the area north of the Great Glen was declared ‘The North of Scotland Special Military Area’, and access to non-residents was restricted. Here are two contemporary reports [copied below, not linked] from ‘The Scotsman’ newspaper about the wartime travel restrictions that were introduced in north Scotland on that date. 

[Image not from Scotland's People] 
From the stamp with date July 1917, reference to "the holder" and "[Banff-]shire Constabulary",
this looks like a fragment of a pass, required for movement into or out of the Special Military Area.
The holder's name was Catherine Flett.
The survival of even part of an actual pass seems to be unusual.

 The Scotsman July 18, 1916.
In future travellers to the North of Scotland will find their facilities somewhat restricted. Notice has been given that in exercise of the powers conferred upon them by the Defence of the Realm (Consolidation) Regulations, 1914, the Army council, with the concurrence of the Secretary for Scotland, have, by order, declared that on and after the 25th day of July a specified area, roughly north of the Caledonian Canal, will be a Special Military Area. The area in question includes the Burgh of Inverness and the whole of the mainland of Scotland which is situated to the north and west of the River Ness, Loch Ness, the road leading from Invermoriston Pier by Glenmoriston to Strath-cluanie and the river Shiel to Shielbridge, Loch Duich, Loch Alsh, and the Kyle of Loch Alsh. Except as otherwise provided by the regulation, no person shall on or after that date be allowed to enter the area without permission from the Commandant at Inverness. Permit books containing forms of application, and instructions as to how applications should be made are obtainable from any police station. Persons exempted from the provisions of the regulations include members of His Majesty's Forces, officials of the Crown, any person under the age of sixteen years, all dock-yard men employed in the area, and all persons who are or have been since the outbreak of war resident within the area.or in any part of the counties of Inverness, Ross, Elgin or Nairn.
In view of the agitation in some quarters for the closer supervision of aliens and naturalised foreigners, the military authorities are confident that in taking this step they will have the support of the public. That the new regulations will cause some inconvenience will be at once apparent. Something like a Continental frontier station is to be established at Inverness, where, unless the official permit is in order, anyone will be liable to be turned back. The railway companies will naturally be called upon to co-operate to some extent, and no ticket will he issued to the restricted area except to a person in possession of a permit. The official permit will require to contain a photograph of the holder. Adequacy of purpose will have to be proved before such a permit is issued. Although a tourist may be quite an innocent person, it is pointed out by the military authorities that there may be strong reasons for refusing permission to enter the military area. Cameron of Lochiel has been appointed Commandant at Inverness, and with his intimate knowledge of the district as an asset, it is expected that the regulations will be administered tactfully and with a minimum of friction.

The Scotsman, July 24, 1916.
The Secretary for Scotland forwards the following, through the Press Bureau, for publication:-

It is thought desirable to bring the following points to the notice of persons requiring to travel to places in the North of Scotland Special Military Area.
The area includes the town of Inverness and the mainland of Scotland lying to the north and west of a line proceeding from Inverness to Invermoriston Pier (Loch Ness): from Invermoriston Pier along the road to Shiel Bridge; and thence to the Kyle of Loch Alsh [Lochalsh] by Loch Duich and Loch Alsh. The restrictions applicable to this area come into force on the 25th instant.
Any member of the general public, desiring to enter the Special Military Area should apply to the police of the district in which he resides for the necessary forms on which to make application for a permit.
Two photographs of the applicant measuring not more than one and a-half inch square will be required. After obtaining the forms from the police he will have to forward his application to the Deputy Commandant, Special Military Area, Inverness, in whom the power to issue permits is vested.
Passengers will not be booked by the railway companies to stations north or west of Inverness unless they produce a permit to enter the Special Military Area.

The restrictions on the general public do not apply to persons under the age of 16 years or to persons who are and have been since 4th August 1914 ordinarily resident in the Special Military Area or in any part of the counties of Inverness, Ross and Cromarty, Elgin, or Nairn. 

[The Special Military Area features in John Buchan's 1919 novel "Mr. Standfast".]

(UPDATE) Two later blogposts here cast more light on opposition to the war in Scotland:

*A First World War Conscientious Objector from Lewis* *Court-martialled on 11th July 1916* This blog has already looked at the cost to the Isle of Lewis of the First World War, and also at the situation of Conscientious Objectors (COs) to that conflict, in Britain generally and the London Borough of Ealing more particularly. Up until recently it has looked as though there were few if any Leodhasachs [Lewismen] who took the courageous and perilous path of conscientious objection when conscription was introduced in early 1916, although there were many who applied for exemption on other grounds.

As well as Donald Maclennan, three other men from Lewis, as previously noted, appear on the Pearce Register. Their varying experiences in the First World War, according to the records on that database, are looked at here. In addition the Appeal Tribunal files for two of them have been consulted. 

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