Queensferry at War
On the third of August 1914 policemen posted notices around the Royal Burgh of Queensferry calling men to the Colours. War was declared the following day. Reservists and members of the Territorial Army, the "Ferry Terries", took to bicycles to join their units. Naval exercises were underway and the King's Harbourmaster was about to take control of the whole the Firth of Forth.
The story of the war and its impact on Queensferry is the subject of our Queensferry History Group project. For the duration of our project, exhibitions, talks, and this dedicated website will reveal our extensive research into the events which marked "the war to end all wars.”
Also visit our sister QaW blog: http://queensferry-at-war.weebly.com
Jutland 100 – On the Forth Community Commemoration Event
28th May – 2pm
The Queensferrt at War Exhibition is open at Queensferry Museum.
For details see our News & Events
Queensferry History Group will be holding a series of talks and exhibitions during the WW1 centenary. We will publicise our events in the press and on this website: News & Events
Our Queensferry at War research reveals many fascinating and informative stories about the memorial names, life in Queensferry and about our rich naval history.
Our memorials team are researching the Queensferry and Dalmeny memorial names and also church, school and masonic memorials. Queensferry Memorial.
Queensferry at War - Published Stories:
What was life like in Queensferry during The Great War?
We explore the happenings in the Burgh and the impact on the residents.
The British Grand Fleet was based at Scapa Flow at the beginning of WW1. The battle-cruisers moved to Rosyth in December 1915, but it took until April 1918 to make the estuary safe enough for the rest of the Fleet to join them.
Andrew Kerr, Naval Historian, tells the story.
Defending the Forth Bridge could be a dangerous business. In 1914 Pte. Paterson was killed while on sentry duty.
In 1915 a company of the Royal Garrison Artillery suffered a terrible accident as they marched from the Inchgarvie Fort.
This crested china 13cm model of a Mark IV British tank was manufactured by Carlton China, Stoke-on-Trent, and sold by Rae & Co., Stationers, South Queensferry
Tank Banks was the name given to a World War I, British Government, fund raising campaign for War Bonds and War Saving Certificates.
Queensferry at War - Future Stories:
Britain's declaration of war against Germany in August 1914 put the Firth of Forth on a war footing. New regulations came into force for shipping in the Forth. Plans were put in place to make the Forth a major base for the Grand Fleet. Fortifications around the Forth Bridge were brought into action.
Hundreds of Queensferry men enlisted to fight in the war. They boarded troop trains at a station near what is now the lawn bowling club. Suddenly Queensferry was short of workers. What were school children told of this conflict and how did the burgh react? We explain the background to the war and what is was like in our burgh.
On Saturday, 5 September 1914 HMS Pathfinder, a destroyer flotilla leader based in the Forth, became the first ship to be sunk by a torpedo fired from a submarine. A massive blast send the elderly warship to the bottom off St Abbs Head in just four minutes with the loss of 259 men.
The injured were rushed back to be treated at Butlaw Naval Hospital at Queensferry. The first war graves appeared in Queensferry. The sinking stunned the Royal Navy as it realised how wrong it was to dismiss the danger of German submarines. We will also tell you about the luxurious American yacht berthed at Port Edgar that became a hospital ship.
German Spy In Queensferry
The History Group will relate the story of Carl Hans Lody, the German spy who cycled out to Queensferry from the North British Hotel in Edinburgh, to report on naval ship movements in the Forth. He would cable his dispatches to an address in neutral Sweden but he was eventually found out and sent to the Tower of London to meet his fate. The UK was gripped by spy mania.
At his trial, Lody would not reveal the name of his spy master but the wife of another German spy revealed all. We have the story.
Woman At WarEmily Borrowman was the postmistress and telegraphist in Queensferry. She became the darling of sailors and soldiers who passed through Queensferry. Her office, where the Clydesdale Bank is today, was often swamped with servicemen sending telegrams and Emily’s collection of postcards from her admirers and memorabilia of the time tell the story of wartime life in Queensferry. Emily left a fabulous archive of photographs and servicemen's art which we display online.
Jutland was the largest and most significant naval action of World War 1 but was it judged a success for the Royal Navy? What happened to the injured on their return to the Firth of Forth? How did Queensferry react to the conflict and the loss of life?
Robert Whitehead, a British Engineer, developed his first torpedo in the 1860s. By the start of WW1 it was realised that although Britain had the largest navy and the most advanced warships, small fast torpedo boats could destroy this advantage if the they could get close enough to the ships. To counter this threat, Britain developed Motor Torpedo Boat Destroyers, known simply as Destroyers.
The sinking of the Pathfinder, followed quickly by the total destruction of the so-called "live-bait" squadron by German U-boats firing torpedoes, demonstrated the vulnerability of warships to this form of attack and gave a new role to destroyers. HMS Columbine became the Torpedo Boat Destroyer base for the Firth of Forth.
Butlaw HospitalButlaw, situated just to the west of Queensferry, has a naval history stretching back to HMS Caledonia, the navy training ship. How did this become a hospital? Who was the patron? Who staffed the hospital? All will be revealed.
Victory and DefeatImagine the spectacle, Ships filled the Forth as the German High Seas Fleet, sailed up the firth between rows of British naval vessels to where the Germans formally surrendered. The “war to end all wars” was over. We look back at this impressive spectacle and how the allied victory affected our burgh.
Queensferry War Graves
The crew of HMS Pathfinder provided the first war graves in Queensferry Cemetery and the Battle of Jutland provided the most graves. Who is buried here, most were far from home, and what are their stories?