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Recruitment Poster

This recruiting poster for the Scottish Regiments dates from 1919. The poster reads 'Recruits Wanted for the Scottish Regiments, This is the Life for a Scotsman'. It was issued at a time when Scotland was just coming to terms with the supreme sacrifice of 145,000 of its servicemen and women during the First World War, and also at a time when, with the Empire at its largest extent ever, the British government desperately needed recruits.

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Recapture of Sanctuary Wood by the Black Watch, June 1916 by W.B. Wollen R.A.

The 42nd Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada, in action at Sanctuary Wood (Belgium), 1916, by William Barnes Wollen (1857 - 1936).The Canadian Expeditionary Force of volunteers for the First World War included numerous battalions formed as Scottish regiments. This particular battalion of Canada’s Black Watch suffered heavy casualties at Sanctuary Wood during the Battle of Mount Sorrel. William Barnes Wollen was a painter in oil and watercolour of military subjects, genre and portraits.

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Yarta and Ida Saxby of Halligarth House 'Digging for Victory', Baltasound, Unst, Shetland Isles, during the First World War

Serious food shortages in 1917 resulted in increased prices, especially for imported foodstuffs. The British Government encouraged people to produce their own food, public and private gardens were turned over to vegetable plots, while previously uncultivated land, such as school playgrounds were also taken over.

Until conscription was introduced in 1916, the efforts of voluntary recruitment could seriously disrupt the work of the countryside. In fact, the aim of conscription was not to get more men for the fighting, but to keep vital workers from enlisting and safeguard the production of food and materials without which the war could not be carried on. As more and more men were called to do their duty, so their work in the factories and on the land was taken over by women.

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Anti-gas hood, issued to British soldiers on Western Front, 1916

This anti-gas hood was issued to British soldiers on the Western Front in 1916. Its issue was one of a series attempts to meet the new threat of poison gas, first used by the German army in 1915, following an initial British use. The woolen hood was dipped in chemicals that could filter out much of the gas as the wearer breathed in through his nose. The 'non-return' valve at the mouth was for breathing out. Although not entirely effective, these hoods gave enough protection and reassurance to reduce the threat posed by poison gas. Gas was itself a very difficult weapon to control and use effectively.

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Sopwith Pup single seat fighter biplane used for training at Gullane in 1918

This Sopwith Pup is being used for pilot training at the No 2 Training Depot Station at Gullane around 1918. Pilots would graduate to this single seat fighter after completing their basic training in the two seat Avro 504K trainer aircraft. The Sopwith Pup single seat fighter biplane was mostly powered by an 80hp Le Rhone rotary engine and used by the Royal Flying Corps from 1916 to December 1918 when it was declared obsolete. It was armed with a Vickers machine gun synchronised to fire through the propeller. Its top speed was 110mph.

The No 2 Training Depot Station re-formed in April 1918 at West Fenton (Gullane) airfield, later known as Drem. Gullane had earlier been a Home Defence landing ground for 77 Squadron in 1916/1917, and the American 41st Aero Squadron for a short time in 1918.

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Trench weapons, used by British soldiers on Western Front

These trench weapons were bought or made by individual British soldiers for use on the Western Front during the First World War. The unexpected conditions of trench warfare meant that conventional modern infantry weapons like the rifle and bayonet were often of little use for the hand-to-hand fighting that sometimes occurred. Some 'trench' weapons were factory produced in Britain and sold commercially, for example, the 'punch dagger' and knuckle-duster knife made by the firm of Robbins of Dudley in Leicestershire - the top and middle weapons in the picture. Others were improvised from materials available locally. The weapon at the foot of the picture (known as a 'French Nail') was made from reused metal supports for barbed wire.

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First World War Collection Objects

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