London Scottish FC features heavily in this new examination of World War One which pulls together the often untold stories of ten Scottish organisations in London.
Club Patron HRH The Princess Royal is patron to the group’s events and has written the foreword to the book.
The 11,000-word chapter on London Scottish FC has been written by Club Secretary Paul McFarland and Paul has edited the rest of the book.
Rugby players from London Scottish were quick to join up. More than three quarters of the 60 who turned out for the club in the last weeks before the war never returned. Altogether the Club War Memorial lists 103 names. The book tells the story of many of those who died, 20 of whom were full Scottish internationals, and of some of those who survived and returned to help rebuild the club.
The book opens with how St Columba’s Church of Scotland in Knightsbridge fed and entertained nearly 50,000 Scottish troops heading home on leave or returning to the trenches. Moving letters from grateful families are quoted. John Buchan was an elder of the church, so too Sir Douglas Haig after the war. The other Scottish Kirk in London, Crown Court numbered Football Association supremo Lord Kinnaird among its elders – he lost both his sons during the conflict.
There was a heavy toll amongst Scots in London who were members of the Caledonian Club. The Club’s substantial art collection immortalises its connection to the Great War, some of which is reproduced in the book. Many members and associates of Scottish churches and clubs were quick to join the London Scottish Regimenton the outbreak of war. They became the first territorials to see action after being rushed to the frontline close to Ypres in October 1914. The Scots Guards, too, had longstanding links with the capital. Scottish exiles in Canada joining their local regiments were pleased to remember their roots and traditions as they moved through wartime London.
The Royal Scottish Corporation charity, founded by Scottish benefactors in London, which evolved into ScotsCare, and the Royal Caledonian Educational Trust, supported the troops and families and their role is covered. There are also chapters on the Caledonian Society and the Burns Club of London.
One hundred years on from the final year of conflict this book examines the close links between these organisations and their shared hopes, fears and tragic losses. Scotland’s casualties in World War One wee disproportionately higher than other parts of the UK. The book reflects how that toll was reflected south of the border in London, through which so many Scottish soldiers would have passed on their way to and from the horrors of war.
Publication Date 26 June
£19.95 plus £4.00P&P