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Thomson Family WW1 scrapbooks (volume 2)

Thomson Family WW1 scrapbooks (volume 2)
Thomson Family WW1 scrapbooks (volume 2)
This is the 2nd of 2 scrapbooks compiled during World War One by the Thomson Family who lived at Glengyle Terrace in Edinburgh. Most of the items pasted into the scrapbooks are press cuttings, leaflets, scraps and adverts but there is also personal ephemera, such as letters and a ration book, which give personal details and an indication of the impact of war on the family. Many of the letters of correspondence are sent to Thomas Thomson. Yet Thomas Davidson Thomson was only 3 years old at the outbreak of war and so, his we think that his parents collated and maintained the scrapbooks, which span the full period of the war, on his behalf.

The second scrapbook starts with postcard views of where HMS Hampshire sunk off the coast of Orkney in 1916. The warship hit a u-boat mine in heavy storms and sank with the loss of 650 lives including the Minister for War, Lord Kitchener. A handwritten note in the scrapbook reads,
'This is where the 'Hampshire' was lost. The men were blown away along the coast to Skaill Bay where the solitary raft was blown in. Other sailors were hauled up the cliffs by ropes but were too far gone with exposure. The poor men must have suffered terribly.'

The entry sets the tone of the second scrapbook which is less colourful with fewer scraps, tokens and illustrations. The impact of war on the homefront is evident in the items related to rationing - an army sugar permit, Ministry of Food meat card, fresh egg collection permit - and official notices to conserve resources. 'Hide the poker' declares one leaflet, explaining how people can avoid unnecessary waste; another for Scottish Tillage Week, encourages the public to cultivate 'every yard' for crops. There are also example of letters received which have been 'opened by censor' and a leaflet from the Lord Provost calling all citizens to contribute their savings to the War Loan scheme including a quote from politician, Mr. Bonar Law:
'Shall it ever be said that we were willing to give our sons, but we were not willing to give our money?'
A picture of bomb damage at George Watson's Boys' College brings the threat of war startlingly close to home. There are leaflets for a church's roll of honour and the Watsonian War Memorial listing the fallen sons of Edinburgh.

Thomas continues to receive letters of thanks for small donations given to charitable causes. There's a receipt for 8 shillings for the sick and wounded British Army Horses at the front, a card from the Red Cross for half a crown to buy 'such nice things for some of the wounded soldiers' and even a letter from Buckingham Palace sent on behalf of Princess Mary for 5 shillings given to HRH's Sailors' and Soldiers' Christmas fund.
There are a couple of random and unexplained pictures possibly taken in South Africa. One is a remarkable photograph of the skeleton of a crashed airship, the other of a man doing an acrobatic pole-vaulting stunt.

Finally there is news of peace and the surrender of the German fleet in the Forth. On the last page, pressed like real flowers, are 2 handmade red silk poppies, bringing the World War One scrapbooks to a close.

Browse volume 1 of the WW1 scrapbooks or read about Central Library's search to trace the Thomson family who donated the scrapbooks on our blog.