SEA WAR MUSEUM

Another delightful and interesting article from regular contributor Peter Young of IndyScot News based in Denmark as he continues to reflect on his early life in Glasgow.

Sea War Museum

It was in our Dennistoun tenement, late one night in 1964, that I became aware of the reality of the First World War. In our wee multi-purpose kitchen with its coal fire, gas cooker, clothes pulley and two armchairs, there was a big black and white telly with a small screen. 

I was propped up on one of the armchairs by the fireplace, playing with Airfix ‘sodjurs’ on a little tray. Only ma Da and I were awake. He switched on the box and a program began, it was called ‘The Great War’. Like many East End children of the era, the father figure in my home was often a stranger. So, the chance to sit up late wi ma Da, and experience the magical world of a TV documentary for the first time, was a bit special. 

The opening titles were set against bleak trench scenes, haunting images of the living, and skeletal faces of the dead. The theme music matched the mood of the intro and the voice of the narrator carried a sombre, funereal tone. That slightly spooky introduction made a huge impression on my seven-year-old mind.

Fast forward several decades and I’m driving north on the west coast of Jutland. I’m heading for the recently opened ‘Sea War Museum’ to do some research for an educational publication. The main road out of Esbjerg soon narrows. A convoy of huge lorries is heading south. I keep hard right as they roar past with tubular elements for wind turbines. They’re on their way to the Vestas facility by Esbjerg harbour. 

Running parallel with the main road, and at a safe distance from traffic, are cycle paths. Even here in one of Denmark’s most remote regions there’s excellent infrastructure for the all-conquering bicycle! 

The Sea War Museum is in Thyborøn, a small town in the north west which is, historically, one of Denmark’s largest fishing ports. After a few hours driving through the watery, marshland scenery under big skies, signs for my destination begin to appear. 

The museum is situated at the end of a peninsula, right on the coast. Stepping out of the car, the first thing you hear is the roar of the North Sea on the other side of the sand dunes. A quick stroll around the grounds reveals a selection of military artefacts on display – everything from torpedoes to naval guns. However, it’s inside that the real exhibition begins.

The museum was opened on the 100th anniversary of the 1916 ‘Battle of Jutland’. The name derives from the fact that it was fought off the Danish west coast. 

Independent Denmark was fortunate in that it played no military role in the ’14-18 war. However, the flotsam and jetsam of the biggest naval confrontation of that conflict was washed ashore here along the north-west coast.

On the day of my visit it’s quiet with only a few guests. There are no parties of excited school children. In fact, the only voices I hear are whispered and mostly German-speaking. The subdued lighting and the collection of 100-year-old maritime artefacts transport you back to another era. 

Bits and pieces of the violent naval battle are everywhere. There are also some extraordinary exhibits. One of the most prominent is the periscope from the German submarine, the U-20. It ran aground in Danish waters. You can, if you want, look through the very same viewer that the U-20’s commander, Walter Schwieger, used to locate and target the RMS Lusitania in 1915. His torpedo attack on the ship cost nearly 1,200 of the 2,000 passengers their lives. As fate would have it, Schwieger did not survive the war. The man who sank the Lusitania was commanding the U-88 in 1917 when it struck a mine. Both he and his crew were lost.

The most eye-catching exhibit in the entire museum, though, is the brass conning tower of a submarine. It looks almost new, having been polished up to its original golden-bronze colour. To my huge surprise, I discover it’s from the wreck of the Glasgow-built submarine, the E-50. 

According to records, E-50 was a Group 2 E Class Submarine. It was ordered in November 1914 as part of the ‘Emergency War Order’. This was only months after James Keir Hardie had spoken at a final rally for peace, on 2 August 1914, in a rainy Trafalgar Square. Hardie was often heckled during his speeches opposing the war, and that day was no different. 

Like other spokesmen for the working classes across Europe, Hardie was ultimately ignored and sidelined. Of course, if Scotland had been an independent nation, we, like Denmark, may have avoided the catastrophe of the First World War. Instead, we were led by our larger southern neighbour in the rush towards Armageddon. Of course, few among the toffs and high heidyins cared about workers being sent to the front as cannon fodder. After all, wealthy armaments manufacturers stood to profit massively as Europe’s workers were sent off to murder each other. 

As US Major General Smedley Butler stated, in his book of the same name, “War is a racket”. It really is.

The E-50 was built by John Brown and Company on the Clyde. Laid down on 15 March 1915, it was launched on 14 Nov 1916. The long period between being laid down and launch was partly the result of the yard never having built submarines before. Apart from that, John Brown and Company was apparently busy with a high volume of surface warship work. The submarine E-50 was finally completed and commissioned on 23 Jan 1917.

This Glasgow-built vessel survived at sea for only one year. During that time it was involved in an unusual underwater collision with a German U-boat, the UC-62. Remarkably, the E-50 escaped with no serious damage. But its luck ran out months later. According to reports, 

“On or about 1st February 1918 the submarine is believed to have struck a mine near the South Dogger Bank Light Vessel. There were no survivors of the sinking.” 

The wreck of the E-50 was discovered in 2011. Its conning tower is remarkably well preserved. On a brass-coloured plaque are the names of the crew. Each soul that perished, from ‘Commanding Officer’, ‘Able Shipman’, to ‘Stoker 1st Class’, is remembered. This is no mere exhibit, it’s a memorial. It’s also a small part of Glasgow and Clydeside history exiled in this remote part of north-west Jutland.

Seeing this part of our common heritage is especially poignant for me. Ma auld Da was just a bairn of 18 months when the first rivets went into this vessel. His formative years were spent during the First World War. Perhaps that is why he was so interested in the documentary series that night in 1964? Did the faither he never knew die in the trenches? He may well have thought that, but he never said. This was the era when no one talked about their feelings. We were supposed to bottle it inside and just get on with things. Nae wonder ma Da and those of his generation spent so many hours in the charmless drinking dens of Glasgow’s East End.

I have no photos of my Da when he was a child. But I do have an ‘image’ of him from those war years. It comes from an unexpected source. In some very old court records, a nurse, a Miss Higgieson, was attending his mother at a lodging on Broomhill Street. His mother was about to give birth and Miss Higgieson “attended her in her confinement”. Part of the record reads, “There was a child of about sixteen months old playing about the floor and she told me that that child was illegitimate and that the father of it was an old sweetheart. She told me that her husband was not the father of that child.” This story, buried in the archives, with its image of my 18-month-old faither playing on the floor, shone a light on a turbulent childhood during the war years. 

With a little more research, in Glasgow and Montrose, I had a biographical sketch of his upbringing and teens. It’s a desperately sad story, and one he did not share with any of us. It includes details of his mother’s unhappy marriage and that reference by Miss Higgieson to the existence of a paternal uncle or aunt about to be born, yet unknown to us. The worst part, though, is that ma faither’s story is far from unique or unusual. Poverty begets poverty, with all of the ills that follow in its wake. 

In spite of the best efforts of Keir Hardie and the peace movement in 1914, the nation’s brightest and best were sent to be slaughtered. The social upheaval it caused at home is hard to imagine. What we do know, however, is that these events took place at a time when more than half of Scotland’s revenues were withheld by London to be spent on ‘Imperial Services’. The nation was bled dry of its resources, both human and physical. Imperial Services was merely another name for a kind of posh, mafia-style protection racket. These days, they use the smoke and mirrors of GERS, to convince the gullible that we really are an impoverished nation with nothing going for us.

With Ireland negotiating a way out of its enforced Union with the UK, Westminster finally decided to stop publishing Scottish revenues in 1921. In that year, Scotland contributed £119m to the exchequer in London. Of that £119m, a mere £33m was spent on ‘Scottish services’ – just a quarter of our national wealth, spent to benefit the people of Scotland! If Scots back then had come to realise that Westminster was regularly helping itself to more than half of the nation’s revenues, the demand for home rule – and perhaps Irish-style independence – would surely have been irresistible.

Heading south back to Esbjerg, the sight of the E-50 had given me food for thought. Here I was in a small independent country – a close North Sea neighbour – that had declared its neutrality on 1 August 1914. Unlike Scotland, Denmark was not bound by the foreign policy decisions taken by its larger southern neighbour. What Danish defence forces there were, mobilised to safeguard the nation’s neutrality. As a result, Denmark, a country with a 1,000-year history like Scotland, was mostly untouched by the ’14-18 calamity. 

I also reflected on ma auld Da, Harry, and the accident of birth that left him faitherless and impoverished. I expect he could have written his ain poverty safari, long before that sort of thing became popular. On the other hand, he might have become a pet Glaswegian of the British upper class, who so love a feisty wee jock. Perish the thought. 

Other memories of him came back, too: a yellow nicotine-stained right hand, whisky breath, pools coupons, and his plaintive voice singing country and western songs on an old upright piano in an adjacent room. 

“I’m nobody’s child,

I’m nobody’s child,

I’m like a flower, just growing wild.

No mummy’s kisses and no daddy’s smiles,

Nobody wants me, 

I’m nobody’s child.”

This was his favourite, and he played it over and over. 

Back in our 1964 tenement flat ‘The Great War’ series had captured ma Da’s attention. Due to the era in which he was born, and with the circumstances of his birth, it’s doubtful ma faither ever learned much about his ain Da. Nobody’s child indeed. 

I looked up now and again from my Airfix sodjurs. He was transfixed by the documentary. Harry was staring at men in uniform, moving like regiments of staccato Charlie Chaplins. He was, perhaps, wondering if one of those soldiers, in grainy black and white, was the faither he never knew. 

MY COMMENTS

This article is very real for me. I grew up in Clydebank. John Brown’s was a huge employer in the town. I actually got a day off school to go to the launch of the QE2. I knew about the Queens and many other fine vessels built by Browns but did not know they had built submarines as well. While I was lucky and lived in a big house, my dad being a local minister, many of my pals lived in poor, overcrowded homes and poverty was still a huge problem in a town still desperately trying to recover from the decimation of its housing stock by the Clydebank Blitz in March 1941. The scars were still visible when I was walking through bombed out tenements to get to School in the late 1950’s. There is also an excellent modern Sea Museum in Tallinn Estonia which is well worth a visit. It has several submarines to view. Clearly submarines played a big role in the Baltics even though it is relatively shallow compared to other seas and oceans. Peter’s writing brings back many memories for me and I hope for many of my readers. Enjoy.

I am, as always

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53 thoughts on “SEA WAR MUSEUM

  1. Thank you for your post Peter, a great read as always. Fodder we certainly were and still are. Intergenerational trauma plays a large part in many Scottish lives and will continue to do so under the yoke of english imperialism. So sad and avoidable in the main. Only with Independence will life change for the better for the majority.

    Liked by 10 people

    1. “Fodder we certainly were and still are”.
      My mother lost 6 uncles in the great war.
      One of them left a very young pregnant wife who had twins.
      All 3 perished in the Spanish flu epidemic

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Tragic . So very sore. Aye. Lost many of my ancestors too. Latest my Grandfather. One of the few Japanese pow . He survived them not his ain country. Looking for work at the docks every day. He died aged 50. Lung cancer. Never spoke about it. I’m so …….big shoulders and massive hands. Dan 💜

        Liked by 3 people

      1. Yes he was
        Totally pissed off with the sheeple and interlopers
        A brave soldier
        Not many left
        Overrun by rats

        Like

  2. I watched The Great War series when it was shown i.e. repeated on the BBC around 1974. It really is a superb 26-part programme, with each (40 minute) episode a documentary in its own right. It was narrated by Michael Redgrave and is a tour de force.

    No drama. No histrionics. Just the bleak hell of the trenches and the bombardments with a cold objective commentary informing the viewer of the brutal facts.

    It really should be essential viewing for school kids so that they know that it is NOT

    “dulce et decorum est pro patria mori”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_War_(TV_series)

    Liked by 11 people

  3. If I recall correctly Scots died disproportionally in the trenches of WWI in France and Belgium compared to other nations soldiers. Speaking of soldiers, as a wee lad I and my pals read the Commando book, and with small branches or ma maw’s mop pole on occasions pretended to be soldiers.

    As for Scotland sending more to England’s coffers than was/has been spent in Scotland, I’m sure Wings Over Scotland posted evidence of that happening with regards to Scottish revenue sent to England as far back as 1900, possibly even earlier. I can’t find the like but I’m sure it’s there somewhere.

    Liked by 8 people

      1. Clootie it’s not that they are experts at hiding the truth it’s the fact that they control the media and outlets that prevents the truth from getting to the people. If we had Rupert Murdoch on our side things might have been very different.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. As for disproportionate Scottish losses in WW1, the following quote is from Tom Devine’s book, The Scottish Nation 1700-2000, page 309:

      “Of the 157 battalions which comprised the British Expeditionary Force, 22 were Scottish regiments […] The human losses were enormous and unprecedented. Of the 557,000 Scots who enlisted in all services, 26.4 percent lost their lives. This compares with an average death rate of 11.8 percent for the rest of the British army between 1914 and 1918. Of all the combatant nations, only the Serbs and the Turks had higher per capita mortality rates, but this was primarily because of disease in the trenches rather than a direct result of losses in battle. The main reason for the higher-than-average casualties among the Scottish soldiers was that they were regarded as excellent, aggressive shock troops who could be depended upon to lead the line in the first hours of battle.”

      (‘The Scottish Nation 1700-2000’, by T.M. Devine. Published by Allen Lane The Penguin Press 1999)

      Liked by 7 people

      1. It is a fact that English historians such as Hew Strachan, Michael Wood and Dan Snow have done everything they can in the years pre-2014 up to the present to diminish Scotland’s sacrifice in the First War. Strachan, an apologist for the criminal Generalissimo class in ’14-’18 tried to deny this disproportionate Scottish loss at a talk he gave. I challenged him on it, but he could not refute my figures nor my challenge on his diminution of the actuality of death for front line troops. Wood, in particular, tried to infer that Irish deaths were equivalent to Scots. A false trope that is utilised by loyalists in Scotland and N.Ireland to raise the province’s sacrifice above all others for political and sectarian reasons. This is demonstrated by the prevalence of ‘Somme’ flute bands. Bands who dress in Brit WW1 uniforms, not Scottish ones. Snow talks about ‘British’ troops ascending the Heights of Abraham, the decisive battle in the Conquest of Canada. Something only the agile highland laddies were truly capable of.

        One terrible example to demonstrate this imperial tower of lies is the Battle of Loos in 1915.
        In the first day’s attack on the 25th of September, 72 battalions attacked the German lines. One half of them were Scottish. Yes, 36 x battalions of regulars, territorials and New Army volunteers were all Scottish. The slaughter was horrendous: of 12 x British battalions that suffered over 500 men casualties (out of average 800-950 strength) 8 were Scottish. Two Dundee regiments lost the highest amounts of any. It is estimated that there were 7000 Scots dead of the 21,000 British killed in the three-week battle.
        1/3 of an army composed of 1/10 supposedly Scots. Of the 600,000 Scots infantry in service in the war, 90,000 alone were killed with the other 30,000 deaths from those serving in ancillary ‘British’ regiments and the remaining 27,000 dying with the imperial forces of Canada, Anzacs and S.Africa.
        Cannon fodder, nothing but cannon fodder.

        Liked by 5 people

      2. Thank you very much for that contribution, Lochside.

        In the mainly Gaelic YouTube below, Donald MacCormick echoes the statistics again as he reads in English at 1.48 mins. Donald focusses mainly on the catastrophic loss of Gaelic-speakers from strategic localities. I have transcribed the English and translated a bit more here (any mistakes will be mine not Donald’s):

        “The worst disaster to ever hit the Gaels was the Battle of Loos 25 Sept 1915. Three Scottish Divisions. 15th Scottish Division, 9th Scottish Division, and 51st Highland Division. Worst blow 9th Scottish Division, 26th Brigade: ‘The 5th Camerons: On the right were the men of North Uist, Strathspey, and Lochaber. On the left were the men of South Uist, Benbecula, and Skye, under Major Arkshaw, who fell at the head of his men. The first two lines went forward and were absolutely wiped out. Line after line was mown down. Of the 760 men who went over the top, only 70 came back. And of the 700 who were killed, you could probably say that 90% of them were Gaelic-speakers. And I don’t think Gaeldom ever got over it. And Scotland as a whole. It was a black day for Scotland. The three Divisions had 14,000 casualties at Loos. Percentage-wise, more Scots were killed in First World War than any other country. The English lost 11%. The Germans lost 12%. The French lost, I think, 14 or 15%. The Scots lost 27%. One in every hundred was a Scot. I couldn’t get over the figures. And after the disaster of Loos, and the wiping out of the Camerons, Lochiel put out an appeal — I have a copy of it here — saying ‘Another thousand Highlanders wanted for Lochiel’s Brigade of the Cameron Highlanders.’ That notice went up throughout the country, after 700 of them lying dead. [Head shake] That was pretty tough. You know. Pretty tough.”

        Liked by 3 people

      3. And here to stir our hearts is the (mainly) English foreword to a Gaelic booklet published in 1916. It starts with a sentence or two in Gaelic (to which I have added translation), before continuing in imperial English (a forelock-tugging custom common to forewords in Gaelic books back then). The publication was clearly aimed at encouraging Gaelic-speaking troops. The booklet, called ‘Daorsa agus Saorsa’ (Thralldom and Freedom), can still be found archived online. I post it ironically of course:

        “Chan eil ceàrna de ‘n t-saoghal air nach do dhrùidh fuil uasal nan saighdeirean Gaidhealach, anns na làithean a dh’fhalbh, ‘s iad a’ cathachadh as leth righ agus duthcha. Thug sibh dearbhadh mu thràth, anns a’ chogadh so, gur mic sibh a tha airidh air cliù bhur sinnsireachd. [There is no corner of the world into which the noble blood of the Highland soldiers has not seeped, in bygone days, as they fought for king and country. You have proven already, in this war, that you are worthy sins of the fame of your forebears.] It seems a long long time since the thunder of the guns broke the peace of the nations, and the struggle began which will decide the fate of the world. In the hour of battle it was never the way of the Highlander to keep to the back of the fray, and in our day the manhood of the Scottish Highlands has flocked to the colours. In every battle on sea and land our countrymen have borne a noble share. Where men fell thickest, there the tartan gleamed; where the enemy fled, there the piobrochd thrilled the blood. As the Highland Brigade breasted the slopes of the Alma, stern silence fell on the ranks until Sir Colin Campbell lifted his bonnet and they rushed on the foe with the slogan of victory; but all the glories of the days of old fade before the glory of our day. The mightiest military power in the world burst in mighty flood, wave after wave, seeking to overwhelm that line of soul and iron that barred its way to world dominion, but, before the heroism that never flinched, it broke and wavered and crumbled. In those great hours when the soul of the world was saved, we are proud that our race bore nobly its part. When at Waterloo, Napoleon saw his ranks yield before the onslaught of the Highlanders, he did not restrain his admiration for his enemies, but exclaimed, ‘Les braves Ecossais’—’Brave, brave Scotsmen.’ As we think of the men who have died that we may live, what can we say but just that: ‘Brave, brave Fellow-Countrymen.’ And we say it with love and tenderness and a great feeling of gratitude in our hearts. Which to admire most, the men who went forth to face death, or the parents and wives who gave them at their country’s call, I know not. There was a boy of eighteen years from the Isle of Skye who gained the D.S.O. at Loos, and who, a year later, was killed. Regarding him the father wrote to a friend:—’His mother and I both know that though our boy had been spared to the threescore years and ten, he could never have achieved anything greater or nobler than he achieved dying.’ And that was the spirit of all our Highland people. In no part of the British Empire has there been more losses of brave men than in the Highlands…”

        Liked by 3 people

      4. Thanks, Fearghas. One personal postscript to my previous contribution: my Granny lost her young brother who was underage, at Loos. She also lost her middle son, my uncle in the second war, aged 21. My Grandas both survived the trenches, and both refused to wear poppies and both branded Haig , the’Butcher’.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Clootie.

      Thanks for that, the placards said it all, and they’re still saying it, the fact that they are still saying today 72 years later, what does that say about us? are we apathetic or persistent? I can’t make my mind up on that one.

      Liked by 5 people

    2. Got it this time. I recall seeing that once before. The reference to home rule 40 years overdue is a sobering reminder that the Irish refused to be fobbed off with empty promises. The 2 million signatures of the Scottish Covenant were also just ignored at the same time. We’re either too polite or too easily psyoped.

      Liked by 6 people

  4. Thanks for sharing. Bless yer da, him listening that song was maybe the only way he could connect with how he felt inside. It’s really criminal what’s happened. 😭 ♥️

    Liked by 6 people

  5. War most certainly is a “racket”, with every last bomb and bullet being paid for by those with the most to lose and the least to gain from conflict. All dressed up in the quasi-religious language of duty, sacrifice and honour, such patriotic appeals rarely amount to anything more than misery and death for the many, alongside hideous and guaranteed profits for the arms manufacturers and those who finance them. (The role played by the national bourgeoisie in the promulgation and perpetuation of this sacrificial and ‘sanctified’ narrative, though rarely alluded to, is of no minor importance to the flag-waving and drum-banging cacophony of war-fever).

    I think Pete nails-it inciseivly for us here in the Scottish colony, both then and now, when he writes: “What we do know, however, is that these events took place at a time when more than half of Scotland’s revenues were withheld by London to be spent on ‘Imperial Services’. The nation was bled dry of its resources, both human and physical. Imperial Services was merely another name for a kind of posh, mafia-style protection racket.”

    Liked by 8 people

  6. Thanks for that story Peter. It reminds me of an incident from my childhood when I noticed two parallel lines (scars) on the palm of each of my grandfather’s hands. I asked him what they were. He said that when he was in the trenches during the First War, on this particular day it was the turn of the Germans to cross no man’s land and be slaughtered.

    One of the survivors who reached the British trenches leapt into the trench next to where my grandfather was. He thrust his bayonet at my grandad’s body. That was when my grandfather grabbed the bayonet and turned it aside. Luckily, though not for the German, one of my grandad’s mates was nearby and shot the attacker dead.

    German bayonets of that era were slightly curved, and German troops were trained to thrust and twist, disemboweling their opponent. No one could survive that. Which explains why my grandad grabbed the bayonet with both hands.

    War is horrific and brutal, and those of us who have never experienced it can only wonder what it must feel like. I hope that no more young Scots ever find out, but the way the world is going I fear the worst.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. I think you are right to fear the worst resipole.

      We are at war now. British resources are being ploughed into the Ukrainian war. And it’s not just equipment but personnel too. And of course other EU/Nato are there too.

      And in China too, albeit that there is no shooting, or at least not yet, the military men and equipment are being deployed. This time primarily by the US.

      Who is winning militarily in Ukraine is difficult to say. The fog of war, the fog of propaganda is every where. And the economic war, who is winning that. It certainly doesn’t seem to be us as our economy and living standards tank.

      But God and righteousness is on our side. It is a simple message. Russia bad, China bad, West good. We know that, and we will send our young to die for it.

      From Afghanistan, to Iraq, to Lybia, to two world wars, to our colonial wars, it is our birthright to fight. And all ways the good fight too!

      So yes resipole I too fear the worst. The conflagration is I suspect due to spread.

      Indeed as a Tory UK minister boasted only a few years ago at the launch of the currently broken down QE2 aircraft carrier, he was so delighted at Great Britain’s ability to project lethal force around the globe.

      Why Jaw Jaw when you can War War.

      Dulce et decorum est in pro patria mori.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Sometimes it is necessary to remind people that Russia is the aggressor. It is their tanks, bombs and bullets that are killing Ukrainians whose sole crime is defending their Independent nation.

        Liked by 4 people

  7. I’m sorry that my story above was so long. I have others, but I won’t inflict any of them on you today. 😊🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Peter, thank you. You spoke to my familial soul with this piece – I can relate totally to the domestic picture you paint so perfectly and a tear was shed. In particular around the inwardly sad adult child (my own grandmothers born in the late 1800s never new who their fathers were), and the silent passing on of innate trauma. I’ve started going to my village war memorial on Remembrance Day, in memory of the ‘duped’ (among them my great uncle who drowned on the Leinster, and others both in the trenches and in WW2) and in deliberate, quiet heart-generated defiance of the unfitting royalist ceremonials – an energy I also generate towards Field Marshall Haig who was an occasional visitor to a family pile 500 yards from the memorial here in Fife and whose link, sadly, is still commemorated with pride. May the universe continue with speed and tenderness in stimulating the great awakening, through ALBA and Salvo.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. There are so many victims of what I’ve come to view as Scotland’s colonial occupation. The contrast to other similar-sized nations with independence is striking. Unfortunately, a bleak Calvanistic mindset made many insensitive to human suffering among us, as though the poor somehow deserved it, because they were just ‘bad people’. I heard right up into adulthood the dismissal as ‘no-gooders’ those, who through no fault of their own, have fallen into the cycle of poverty.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Peter, the contempt and arrogance that Truss and her chancellor are showing the British people, not just the poor, but everyone who isn’t one of their tiny elite, runs like a poisonous thread throughout British history.

        Our rulers have always been careless with other peoples lives. Keeping the people poor when the empire was at its peak cannot ever be excused. But that’s what they did, and as you say, blamed the poor for being poor. That’s how they have always run Britain, and nothing has really changed today, as Liz Truss seems determined to prove.

        Yet, I have a strange feeling that it is all going to come to an end soon. There is an air of finality in Britain today. I can feel it, and I’m sure that I’m not the only one.

        With demonstrations taking place this weekend all over “ the country “ the British state cannot hold the line indefinitely . Even the sainted one herself can’t hold back the tsunami that must be coming this winter as our people suffer cold and in some cases starvation.

        Liked by 5 people

    1. We have people capable it’s just we were duped intae picking the wrang one. Alex Salmond if you are reading this I was pissed aff with you for resigning. 😁

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Another great read by Peter and although we are going through troubled times it is important to look back on the hardships of our parents and their parents.
    My Father was a Sapper ( engineer) during the war and served in many of the theatres of war. I remember him telling me of how they bridged the Rhine shortly after D Day.
    They actually constructed a Bailey bridge across the Rhine under direct fire from German forces on the other side. He said men were falling next to him as they worked. I asked him why they couldn’t take cover. He said “ we couldn’t, the Paras had dropped on the other side behind the German lines and were fighting their way to where the Bridge-head was to be, there was no other option”
    Stories like that bring into context our present concerns.

    Thanks again for the great story Peter

    Liked by 8 people

  10. It absolutely makes me feel really annoyed with the people who are Scottish and allowed for themselves to be treated like a toffs pet. It’s not in me to ever take this kind of treatment and I have went through a whole series of emotions as this bid for our independence unfolds. The stings, the blatant set ups and submitting to people who are not better than us, it’s just that they managed to rob our coffers and be in the position of enticing others. I just couldn’t dae it to people and I am in my mind have fought a few battles. They made me greet, they made me raging and they made me want to leave my own country but then they made me think, they made me feel the need for justice for all, they made me determined to stay here and be part of a collective of people who feel the same. I am mair calm, focused and I feel that we are all a piece of the picture that’s getting put together and once it’s complete we will be independent no matter where ye are. The folk who were possibly swayed by the goodies are maybe feart of the consequences of lies and selling out our country.

    Liked by 6 people

  11. Iain, you mention John Brown’s shipyard and being at the launch of the QE2. My father worked there, and also a brother later. I was present that launch day too, annoyed at the sleekit name chosen for the ship. You also mention the Clydebank Blitz. The following is an abridged version of something my father wrote about it:

    “At eighteen years of age, I was a member of the Home Guard, then known as the L.D.V. (Local Defence Volunteers) and lived in the Admiralty cottages between Alexandria and Balloch. On the second night of the Clydebank Blitz we were mustered in full marching order […] Our job was to control the refugees streaming out of Clydebank and direct them into schools and other suitable accommodation. […] It was a clear moonlight night. The noise was terrific. Sticks of bombs — you could count the seconds between the explosions, anti-aircraft ack-acks, naval guns on the Firth of Clyde, Bofors, multiple pom-poms; the peculiar unsynchronized sound of the four-engined German bombers, a dull thunder, sweeping from east to west across the night sky; searchlights sweeping, probing vainly, trying to cone them. The oil tanks at Bowling blazing fiercely, black smoke billowing. Some night. Yet for a teenager strangely exciting. We had to get men wakened in the morning for their work would you believe? Most of them in Clyde shipyards and machine shops. I had to get there myself, to Denny’s in Dumbarton. The wheels of industry had to keep turning. […] The streets were littered with shrapnel from our own anti-aircraft guns. Denny’s shipyard had been hit. An unexploded landmine had come through the roof of Denny’s canteen and was hanging from the rafters by its parachute. Ships were being lost and ships had to be built. Fortified with black tea, we just had to get on with it.”

    (Extract from multi-author compilation ‘Untold Stories: Remembering Clydebank in War Time’, published by Clydebank Life Story Group, Clydebank College, 1999)

    Liked by 6 people

  12. One worth visiting at other end of Baltic
    https://www.forum-marinum.fi/en/exhibitions/museum-ships/

    .. ie even for catamaran designers from the new world:
    (a) to compare and contrast the overnight facilities the nineteenth century was able to offer its valued crew
    (b) depending how they get there (and in what season), to discuss with existing baltic seafarers what the the feasibility and market (ie compare and contrast the the overnight facilities the 21st century is able to offer its valued crew) might be if designers were able to add ladies and gents (and even trans) saunas to the bow of low draft, gas pipeline avoiding, multihulls
    https://www.mobimar.com/commercial-vessels/trimaran-concept/ice-breaker

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Lovely story which brought back similar memories of watching that programme with my Dad.

    The First World War was just plain daft. The Nordic countries were for fortunate to avoid being sucked into it , though the fallout eventually took its toll on them through Nazi and Soviet ambitions.

    I’ve not been to the museum in Jutland yet though I had the good fortune to be shown round the Naval Base and shipbuilding yard in Karlskrona in Sweden. Much more impressive than the unionist Submarine museum in Helensburgh

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Thank you to Peter Young and the commenters for their own unvarnished stories , stories that show the futility and one sidedness of war and conflict , stories that make the comments of sturgeon and her morons about the Ukraine situation all the more disgusting

    There are NO winners in war , there are only VICTIMS , victims who naturally populate the working classes overwhelmingly , victims whose future is bleak and unsure , victims who fall for the false narrative of service to their country
    You only have to remember the scum sucking Tony bliar sending young boys and girls into Iraq to sate the greed of the money men for oil whilst being opposed by more than 1 million citizens , bliar who wouldn’t send his own son

    Liked by 5 people

    1. twathater

      When I was writing my comment above about my grandfather I couldn’t help but feel for the German who tried to kill him. He must have been half crazy by the time he reached the British trenches.

      After all, he was just an ordinary working man, no doubt drafted into the war, or conned by jingoism into volunteering. What a sad end to a life.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. And THAT exactly is the situation I am alluding too , 2 men FORCED to defend themselves from each other , whilst the protagonists sit comfortable in their bunkers and continue sending the unwashed to death and destruction , AND then if the survivors return home with life changing injuries or mental problems , the ESTABLISHMENT ignore them and tell them to visit various charity institutions , institutions that BARELY survive on charitable donations , whilst the arms industry celebrates

        Liked by 3 people

      2. When I was a kid, we lived in Glasgow Anderson district, between Elderslie Street and North Street. There were about half a dozen pubs on the other side of the street from us. All of them named after First War battles.They were only open for a few hours in the evening, closing at 9pm. This was in the 1950’s.

        On a Saturday night we would watch men pour out onto the street, drunk . Sometimes they would fight amongst themselves. Some of them looked sad and lost. Most of them were about the same age as my grandad, and had probably fought in the war.

        It was many years before I realised that some of these men were likely traumatised all these years later, from what they had experienced, and had been left to get on with it after the war as best they could.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. One hangover from both world wars, is it taught Scot’s not to believe the official version, and to seek out the truth from someone who was there.

    My Grandad (on my mother’s side) was sent to Egypt. Pathe news broadcast footage of Monty on the back of a landrover, throwing packets of fags to the troops lined up on both sides of the street, in a victory parade. Grandad commented, ‘aye, whit thir no showing, is the troops throwin the fags back at him’….

    We haven’t lost that, and it will be one of the things essential to winning our Indy.

    PS, lovely footage of our FM in Dunfermline today, to meet KCIII. Very loud and consistent booing to be heard over the skirling of the pipes. And I don’t think it was coming from a large group of tory/royalists somehow…. they haven’t the numbers.

    Rather think her days of doing walk aboot’s n selfies are din.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I sincerely hope you are right Daisy. All those people who have been so patient with Sturgeon are probably running out of patience after recent events. They will be even angrier when they see their children, parents, and grandparents going hungry and cold this winter.

      Liked by 1 person

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