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The War Effort

The Great War was different from previous wars in that it involved the whole country – men, women and children. Everyone was encouraged to do their patriotic duty and support the war in every way they could.

Background to the impact of the Great War on Scotland.

The Tank Campaign, Motherwell, 1918
Children's efforts , 1915
The changing role of women, 1916
Women at work, 1916

The Tank Campaign, Motherwell, 1918

The Tank Campaign was set up as part of the National Savings Movement to encourage people to buy either War Bonds or War Savings Certificates to support the war effort. The money raised from locally organised schemes was used to pay for guns, ammunitions and equipment. Tanks, the great new weapon of the war, were used to draw the crowds and inspire them to help out. This photograph shows a tank on parade through the centre of Motherwell towards the end of the war.

A tank on display in Motherwell, 1918 National Records of Scotland reference: NSC1/392/2/27
(National Records of Scotland reference: NSC1/392/2/27)

Children's efforts , 1915

Lady Clementine Waring was the wife of Major Walter Banff, who fought in the war. She converted their home in Berwickshire into a convalescent home for officers and did a great deal to support the needs of soldiers. Clearly her message reached some very young ears. Cecile Victor was 6 years old when she wrote this letter to Lady Waring to tell her about her contribution to the war effort.

Print a copy of Cecile's letter (Rich Text Format, 1.14MB, new window).

Letter from Cecile Victor, aged 6, to Lady Clementine Waring. Written in a child's handwriting and spelling, the letter reveals how everyone was involved in the war effort. National Records of Scotland reference: GD372/57/30


Dear Lady clementine
I am giving sixpence
for the ambulance.
I will be six in may,
and I am kniting
bed sox for the solgers
with love from
Cecile victor
10 victoria teres

(Reproduced with kind permission of Sir Ilay Campbell, National Records of Scotland reference: GD372/57/30)

The changing role of women, 1916

Image of women cleaning a steam locomotive in a railway yard, (National Records of Scotland, HH31/27/51/3)
(National Records of Scotland reference: HH31/27/51/3)

The war changed women's lives. Many were encouraged to take on jobs previously undertaken by men and in doing so, support both the economy and the war effort. Local newspapers published articles in recognition of their growing importance, patriotism and strength of character.

Women at work, 1916

Local newspapers published articles that reflected the growing importance of the role of women in society. Here is an extract from the Aberdeen Daily Journal from 7 March 1916

Print copy of the article in the Aberdeen Daily Journal, Rich Text format, 9 KB, new window

The appeal just issued by the committee appointed by the Board of Trade and the Home Office for more women to take the places of men in industrial occupations, enforces once again the immense value which women have been to the trade of the country during the present war. With the intuitive gift of genius, Mrs Pankhurst, at the very outset of the war recognised that a new era in the importance of women in this country was about to dawn and without hesitation she took her stand on the side of King and country.

(National Records of Scotland reference: HH31/27/57)
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