Scots living in London had long been involved in their local communities, maintaining London-Scottish institutions that had been established soon after the union of the crowns in 1603 and subsequent years. By 1911, the census recorded around 90,000 first generation Scots living in London and the surrounding counties of Middlesex, Surrey, Kent and Essex. During the Great War, many of these London Scots on the Home Front supported and offered succour to their fellow compatriots who were passing through or serving away. Other Scots in the capital suffered during German Zeppelin and aeroplane bombing raids or were otherwise living in hardship and distress, especially the elderly and widows with young children.
Scots in the British forces suffered their fair share of casualties during the Great War and the route of many to the various front lines lay through London. Thousands of Scottish troops spent time here and those fortunate enough to survive returned here on their way back from the battlefields – for a period of leave or to head home for good.
Ten organisations, including churches, charities, clubs and societies, as well as British Army regiments, each with their own focus and with Great War stories to tell, have come together this year to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War, to honour the role that Scots played in the war effort in London.
With chapters written by each of the ten organisations, a new commemorative book has been published by Helion, entitled Scots in Great War London: A Community at Home and on the Front Line 1914-1919, edited by Paul McFarland with Hugh Pym, and has a Foreword by HRH The Princess Royal.