St Andrews in the First World War

On the 11th November at 11 o’clock, hostilities between the Allies of World War I and Germany ceased.

“News from Forfarshire, Perthshire and Fifeshire shows that the announcement that the armistice had been signed was the signal for general rejoicing. Shops were shut and workmen “downed tools”, and formed enthusiastic processions, accompanied by instrumental and “rag-times” bands. In many towns thanksgiving services were held, and in the evening bonfires and fireworks were the order of the day. ” (The Dundee Courier)

In St Andrews, 11 year old Alex Paterson was assisting the Post Office in delivering telegrams. A flu epidemic had started to take hold, leading to staff shortages. He recalled in his work The Tale o’ the Toon:

“I remember the day that Armistice was declared. I delivered a telegram to Mrs Aitken, The Roundel. It was from her son who was in services abroad. Mrs Aitken was so overjoyed that her son had survived the danger of war that she gave me the present of a two shilling piece.”

Alex. B. Paterson, founder of the original Byre Theatre

Photograph courtesy of the St Andrews Preservation Trust.

Text prepared by Fiona Gray and Kate Owen.

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