EDINBURGH AT WAR 1939-1945

Book number: 93220 Product format: Paperback Author: CRAIG ARMSTRONG

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Bibliophile price £2.75
Published price £14.99


By April 1939, Edinburgh had 6,000 air raid wardens recruited and under training together with demolition squads, later renamed rescue squads, who had responsibility for demolishing structures which had been damaged and rendered dangerous and also in extricating those who had been trapped beneath rubble. Scotland was of grave strategic importance during the war because of its geographical position, and its capital was the location of a significant number of important military and civil organisations. Edinburgh Castle became the HQ of the Scottish Home Forces, whilst the Forth was a vitally important port and was heavily protected even before the start of the war. Its importance was marked by its attracting the first air raid of the war on mainland Britain, when a force of German bombers were sent to attack naval shipping on 6th October 1939. The raid was intercepted by the RAF which shot down at least two bombers, and the entire action was witnessed by many civilians on the ground. The raid also caused the first civilian casualties when two women were injured in Edinburgh, and two men machine-gunned in Portobello. Thousands lined the streets days later for the funeral of two of the Luftwaffe airmen. No member of the population of Edinburgh escaped the war and huge numbers came forward for service in the military or in roles such as the Home Guard, ARP Services, nursing, working in vital war industries, and struggling to maintain households under strict rationing and the stresses of wartime life, or children evacuated from the city to the rural areas of Scotland to escape the expected bombing. Edinburgh was also home to a sizeable Italian community which was badly affected by internment, and subsequent tight restrictions on movement and civil rights and was subjected to violent attacks when rioting mobs attacked their businesses throughout the city, although one family business was spared because they supported Hibs. The book poignantly commemorates the efforts and achievements of workers, fighters, and families divided. 216pp in well illustrated large softback.

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ISBN 9781473879638

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