Eyemouth Museum marks First World War centenary

Eyemouth Museum’s focus turns to the experiences on the front line and the home front during the First World War with its new exhibition.

The museum is enjoying one of its most successful spells to date with over 1,400 people visiting its recent Herring Queen exhibition as the even celebrated its 70th crowning year.

Of course this year also marks 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War and like many other visitor attractions, the museum is paying tribute to those caught up in the conflict.

‘World War One in Eyemouth’ opened last Friday, August 8, and museum manager Lynne Bogle believes the exhibition contains some of the best artefacts and paintings seen in the museum to date.

“The trustees and I felt like we needed to mark the occasion and the stories of Eyemouth folk involved are just as important as any others,” she told ‘The Berwickshire’.

“I put something on our Facebook page and the Eyemouth Past page a while back letting people know our plans for the exhibition and we got a really good response.

“It’s good to be able to reach out to people using other mediums. In my opinion Facebook has been a really useful tool for the museum.

“The things people have brought in have been fascinating and Christine and Alan Dougal did a great job getting them all ready.”

Among the items on display are a cabinet full of war-related paraphernalia donated by Jim Morton from Burnmouth and a cabinet of postcards sent during the war, loaned to the museum by someone who has recently moved to the area and found out about the WW1 exhibition through word of mouth.

The walls of the museum’s top floor are full of photographs of those from Eyemouth and the surrounding area who played their part in the war.

Among them is a photo of Edward Kellie, the first headmaster at Eyemouth High School who was a Lieutenant in the Royal Artilery during the war.

He made it home safely but died from the effects of gas in the late 1930s.

Someone who tragically didn’t make it home was James Dickson Bruce.

Hailing from Lauder, James, or Dickson as he was later known, married Eyemouth girl Janet Renton Lough.

He was employed as a blacksmith and signed up for duty with the Royal Army Service Corp in London.

Unfortunately he diesdof diphtheria at the Army of Rhine Hospital in May 1919.

Three of his brothers also lost their lives during the war and all four are remembered in the Lauder war memorial.

First hand accounts of some of the events that occurred during the war are available for museum visitors to read.

These include Gunner James Kellie’s description of the sinking of the City of Florence vessel and Alex Aitchison’s account of being on the S.S Northfield when it was torpedoed on March 3 1915 in the Bristol Channel.

The exhibition is running until November 2 and also features art from Janis Cornwall, Ronnie Butcher, Sarah Cox and Cara Lockhart-Smith.