Having read with interest George Mair’s article “Remembering nurse’s unique place in history” on 3 November I should like to put on record that Sister Violet TM Fraser, who died at Predejane, Serbia, on 5 March 1919, is commemorated on Dunbar War memorial and is remembered by various relatives who live locally. Her story is told in a play, Homecoming, which was due to be performed by Dunbar Battery Theatre Company in Dunbar Parish Church last night.
She is also remembered in Serbia, where her memorial has been recently restored. Violet was born in Partick in 1883 but her father, Thomas Fraser, was born at Pinkerton in 1847. The Fraser family farmed at Easter Meikle Pinkerton for over one hundred years and also had a shop in Dunbar High Street.
STEPHEN BUNYAN MBE
Pilgrims Way Beveridge Row, Belhaven
Another woman mentioned on a First World War memorial (Letters, 8 November) is Elizabeth Johnston, “Johnny” to her friends, who is commemorated on the war memorial in Anstruther, Fife. In 1917 she joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), later renamed Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps (QMWAAC) and was sent to France.
During the rest of her short life she “kept a diary, wrote hundreds of letters to family and friends and submitted poems and articles to the local Anstruther paper” (Kevin Dunion, The Democracy of War. Anstruther and Cellardyke
in the First World War, p.112). Much of her own writing is reproduced in Agnes Anderson’s little book Johnnie of Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps (1920). On Christmas Day 1918 Elizabeth Johnston’s body was found, having apparently fallen from the tower of the disused St Ouen church in Rouen.
She was given a full military funeral in St Sever cemetery, with the firing party provided by a detachment of South African Highlanders in Atholl tartan. A young Canadian soldier removed the Union Jack from her coffin and replaced it with a Saltire. Susan Morrison revisited Elizabeth Johnston’s story earlier this week on BBC
Radio Scotland’s series Time Travels.
HARRY D WATSON
Braehead Grove, Edinburgh
One positive aspect to emerge from the end of the First World War was the formation in 1918 of the Scottish Grocers’ and Provisions Merchant’s Federation. The Federation was formed to ensure adequate supplies of food to the people of Scotland in the difficult circumstances which existed in the immediate aftermath of the armistice.
As SGF, the Federation has continued to support both local shops and Scotland’s communities for a century. There are now 5,000 convenience stores in Scotland and they provide 40,000 jobs. These stores contribute some £530 million to Scotland’s economy in Gross Value Added every year.
The 100th anniversary of the Great War offers an opportunity to fully recall the sacrifices made and to value the attempts that were made to build a better society.
(DR) JOHN LEE
Head of Policy and Public Affairs Scottish Grocers Federation Queensferry Road, Edinburgh