PA among the first to print Armistice news
People up and down the UK celebrated the Armistice 100 years ago During World War I, the PA - then known as the Perthshire Advertiser and Strathmore Journal - came out on a Wednesday and a Saturday, and each edition would include a column entitled“Our own men”. This column would update residents who had remained at home on the local men who had died, been injured or captured in the line of duty. Right up until Saturday, November 9, the last edition of the PA published before the end of World War I, notices were posted on local men who had lost their lives. The last edition read:“Pte. George Keith, Scottish Horse, eldest son of Mr and Mrs Geo. Keith, 46 St Katherine’s Court, Perth, has been killed in action. His wife resides in England. Two brothers have made the supreme sacrifice. “Pte. David George, Gordon Highlanders, son of Mr and Mrs David George, Ingleside, Hay Street, Perth, has died of wounds received in Italy. George was 21 years of age. Before enlisting three years ago he was employed with his father as a boot and shoemaker in the well-known High Street establishment. “Cpl. A K Higgins, Lovat Scouts, third son of Mr and Mrs Higgins, 15 Kirkgate, Perth, has died of wounds. He enlisted in 1914, and was wounded at Loos when only 16 years of age. Other two brothers are serving.”
Similarly, the PA’s district news at the time was filled with loved ones writing in to report the death of their relatives on the front line.
Each edition also included national coverage of the war.
For example, on November 6, 1918, the PA spoke of the British troops advancing in Bavai and a number of enemy soldiers being captured by the British.
It also noted Field-Marshal Haig’s announcement of the fall of La Quesnoy.
Once the Armistice was signed on the morning of Monday, November 11, 1918, the PA released a special“peace edition”, recounting the past four years of war.
The special edition was published only 10 minutes after the wire from London announcing the Armistice came through, making it one of the first papers in the country to print the news.
Breaking with the tradition of the time, the front page was not reserved for adverts, instead focusing on the peace.
Queues were seen across the Fair City as people went out to read about the end of the war, with a second and third edition needing to be printed to meet the demand.
The provost at the time Mr Scott wrote in the peace edition and said:“The strain of expectancy has at last been removed by the announcement that Germany has signed the Armistice.
“Laid all that feeling of satisfaction that all our efforts steady and determinedly made have been crowned with complete success.
“On the news being conveyed to Lord Forteviot by the Perthshire Advertiser his lordship said that the news was so momentous that it was difficult to say anything.
“It was a matter of gratification that the end had been so satisfactory and the hour relieved from Prussian tyranny.”
The peace edition also included two pages of cartoons, including drawings of the King and other major politicians of the time, a score of‘God Save the King’, and depictions of some of the major battles.
The paper also declared“The dawn of a new era - our future depends on good citizenship”and dubbed the Armistice“the greatest judgement in the history of the world”.
A year on from the end of World War I in 1919, the PA also relayed a message from the king asking for the city to observe a two minutes’ silence, which was to be broken by the bells of St John’s Kirk.
Business was also stopped for two minutes and the trams turned off as a mark of respect, and the soldiers at the Queen’s Barracks stood to attention mid-parade“in memory of those who had given their lives, that they and we might live”.
Historic copies of the PA are housed in the local and family history department at AK Bell Library.