The Family at War

To commemorate the centenary of World War One and Scotland’s Year of Homecoming, last year we launched an exciting exhibition demonstrating the involvement of the 7th Duke of Atholl and his family in the war. This year we continue the story and add the events of 1915, most notably Gallipoli, where Lord Tullibardine (later the 8th Duke) fought with his regiment, the Scottish Horse. The regiment held the line with a decreasing number of men, until, on the last night they rigged up rifles to fire automatically as the final men retreated into the boats. The exhibition will be on display in the castle from April 2015.


The 7th Duke’s three sons were all heavily involved in military operations as Lord Tullibardine (who became 8th Duke in 1917) commanded the Scottish Horse Regiment, which later merged with the Black Watch; Lord George served with the Black Watch and was tragically lost during the Battle of the Aisne in September 1914, although rumours circulated that he was a prisoner of war; and Lord James of the Cameron Highlanders was injured early on in the war, returned to the front and was captured. He remained in various prison camps in Germany for the rest of the war.


The ladies of the family also did their bit for the War effort as Dorothea helped in a hospital and suffered a Zepplin raid in the south of England, Helen raised funds for the Scottish Horse and the castle was used as a Red Cross hospital commanded by Duchess Kitty. The ballroom was transformed into a ward and recreation room while additional rooms were used as dining areas for nursing staff and patients.

Following the end of the war, the 8th Duke was responsible for fundraising and building the National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle and the war memorials on the estate at Blair Atholl, Logierait, Dunkeld and Bankfoot.

The Family at War exhibition will display various artefacts and information on the individual family member’s during the war, including letters, photos and documents of the Duke’s sons, a section on the ballroom as a Red Cross Hospital which includes extracts from a scrapbook kept by one of the nurses, and a section on the plans and fundraising effort for the National War Memorial. 

Admission to the exhibition will be included in the general castle entry price from 1st April 2015. To book tickets, click here. 

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