Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Dogs of war get significant memorial in Angus

Interesting to note that memorials are still be raised to commemorate events dating from World War I.

In the early 1900s, Airedale terriers were trained in Scotland for World War I.

The training took place around Angus, where local people would play the part of injured soldiers which the dogs would search for. Lt Col Richardson, who lived at Panbride House near Carnoustie, eventually convinced the government the Airedale was the right breed for war work.

Wendy Turner, of the Airedale Terrier Club of Scotland, spoke of her delight at the creation.

She said: “2000 Airdales were in WW1 and that’s stemmed from Angus.

“At first for the British Red Cross, they would carry panniers with first aid equipment.

“They would also go onto the battlefield for wounded soldiers rather than dead soldiers – people that could still be helped. They would bring back a cap or anything that they could show they found a soldier who was alive, take it back to the stretcher bearers and they would follow the dogs out to collect the person.

“They were so good at what they were doing that the British army took notice and asked for them to be trained for them.

“They were used for carrying messages and also carried first aid supplies as well as being guard dogs. They were also used by the Russian army and the German army.”

The memorial was carved from a 30 tonne block of granite by Kirriemuir sculptor Bruce Walker, said to make it one of the largest of its kind in the UK.

The sculpture was funded by donations from around the world, and has been installed at East Haven beach in Angus.

Memorial unveiled commemorating Scotland’s dogs of war


The first four Airedales Lt Col Richardson and his wife trained were presented to Glasgow Police in 1905 and were stationed at Maryhill Police and Queens Park police stations in the city.

These were the first official police dogs in the United Kingdom.

The British Red Cross then used the dogs to locate injured soldiers on the battlefields and also carry first aid supplies and crates of carrier pigeons on their backs.

The breed was trained to wear gas masks and navigate the treacherous and often terrifying conditions of the front lines.

A war dog school was opened in Shoeburyness in Essex and the Richardsons moved there to manage the training of the breed.

Memorial to be unveiled to heroic dogs of war at East Haven

Bruce Walker Carving Pic Credit The Courier

Bruce Walker Carving Pic Credit The Courier

19/05/2019 Posted by | military, World War I | , , | Leave a comment

Angus Heritage Trails

I’d have to admit that my knowledge of Angus is lacking. While I may have been to the obvious place names such as Montrose, Arbroath, Brechin, and a few of the coastal locations, this was really more by way of passing through, and stops were rare since I was really on my way to places such as Aberdeen, Peterhead, or Fraserburgh.

While I may have stopped a bit longer on occasions where I was looking for a fish supper to pacify a rumbling tum, the only place I regularly went to deliberately was Montrose, and that was for their annual Wings and Wheels extravaganza. That wasn’t much good for sightseeing, since it took place on the beach to the north of the town, although it was handy for the Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre, but it was (at the time) only open on one of those occasions. Moving inland, Glamis Castle marked another transport extravaganza which was once an annual ‘must do’.

I recently learned that there was a camera obscura in the area, located on Kirrie Hill, overlooking Kirriemuir and the valley of Strathmore, described as being one of only three such devices in Scotland.

I know there’s one in Edinburgh, so I’ll have to track the third down one day – actually, I’m pretty sure it’s part of a museum in Dumfries, but that needs to be checked.

Both the camera obscura on Kirrie Hill, and the cricket pavilion in which it sits, were donated in 1930 by JM Barrie (1860 – 1937), creator of Peter Pan, to his home town.

There seems to be more to be found around the area, and Angus Heritage – historical buildings, famous people, family research has produced a number of leaflets to guide the visitor through the area’s Heritage Trails to the many points of interest which it contains:

Angus Heritage – Heritage Trails

More here:

Local History | Heritage Trails | Angus Council

05/07/2013 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , , | Leave a comment


%d bloggers like this: