Commemorating the Great War

THE SHETLAND Museum has unveiled a new display to mark the 90th anniversary of the end of World War One.

A generation of young men were lost or injured during the Great War, with every community in Britain affected. Of the 4,252 Shetland servicemen and women who fought, 617 – nearly 15 per cent – lost their lives.

This exhibition tells the stories of four of the young Shetlanders lost; Robert and Thomas Johnston, Karl Manson and Laurence Thomson.

The display concentrates on these three families to highlight the impact of loss. Laurence Thomson’s letters to his mother and sister survived, allowing visitors to appreciate his strong family ties. The collection also includes the letter his mother received to say he had died.

Mr and Mrs Johnston, from Garthspool, lost two of their sons which had a devastating effect on their family – both boys enlisted while under age.

Karl Manson’s story is unique as the museum had some of his personal effects in their collection. His body was recognised on the battlefield by another Shetland soldier who removed these items and brought them home to his grieving parents.

Collections assistant Jenny Murray said: “I felt it was important to focus on the families when curating this exhibition.

“It’s easy to forget that behind the facts and figures that surround World War One, were people like us. These were young men who lost their lives in service to their country; they all had families who loved and grieved for them.”

The display is outside the archives search room until the end of the year


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