Scotland and the Great War

By Catriona M. M. Macdonald; E. W. McFarland | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVEN
May 1915: Race, Riot and
Representations of War

Catriona M. M. Macdonald

THEIR NAMES DO not appear on official casualty lists, but during May 1915 the following, and their families, became ‘victims of war’: Conrad Ahrweiler, hairdresser, English Street, Dumfries; H. C. A. Ramsdorf, jeweller, High Street, Dumfries; Charles Cleeberg and Charles Cleeberg jun., gut manufacturers, Lockerbie Road, Dumfries; Christian Feyerabend, pork butcher, High Street, Annan; William Ohlms, hairdresser, West Blackhall Street, Greenock; William Gaze, provisions merchant, Lynedoch Street, Greenock; Mrs E. Sieger, publican, West Blackhall Street, Greenock; William Eilert, hairdresser, Kilmacolm; Albert Becher, pork butcher, High Street, Alloa; John Frenz, pork butcher, South Street, Perth; Charles Kumerer, pork butcher, High Street, Perth; Mrs H. Liebow, hairdresser, South Street, Perth; Charles Gruber, pork butcher, Lothian Road, Edinburgh and H. Egner, pork butcher, Great Junction Street, Leith.1

Panikos Panayi, the foremost historian of the anti-German riots which took place across Britain in May 1915, has suggested that ‘the incidents of this month resemble a Russian pogrom with the native population attempting to clear out aliens.’2 In Liverpool, damage caused by the rioting was estimated at, £40,000 and 200 ‘establishments’ were gutted.3 In Manchester, crowds numbered in their thousands smashed windows and looted shops, and in Salford thirty properties came under attack.4 In London, ‘out of the twenty-one Metropolitan Police Districts, only two remained free from disorder’.5 In the capital 1,100 cases of’damage and theft’ were recorded, 250 people suffered injuries, and by October 1915 claims for damages amounted to £195,000.6 Rioting also spread to Sheffield, Rotherham, Newcastle and various other provincial English towns. Yet, while the English riots have, admittedly, received little more than ‘passing attention’ from most historians, far less is known of the nature and the motive forces of the Scottish riots which took place in Greenock, Annan, Dumfries, Perth, Alloa and Leith.7

-145-

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