A Dark Spectacle, 1916

In June 1916, at the height of WW1, Mrs Bannatyne had a letter delivered to her Milheugh home, next to the falls at the Calder.  The letter received was from a relative, Major Bannatyne, who was stationed as a Staff Officer in Egypt. Inside the letter was a plea for her help.

The Major asked that she should let it be known that dark or yellow spectacles were urgently required by the troops in the Egyptian desert, owing to the intolerable glare and the absolute lack of shade. At times making it impossible to fight.

The request came at a time before soldiers were being issued with goggle and being abroad, glasses were very scarce. The letter asked that they could do ‘with any quantity’.

Two weeks later, fifteen dozen pairs (180) were provided to the High Blantyre War Work Party and with the surplus of a previous fundraiser (The Periscope Fund), which was not required, the package was ready to be sent off.

Even after it had gone, further contributions towards this very desirable objective was gratefully received by Mrs Bannatyne, who worked hard alongside other ladies of Blantyre’s grand big houses to help the war effort from home,

The major’s letter wrote, “As the glare is at its worst just now, its desirable that contributions should be sent immediately to enable consignments sent on and thus alleviate the sufferings of our gallant men in the desert. I would commend this scheme to the generosity of the general public.”

Pictured in that year are British soldiers in Egypt and examples of the sort of glasses of the era which may have helped.

Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said:

Anne Mackie amazing You just dont think the heid yins would not have thought of this xxxxxx

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