“The duty of every Scotsman is clear. Serve your country where and how you can.” So said a piece on the front of our sister paper, The Saturday Post, in September 1914.
It was a call to arms that many thousands of young Scotsmen responded to in the early days of the war. There has been much written recently about the events of 1914, as the world marks the centenary of the First World War. But the fighting lasted four long, bloody years and the men who went through that horrendous conflict deserve our attention for the duration of the war’s anniversary period. So we decided to launch a new, innovative project to keep the spotlight firmly on the soldiers of the Great War.
In collaboration with The Black Watch Museum in Perth, Abernethy Museum and the Blackford Historical Society, we created the character of a young man, William Shaw. Using diaries, letters, newspaper archives and documents of military and social history, we have built a life for 17-year-old William, a ploughman from the Perthshire village of Abernethy. Our idea was that we should see the war through his eyes, over the next four years, through his very own Twitter page. Each day he will tweet his thoughts, experiences, hopes and fears. We will get to know his friends and comrades and his family back home. We will be with him through every battle and bullet fired. Already William has been tweeting about his life in Abernethy. He has joined 4th Battalion The Black Watch in Dundee.
William’s war is about to begin.
If you would like to follow William on Twitter he can be found at @williamshaw1896