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Lt Col Sir James Gardiner Baird of the East Lothian Yeomanry, early 19C

East Lothian has been a strategic military site since some of its earliest history, but it has also produced soldiers and strategists, and in this section we will gradually add articles about these people, where we have interesting material in our collections. We start with John Penn, who took part in the ill-fated ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ during the Crimean War (1853–56).

If you have suggestions about people you would like to see featured in this section, please leave a comment below. If you’d like to contribute an article yourself, please use our simple template and send it to us.

3 thoughts on “Military”

  1. HelenB says:

    Hello John, this is a fascinating story, thanks for sharing it. Your great-aunt sounds like a true hero and at the vanguard of women at the time. The history of nursing in the two world wars is definitely something to commemorate and celebrate, and we have a temporary display in the museum about a WW2 VAD nurse. We’re currently doing research into WW1 as it affected East Lothian and East Lothian-ites, and this wonderful story will be a great addition to our growing knowledge about it. If we find out any more about your great-aunt, we will be in touch! And we may contact you to find out more, if that’s OK … If you’re ever in the area, do pop in, we have an interesting photo collection relating to WW1 in East Lothian which you might like to browse through.

  2. John Allen says:

    My great aunt Janet erskine Dods was born in Glasgow in 1868 to George Dods who became minister at Garvald in the 1870s. After training as a nurse at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary she joined the army nursing reserve and went to the boer war in south africa in1900. On returning to Britain she joined theQAIMNS as a sister.
    In August 1914 she went to France with the British Expeditionary Force. During WW1 she was mentioned in despatches twice, and was awarded the Royal Red Cross and a bar to the RRC. She left the army in 1922. I dont know what she did then, but she retired to live in Gullane with her sister Helen Erskine Dods who was a teacher in Gullane. She died in 1942.
    I feel she is an unsung hero whose roots were very much in East Lothian!

    1. Claire Pannell says:

      Dear John,
      I read with intrest your comment and started to research your great aunt. Her war records are some of the few that have survived in the National Archives! I would like to tell her story in our exhibition and wondered whether you perhaps have any photographs of her that you would be willing to share with us to be reproduced? I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
      Many thanks,

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