CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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Librarians of WWI & WWII

This archive was started as a result of research completed by Ian McCracken.  Along with the rest of the archive, this page is organic and we hope to grow the content with support of our members.  If you have any suggested changes, additions, or pictures we can use please email admin@cilip.org.uk.

 

The following article, Who Will Remember Them? – researching a war memorial, was printed in the Glasgow and West of Scotland Family Historical Society newsletter in March 2011.  It was written by June A Willing member 203 and provides a detailed account of 4 Librarians killed in action during WWI.  June A Willing was inspired to conduct research into these librarians after regularly passing a sign while working in the Mitchell Library that read:

1914-1919
IN REMEMBRANCE OF THE MEN FROM THE GLASGOW CORPORATION LIBRARIES WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR
WILLIAM ANDERSON    DONALD CAMERON    HERBERT R HUTCHESON    DAVID F MCLEOD

1939 WORLD WAR 1945
GEORGE M DUFFUS
JAMES CAMERON JR

Research was conducted on the database of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), Soldier Died in the Great War (SDGW), Ancestry website, City of Glasgow Roll of Honour (1922), the Glasgow Evening Times archive, the Glasgow Herald archive, and The Palimpsest magazine (archived in the Mitchell).  Click each of the images to read June A Willing’s fascinating journey to uncover each of these librarians’ history.


Private Donald Cameron

Obituary for Private Donald Cameron from the Evening Times 21 January 1919

Obituary for Private Donald Cameron from the Oban Times

The eldest son of Mr and Mrs Ewen Cameron of Glasgow, Private Donald Cameron went to school at North Kelvinside Higher Grade School.  After school, he joined the City Librarian’s staff.  On reaching military age, he joined the Scottish Rifles (Cameronians) and was transferred to the Royal Scots upon completion of his training.  He joined his battalion in December 1917 and made it through heavy fighting unscratched for a year.  During the March retreat and for some time after, he worked as a stretch-bearer, tending to his wounded comrades and was recommended for valuable services.  His colonel stated in a letter to Donald’s parents that he would have been decorated had he not died of pneumonia while crossing Belgium on his leave.


Sergeant George B Smith

Photo of George B Smith

Photo of George B Smith

Obituary for George B Smith from The Press 1 November 1918

Obituary for George B Smith from The Press 1 November 1918

The elder son of Mr and Mrs George Smith of Govan, Sergeant George B Smith or “Geordie” was a former pupil of Govan High School an old Fairfield HG schoolboy with a bright and breezy personality.  He played defence on the school’s football team and was one of those dogged defenders who never admitted defeat.  He left school unexpectedly to take up a post in the Glasgow University Library where he remained until he went into service with Scottish Rifles.  He did arduous and useful home service for a time until he was sent abroad where he saw very heavy fighting.  He died in action in France on 20 October 1918.  He is commemorated on the Govan High School War memorial.


Sergeant Sydney J Marks

Born in 1911 to Thomas Henry and Rose Sarah Marks, Sydney J Marks was educated at Watford Grammar School before entering into library service at Watford Public Library.  He studied for the Fellowship Diploma with the Library Association and passed in 1933.  He left Watford the following year to work as a sub-librarian with the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle-on-Tyne.  Two years later he joined the Dumfries County Library as the principal assistant to Mr. Shirley and three years after that was promoted to the Chief Librarian role.  Sydney J Marks joined the R.A.F. in the summer of 1941 and took part in many operational flights until he lost his life in operations over Germany at the age of 32 when his aircraft was attacked by a night-fighter and crashed at Schape.

Notice that Sydney J Marks is believed to be dead in the Library Association Record December 1943

Notice that Sydney J Marks is believed to be dead in the Library Association Record December 1943

Notice of Sydney J Marks appointment to Chief Librarian of Dumfries County

Notice of Sydney J Marks appointment to Chief Librarian of Dumfries County

Obituary for Sydney J Marks from the Dumfries & Galloway Standard

Obituary for Sydney J Marks from the Dumfries & Galloway Standard

Notice of Sydney J Marks missing in action in the Library Association Record January 1944

Notice of Sydney J Marks in the Role of Honour in the Library Association Record January 1944