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Glasgow office bearer descendents sought

VOLUNTEERS at Scotland's oldest military charity are appealing to the public to help them track down the descendents of its Glasgow office bearers in 1914.

PLEA: Volunteers at the charity.
PLEA: Volunteers at the charity.

The volunteers working at the Glasgow branch of the Soldiers', Sailors' and Airforce Families Association (SSAFA) are keen to build up a picture of the people and personalities behind the charity's work in the city 100 years ago, as the anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War approaches.

They were astonished recently when archives revealed that the Glasgow branch was 120 years old - making it one of SSAFA's oldest - and uncovered a "flag book" listing the names and addresses of the key office bearers in charge of helping families plunged into crisis as thousands of men were called up to fight.

They are keen for relatives of these office bearers, or anyone who was helped by SSAFA during the war, to get in touch to help them commemorate the work of the charity.

Lisbeth Johnstone, a volunteer with the Glasgow branch for six years, said: "It's been a real eye-opener, I've found it utterly fascinating. We'd love to hear from anyone who thinks it might be their grandparent or great-grandparent listed in the book so that we can find out a bit more about them and maybe make up a wee display.

"And we'd absolutely love to have some cases of families who were helped by SSAFA."

SSAFA was founded in 1885 when Major James Gildea wrote to The Times appealing for funds and volunteers to look after families left behind as British forces set off to fight in Egypt, and has continued to offer support ever since.

In Glasgow, SSAFA - at the time the only military charity in Britain - spent £96,000 (£4.6m today) providing assistance to more than 65,000 wives, children and other dependents in 1914 alone.

The SSAFA Glasgow branch can be contacted on 0141 613 3002 or glasgow@ssafa.org.uk.

Contextual targeting label: 
Families

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