Day one of the first Book Festival held by The Black Watch Castle and Museum, ‘Words of War’. This event will broaden the successful lecture series focusing on books, both fact and fiction, of wartime stories and military providing a unique opportunity to meet and listen to a talented collection of authors from across the country.

Words of War Book Festival - Saturday

21st SEPTEMBER 2019

14.00PM - 18.30PM

The Black Watch Castle and Museum

The Black Watch Castle and Museum

Balhousie Castle, Hay Street
Perth, Perth and Kinross, PH1 5HR, Scotland
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The Black Watch Castle and Museum Perth

Plan your journey to Words of War - Saturday 21st September - Victoria Schofield, Gill Arbuthnott, Les Wilson with Stagecoach
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Day one of the first Book Festival held by The Black Watch Castle and Museum, ‘Words of War’. This event will broaden the successful lecture series focusing on books, both fact and fiction, of wartime stories and military providing a unique opportunity to meet and listen to a talented collection of authors from across the country.

Please use the list of events below to find information for the Words of War Book Festival on Saturday 21st September at The Black Watch Castle and Museum:

Victoria Schofield in conversation with Lt Gen Sir Alistair Irwin
Saturday 21 | 14.00 | £8

Military Biography - The Generation that fought two World Wars

In her masterly biography, Wavell: Soldier & Statesman, Victoria Schofield brings to life one of the towering figures of WW2 and, in the process, illuminates many of the obscure pages of the history of the period. Victoria’s interest in military history was heavily influenced by her father, Vice Admiral Brian Schofield. Victoria is author of the two-volume history of The Black Watch, The Highland Furies and the award winning The Black Watch: Fighting on the Front Line. She has recently edited her father’s memoirs With the Royal Navy in War and Peace: O’er the Dark Blue Sea.

In conversation with Lt Gen Sir Alistair Irwin, Victoria will discuss the extraordinary careers of Field Marshal Wavell and Admiral Schofield. As late Victorians, the era of their birth dictated their lives, both seeing active service in two World Wars, with Wavell rising to supreme command in both the Middle East and India. 

Gill Arbuthnott - Children’s event - Recommended Age: 6 -12
Saturday 21 | 14.00 | Free (Booking required)

A Secret Diary of the First World War

Did you know parachuting pigeons helped win the First World War? This and other fascinating facts are woven into the story of a young laddie from Dalkeith, James Marchbank, who served in the Royal Scots during the Great War. This book, lovingly illustrated by Darren Gates, places the reader in 14-year-old James’s boots as he marches off to war.

Gill Arbuthnott will talk about James’s story which is told in an easy and engaging manner. Gill will explore with the children the mix of real experiences and facts that offer an insight and explanation into a terrible moment in Scottish history. The book entertains with facts, puzzles and humour. Following this session children are invited to visit the WW1 gallery and discover the type of kit James would have used. They can then step back in time as they enter the replica WW1 trench and meet old soldier Private McNiven to learn all about life on the front line.

Les Wilson and Lord Robertson of Port Ellen
Saturday 21 | 15.30 | £8

The First World War comes to Islay

In February 1918 the troopship Tuscania was sunk by a German U-boat off Islay, causing the first major US military casualties of WW1. Eight months later HMS Otranto collided with another troopship, the losses were enormous. Men, dead and alive were washed ashore on Islay – war had come to the Hebrides. 

Les Wilson and Lord Robertson of Port Ellen will discuss Les’s vivid and sympathetic account of how a small island community coped with both tragedies. In his moving preface to The Drowned and the Saved, which won the Saltire Society’s History Book of the Year Award, former Cabinet Minister and Secretary General of NATO, George Robertson writes of how his grandfather, the police sergeant on Islay in 1918, managed the unfolding events with none of the modern communications or emergency services we take for granted today.

Alice Soper interviewed by with Lt Gen Sir Alistair Irwin
Saturday 21 | 15.30 | £6

The Piper of Tobruk – World War Two Pipe Major Robert Roy is a legendary figure in The Black Watch. In November 1941, during the battle for the relief of the Tobruk Garrison, he “displayed the most exceptional and outstanding gallantry and devotion to duty” for which he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Months earlier, he had been involved in the defence of Crete, escaped from a POW camp and made his way to Syria to re-join his battalion. Post-war, Robert Roy continued to live a remarkable life.

Alice Soper will talk about her memoir of her father, which tells the story of a courageous and inspiring soldier who, in peacetime and in war, was not afraid to stand up for his convictions.

Jonathan Boff in conversation with Professor Sir Hew Strachan
Saturday 21 | 17.00 | £8

The First World War from the German perspective

Jonathan Boff draws on extensive research in the German archives to offer a history of the First World War from the other side of the barbed wire. He revises conventional explanations of why the Germans lost with an in-depth analysis of the nature of command as modern warfare was born. Haig's Enemy views the Great War through the eyes of one of Germany's leading generals, Crown Prince Rupprecht, shedding new light on many of the controversies of the Western Front. 

In conversation with Professor Sir Hew Strachan, one of the world's foremost experts on the First World War, Jonathan will discuss the view of the Western Front as a highly dynamic battlespace, both physical and intellectual, where three armies struggled not only to out-fight, but also to out think, their enemy. The consequences of falling behind in the race to adapt would be more terrible than could be imagined.

Rob Hands
Saturday 21 | 17.00 | £6

Battles of the Perthshire Muirs

The death of Robert the Bruce in 1329 gave opportunity for those with designs on the Scottish Crown. In 1332, funded by Edward III, Edward Balliol organised an invasion army that marched on Scone. At Dupplin Moor their passage was halted by a larger force but Balliol’s army was victorious. 312 years later, Tippermuir witnessed a Royalist army, under the Marquis of Montrose, rout a numerically-superior adversary. Balliol and Montrose’s military prowess stands in contrast to the Earl of Mar’s poor generalship at Sheriffmuir (1715).

Rob Hands will tell the story of these three Perthshire battles from both the historical and geographical point of view. Rob writes geography textbooks and has contributed to several books including Battleground Perthshire. 

Trevor Royle in conversation with Allan Mallinson
Saturday 21 | 18.30 | £8

Scotland and the Cold War

In his distinguished career as a broadcaster, journalist and military historian, Trevor Royle has written extensively. His books range from the Crimean War and the English Civil Wars to the two World Wars. He has written widely on the histories of the Scottish regiments and writes regular newspaper columns and television scripts on international affairs and matters of defence. Trevor is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In his latest book, Facing the Bear, he explores the role of Scotland as a ‘frontline’ of the Cold War.

In conversation with historian and writer Allan Mallinson, Trevor will discuss how, with 10% of UK naval and air forces based in Scotland, occasionally things got very ‘hot’. They will look at both the military and political considerations for Scotland during the Cold War period.


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