Postcards from WWI uncovered in roof of railway station

The discovery was made during renovation work at Stirling station in 2021.

An appeal for information has been made after a trove of postcards dating from the First World War were found in the roof space of a Scottish railway station.

The discovery was made during renovation work at Stirling station in 2021, offering a fascinating snapshot into the experiences of serving soldiers.

One of the letters found was addressed to Corporal Walter Reddiford [pictured below]. He was later charged on counts of theft, forgery, and bigamy. Image: Network Rail

It is thought that the postcards, several of which were dated April 1916 and sent to troops stationed in the nearby barracks at Cambusbarron, were accidentally left within the crawl space of the roof and forgotten about.

Network Rail, which undertook the renovation work, appealed to the public for help in uncovering more information about the men to whom the postcards were addressed.

With cooperation from various regimental museums, progress has been made in accounting for the lives of three of the soldiers. But Network Rail is keen to know more.

One soldier identified is 2nd Lieutenant John Neil Campbell, who was traced in the archives of his school, Glasgow’s Hutchesons’ Grammar School.

Photography of Corporal Walter Reddiford. Image: Network Rail

Campbell, of 11th Gordon Highlanders, was posted to France in September 1916. He survived the war and was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War medal. He died in Sussex in 1968.

Both Captain and Quarter Master Arthur James MacDonald and Private and Corporal Walter Reddiford also survived the war. This was despite MacDonald’s participation in the Battle of Loos in September 1915 – where only 58 of the 776 men in his regiment survived – and Reddiford’s experiences at the Somme the following year.

Reddiford later appeared in newspapers charged with theft and forgery. He was accused of stealing two cheques and of forging a third.

Letters found in Reddiford’s possession led to a further charge of bigamy, for which he was later tried. At the trial, a Florence N Stanbrooke testified to having gone through ‘a form of marriage’ with him in March 1922.

An unidentified fourth soldier, listed as serving in the 6th Black Watch regiment, has proven more elusive.