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Defence of the Realm Local Pass – George Smith (Resident), Nov 1918 (HCA/D1373/1/3)
...the Highland constabulary was occupied in ensuring that key strategic parts of the area were not subject to sabotage from enemy agents...

At the commencement of WW1, the Highland constabulary was occupied in ensuring that key strategic parts of the area were not subject to sabotage from enemy agents, and large parts of the northern highlands were designated as a special military area under the Defence of the Realm Act, which placed heavy restrictions on daily life.

It was made obligatory for "all persons of any class or description within the Special Military Area to be in possession of a pass, permit or identity book, which they shall produce whenever so required". In addition to travel restrictions, the sale and consumption of alcohol was tightly controlled with trading restricted between noon and 2.30pm and 6pm and 8pm. Treating (buying of rounds) and provision of credit (bar tabs) were also prohibited.

Meanwhile, with Britain heavily dependent on food imports from the Colonies and the USA, County Agricultural Executive Committees were established with the aim of maximising food production.

In Inverness Burgh, parks were ploughed up, more land was made available for allotments and the bye-laws relating to pig-keeping were relaxed. Recognising that the workforce was severely depleted due to most able-bodied men being on military service, the County Councils in the Highlands were requested to make available every man with knowledge of ploughing, hay-making and harvesting to assist with the effort of increasing food production as far as possible.

As the men of the Highlands volunteered for service, and were mobilised; very quickly the women of the Highlands were stepping forward to take on the roles which the men had vacated, including as teachers, in hospitals, and in munitions factories such as AI Welders at the Rose Street Foundry in Inverness.

 

[Text © High Life Highland; images © Highland Archive Service]