1914: Britain enters the Great War

Staff from Scottish Widows' head office, June 1914.

Staff from Scottish Widows' head office, June 1914.

This photograph shows staff from Scottish Widows’ head office. It was taken on a fine day in Edinburgh, in June 1914.
Little did they realise, thousands of miles away in the Balkans, events were unfolding which would have profound consequences for them all.  Following the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand on 28th June, hostilities between the European powers escalated into armed conflict.  On 4th August, Britain declared war on Germany.
Thousands of men responded to Kitchener’s ensuing ‘call to arms’.  They included thirty three of the men shown here – well over half.  Seven were to give their lives.  Among them was Robert Logan, seated at the front with his dog ‘Frisco’.  Logan died on the Western Front, on 20 October 1918 - a few weeks shy of the end of the war.  He was 25.
Female staff were very much in the minority in 1914.  This was to change radically over the next four years.  ‘Lady Clerks’ were taken on in huge numbers to replace men going off to fight – 30 at head office alone.

You can find out more about the impact of the First World War on Scottish Widows and the other constituents of Lloyds Banking Group in our online exhibition.

Or return to This Month in History to see more featured events from the Group’s history.