Jun 052023

Castlehill, Edinburgh, EH1 2NG

Edinburgh Castle esplanade

During the war, a military hospital was established at Edinburgh Castle which was mainly used for prisoners of war who required treatment. In 1939, Luftwaffe pilots shot down over the Firth of Forth were brought up to the castle and treated in the hospital. Norman MacCaig, one of Scotland’s most important 20th century poets, was briefly imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle after refusing military service, before being sent to join the Non-Combatant Corps. Other Scots who were imprisoned for refusing conscription included Douglas Young, chair of the Scottish National Party (SNP) from 1942-45, who spent time in 1942 in Saughton Prison in western Edinburgh. As a dual national, the Italian Scottish artist, Alberto Morrocco, serving with the 51st Highland Division, was based at Edinburgh Castle where he was employed making false wounds for training exercises. In 1944 he painted a portrait of the Commander-in-Chief of the Castle.

A.T.S. and F.A.N.Y. at a Church Parade, Edinburgh Castle, 6th October 1940. © IWMH 4591
Band of the King’s African Rifles Visits Edinburgh, Scotland, 1946. © IWMD 27974
Edinburgh Castle

Sources: ‘Edinburgh Castle’, The Scotsman, 21 February 1946, p.6, https://www.edinburghcastle.scot/the-castle/history, Richard Finlay, Independent and Free. Scottish Politics and the Origins of the Scottish National Party 1918-1945 (1994), Victoria Keller and Clara Young, Alberto Morrocco (1993), p. 42.

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