silver cigarette case

Contributed by J Mary Henderson

silver cigarette case

This belonged to Alex McKinnon (1889 - 1920) from Tiree, my grandmother Mary's older brother, and his initials are on the front. It was found among the possessions of their youngest brother Hugh (born 1897), who was killed in France on 27th September 1918. He was still missing when armistice was declared on 11 November. My grandmother, aged 24, was working in Lizar's optician in Buchanan Street, Glasgow when shops started closing and people began dancing in the street. Her boss, Mr Ballantyne, noticed her standing behind the counter alone and said, "The war is over, Miss McKinnon. Everyone is going home." She replied, "The war is over and my brother is missing. No-one will look for him now." She never fully got over his death. The cigarette case was made into a purse for my mother, Nancy (b. 1926), to play with as a child. It speaks to me of the tragedy and futility of war.

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