Tayside and Central Scotland

Dundee posties' time capsule from WW1 set to be opened

Dundee time capsule
Image caption The oak casket full of wartime mementoes was sealed in 1921 by Dundee postal workers

A First World War time capsule put together by postal workers in Dundee is set to be opened.

The lead-lined oak casket was sealed in 1921 and is thought to contain letters, photographs, newspaper cuttings, stamps and coins dating back to the war.

The capsule was held in the care of city postal workers for 93 years.

It has been handed over to the city of Dundee and will be on show in the McManus art gallery until it is officially opened on 4 August.

The lead-lined box bears a plaque identifying it as the "Dundee postal war memorial", and says it should be opened by the postmaster in the presence of the Lord Provost on 4 August, 2014, which will be the 100th anniversary of the start of the conflict.

Countdown to WW1

Image copyright Mary Evans Picture Library

The World War One Centenary

A special ceremony has been arranged for that date incorporating the Lord Provost's office, the Royal Mail and Post Office, Dundee's art galleries and museums, the Great War Dundee partnership, and the High School of Dundee, which owns the former post office building from 1921.

Royal Mail delivery manager Ricky Turner said the postal service had played a "significant role" in World War One, delivering 12 million letters and parcels to the front.

He said: "The Postal Memorial Shrine made by colleagues in 1921 is a special link to the war for all of us in Dundee.

"It has been in our care for 93 years and we are proud that the city of Dundee will display it before it is officially opened."

Image caption A plaque on the memorial says it should be opened by the postmaster on 4 August, 2014

Local amateur historian Janice Kennedy tracked down the time capsule while researching her family history.

Her grandfather was a Dundee postman, and Janice found a mention of the memorial in a diary which had been passed down through her family.

Having struggled to locate the capsule through more conventional methods, she eventually found it - by asking a postman in the street, who pointed her in the direction of the Dundee East delivery office.

She is now trying to find fellow descendants of Dundee posties who might have helped put the memorial together.

She said: "I hope we can find the descendants of the people who contributed to the memorial and that they can be present when it is opened.

"It is an important part of local history and we hope as many people who are connected locally to the First World War or the time capsule can be found to join us."

Lord Provost Bob Duncan added that the capsule "provides a fascinating insight" into the city's history and the role of the postal service in the war.

He said: "At this time of remembrance to mark a century since the outbreak of the war, we have a poignant reminder in Dundee of the sacrifices that were made."

The story of Janice Kennedy's quest to track down the memorial box can be heard in full on Radio Four's iPM programme.

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