Aliens

Aliens

On 14 August 1914, the West Lothian Courier reported:

A busy day was experienced at the Police Station [in Bathgate] on Monday with the registrating [sic] of aliens in accordance with the Government notice issued. Some 30 gave in their names, which were mostly those of Russian Poles. Needless to say there were many jawbreakers of names to write down which would have tackled the ability of any ordinary scholar.

The Russian Poles in West Lothian were mainly Lithuanian and Latvian workers recruited in the 10 or 15 years before the war by the coal companies to work in mines in the Central Belt of Scotland. There were major communities in Newtongrange and Motherwell areas, and a smaller but significant number in the United Collieries mines in the Fauldhouse and Stoneyburn areas.

The story goes that the colliery clerks had no idea how to spell many of the names, so assigned them British names with 'ski' on the end;  hence there are entries in the Valuation Rolls for Greenski, Blackski, Smithski, Mitchellski – and perhaps the unlikeliest of all, McGintyski.

The few Germans living in West Lothian at the outbreak of war were interned. There was plenty of anti-German feeling, but no evidence of overt violence against them or their property. 

©West Lothian Local History Library

For more information on any aspect of West Lothian and the First World War, contact localhistory@westlothian.gov.uk   -  http://www.westlothian.gov.uk/article/2055/Local-History-Library.

 

More info: 

A Registration of Aliens Act Notice.