Methil Heritage Trail

Point 14

Time

3:30

Distance (m)

235

# Steps

307

Point 14

This War Memorial is known as the Fallen Soldier. It was unveiled in 1922 and depicts a Black Watch soldier in full fighting kit. The Black Watch, also known as The Royal Highlanders were the local regiment for people from this area. If you had family connections, you may be able to chose which regiment you join; otherwise, you were allocated based on where you came from.

Methil’s role in the World Wars was significant, particularly during World War II. The town served as a vital transportation and logistical centre for the war effort, with its docks and shipyards playing a crucial part in supporting the war.

Research has shown there is huge variety of experience and activities amongst our Tommies. These men from all walks of life including porters, bookbinders, grocers, and everything in between, family men and young men, barely out of boyhood. There are men who served in rank from private to Sargent major. These men are our Methil Heroes.

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Merchant Navy
Sadly, not all servicemen were always so highly regarded; some actually suffered abuse. The Merchant Navy badge was issued to seamen on British ships in January 1940 as many seamen were made to feel uncomfortable on shore with no uniform. Stories are told of survivors from torpedoed merchant ships being attacked by little old ladies with umbrellas in the street and accused of being cowards as they were not wearing uniform. However, the badge did not improve matters and the seamen who flipped their badges, so instead of reading MN for Merchant Navy they read NW for not wanted.
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Sneaky Recruitment
The Customs house at Methil was the recruiting office for Royal Navy personnel in WW2. A number of local young coal miners turned up to enlist but were told they were unable to do so as coal mining was a reserved occupation in wartime. However not to be deterred their next step was to travel along to Kirkcaldy and present themselves to the recruiting officer there. When asked what their occupations were they replied “Buckhaven fishermen” whereupon they were snatched up and drafted into the Royal Naval Patrol Service to crew the minesweeping trawlers. This branch of the Royal Navy had the biggest casualty rate in WW2 within the Senior Service
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Methil Library
Behind you, across the road is Methil Library. Operating as both a community library and featuring family history section, this building has loads more history of the area including pictures, books and computers. With free wifi, hot drinks toilets and friendly staff happy to answer questions, please pop in and learn more. They even have Ancestry available for you to research your own family history, no matter where in the world you might be from! Follow the path through the park in the direction the soldier is looking for the next check point!
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