Was Deesider oldest man on Front Line?

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With the centenary of the outbreak of WW1 set to be marked on August 4, a chance has arisen to discover Deeside’s own war stories.

Did you know that during the First World War, Deeside was home to a diatomite factory, which shipped the product on the Deeside Railway to the Ardeer Peninsula in Ayrshire?

The efforts on the Home Front in Aboyne, Cromar and Dinnet will be recalled by Simon Welfare in his talk on August 7, as part of the Aboyne & Deeside Festival.

After being asked by the Cromar History Group to give the talk, Simon delved into researching the Home Front in Deeside from teenage girls taking over the running of farms to local buildings being used as military hospitals.

Bonavista in Aboyne, a site near Craigievar Castle, and Aboyne Castle all served as hospitals for the recuperation and rehabilitation of soldiers coming back from the Front Line.

The announcement about Aboyne Castle Hospital was made in November 1915 and the intention was to open it ‘at once’. It is thought to have remained open, providing around 100 beds to recovering soldiers, until 1919, after the end of hostilities.

Almost all the equipment, food and the running costs for this and the Red Cross Auxiliary Hospitals at Tarland, Bonavista and elsewhere in Aberdeenshire were contributed by local people: an extraordinary example of community enterprise and selflessness in a time of trouble.

Deeside may also be home to the oldest person to go to the Front Line during WW1.

Alexander Ogston of Cromar fought in the Egyptian, Franco-Prussian and Boer Wars. Aged over 70, he went out to serve on the Front Line as a surgeon.

To discover more about the War in Deeside, Simon Welfare’s talk on the Home Front will take place on August 7 at 7:30pm in Aboyne’s Victory Hall. Tickets cost £6.