Scotland's Secret War brings Spy Schools to Aberdeen!

Youngsters will have the chance to learn the tricks of the espionage trade at Aberdeen Children's Library this Saturday morning at a special interactive 'Spy School' which accompanies 'Scotland's Secret War', the National Library of Scotland's travelling exhibition.

The workshop will be open from 9:30am to 11:30am, and in it children will get the chance to send coded messages, test their observational skills and design their own wartime propaganda. The event is open to families of all ages.

Laura Murphy, Education and Outreach Officer at the National Library of Scotland says: "'The Spy School workshops were very popular when we ran them in Edinburgh and we're really looking forward to giving Aberdeen children the chance to practise the skills needed to be a Special Operations Agent!'

The 'Scotland's Secret War' travelling exhibition explores Scotland's involvement in the 'hidden' stories of World War II and the Scots whose inventiveness and courage helped change the course of the conflict. After Saturday's Spy School, the exhibition will be moving on to Cove Library, where it will be open to the public until the end of April.

The exhibition comes to Aberdeen as part of the partnership agreement between Aberdeen City Libraries and the National Library of Scotland which was launched in January.

Visitors can discover the story of secret technologies, propaganda, escape and espionage through government files, personal archives and official publications. The exhibition focuses on broad themes of Escape and Evasion; Propaganda; Science, Innovation and Invention; Defence and Maps and Cartographers.

Key themes include:

  • Donald Caskie, 'The Tartan Pimpernel'. Caskie worked with the French Resistance at Marseilles helping around 2000 soldiers to escape via 'the underground railway'
  • Peter Ritchie Calder, a socialist author and journalist from Forfar, was appointed as Director of Plans and Campaigns to the top secret Political Warfare Executive, the Government's newly formed foreign propaganda unit
  • Robert Watson Watt, born in Brechin, proposed a system of RDF (Radio Detection Finding), which became known as radar. This proved vital to the wartime defence of Britain, including successfully detecting the first Luftwaffe attack on the British mainland
  • Mapping the war — the Bartholomew firm, world famous map publishers based in Edinburgh, made secret contributions to the war effort
  • The Home Guard — the secret flight of Rudolph Hess to Scotland is notable in the story of the Scottish Home Guard.

8 March 2006

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