Believe it or not, there are several instances throughout WW1 when the Victualling Departments of the WAR OFFICE and the ADMIRALTY, couldn't procure enough food and of the right kinds, and therefore the troops and the fleet went without. That was until there was a national outcry, and the Government started to ask the general public to help out!

Now one issue of a poster for help is similar to all other subsequent posters on the same subject, and in this snippet, I am going to show you two directives issued by the authorities which are now kept in the National Archives of Scotland. The first dated 1915 and the second not dated [or no date] viz 'nd'.

Royal Navy: Vegetable Products Committee Appeal




expand GD1/1055/1.


Printed leaflet appealing for gifts of fresh fruit and vegetables for the Navy to the Ayr Depot of the West of Scotland Branch of the Vegetable Products Committee; refers to problems encountered by the Admiralty in supplying fruit and vegetables as part of a fixed daily ration, the effect of consignments already supplied by the Committee, and arrangements for conveyance of produce by rail; the Committee also appeals for donations of money to be applied locally in the purchase of suitable produce






Poster advertising the scheme and requesting donations of vegetables be made at local depot, Ayr. Two reduced photocopies


From a vast amount of my time reading various archives, I have deduced that the problem of feeding the fleet, particularly with the twenty first century recommendation of the proverbial "five a day" meaning fruit and vegetables, involved the main WW1 home of the Fleets, viz Scapa Flow, and probably as such, was a Scottish problem in procurement terms? 

If you are a Scot and you are interested in your country's history, or, if not a Scot, but you are interested in what parts of Scotland were used by the Royal Navy throughout the ages, then follow me briefly to see where I got the detail from to create this page.

In a moment we will start off with this URL https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/research/catalogues-and-indexes  the National Archives of Scotland, and like all archives of this size, its contents could quite easily engage you for weeks on end.

However, for this exercise, we will concentrate only on the File listed above of 'GD1/1055' [forget the one or two suffixes]. Why, because I read that not only the public and the farmers [and who knows, food importers] were asked to donate the 'right type of foods' lacking in the sailors diet, but to thrown in as much as they could afford so that the Admiralty could go shopping when and wherever it wanted to, anywhere in the UK, to buy cash-crops. I wanted to know how much the general public put into these collection boxes {?}, what it bought, and where were the accounting records. Was I being naive in that hunt for detail?  The answer was YES, sadly!  As you will see for yourselves, not only were there no records kept [at least none to be found easily!] but no boxes or mention of them, except in Scotland, and the one I found was listed in a file called 'PR0CESSES AND ELSEWHERE', what perhaps might have been called "Pandora's Box" or a "Scran Bag"

In this exercise, I will show you how to use the National Archives of Scotland [each archive is different] and how I found the collecting box and what was in it? Here is a little list of the steps to take. I always find it frustrating when referring to such a list, having to keep  going back to find them, and remember them, unless I start by writing them down, and taking those instructions with me to apply to the relevant page. If you have Windows, try searching your Apps for an App called 'YELLOW NOTE' [it's free] which is the proverbial yellow sticker. You can copy then paste these few instructions to the note and then take the note to the archive in question - the Scottish in this case. The yellow note doesn't have an obvious scroll bar to read large text inputs, but that is easily done by using your two small up and down keyboard keys immediately below your long pause button. right of centre bottom of keyboard - see below for how to use the Yellow Note or Wordpad if necessary.   If you haven't got the yellow note, then not to worry because using WORPAD is just as easy, and all Windows machines have it ready for use.

First off then the instructions.

1.  Open the archive as shown above at  https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/research/catalogues-and-indexes
2.  Once open, click on CATALOGUE and INDEXES [National Records of Scotland]
3.  Of the three URL's offered, click on the first ONLINE CATALOGUE
4.  On the top line, click on BROWSE
5.  In the search term box, we can either type in ROYAL NAVY or just the word ROYAL and then click on SEARCH. If you choose Royal Navy it will return just one entry, namely the one we are looking for viz GD1/1055,  but if you type in Royal only, it will return everything in the archive with the word Royal in it TO DO WITH SCOTLAND, which number 57 entries, one of which is GD1/1055, but remember, over a vast date scale! The sinking of the Royal Oak was a national tragedy, but for record purposes an Admiralty affairs and not a civilian  affair. I suggest that you type in ROYAL NAVY.
6. In summary therefore, the Scottish authorities got involved with the Royal Navy on one issue only, that of feeding it, so file GD1/1055 is a civilian Scottish file and not a naval operational file.
7. However, having typed in Royal Navy to be returned the File GD1/1055,  click on it [not yet on the words "display in tree view" and note the mention of Lord Charles Beresford. Lord Beresford, in his day, was next in line to Lord Nelson as our famous admirals go. See this file http://www.godfreydykes.info/OUR%20POOR%20NAVY%20IN%201879%20!.htm
8. Now click on Display in Tree View.  Using the file title second column from left [not the one which says, or might say 'minimise GD1/1055]  scroll down again until you come to GD1/1055 and then click on the title in the second column as instructed. Note the last line,"RELATED MATERIAL" concerning the Collection Box for the 'Veg & Fruit donations" which refers to File RH19/62.  This file is a "scran bag" of things found.
9.  Go to that file by clicking on SEARCH just above [in the same opened file]. The search page offers you three boxes.  In the middle box called "reference" type in there RH19/62, and then click on SEARCH on the bottom.
10.  On the right hand side click on the "Display Catalogue Results", then click on RH19/62 centre left hand side in blue.  Note the file is called "Processes and Elsewhere", in other words all the junk left behind!  What found - one collection box with a flag in it - possibly the only one in our naval history?
11.  Finally click on "Display in Tree View" to see the rest of the interesting things found on site, along with the box designed to collect for food-impoverished Royal Sailors surviving in a very cold, wet and terribly bleak Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands, north of Scotland. Note the last item on the list - a pair of ladies knickers??

Enjoy the experience of researching.

How to use the YELLOW NOTE.

Highlight my instructions above 1-11 [with intermediate reading] - right click and choose copy. Open up Yellow Note and paste from clipboard to the Note. Control the scrolling effect as instructed above with the two small up and down keys bottom right of your keyboard. Once pasted move the yellow note icon  to your task bar [very bottom line of screen] with other icons. Do not switch it off.

Open up the Archive Link. When on screen, click the yellow note icon on the task bar to put it onto your main screen over the top of the archive file. Use the two small up and down keys to scroll it to read what you have to do next. When you have done that click on the yellow note on the task bar to send it back to the task bar and then carry out the step on the archive web page on your screen. When ready for next step click on task bar icon, read the next instruction, click on task bar icon, carry out instruction. Repeat that process until all steps have been actioned or executed and you have fulfilled your exercise. Your Yellow Note simply hides the archive webpage when searching for the next step, but it comes back into view when you click on the Yellow Note again. Simple. Remember to use it for all kinds of instructions to save you the frustrations implicit in doing things from notes on an a different site to what you are trying to engineer.