Before the British Expeditionary Force had even left for France reservists had rejoined their regiments, Territorials had taken up their war stations and Lord Kitchener’s appeal for volunteers had seen men queuing round the block at recruiting offices.
The local Renfrewshire Regiment was the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders who fought at most of the major battles in France and Belguim, including at Ypres, Loos and the Somme. Others served in Gallipoli, Egypt and Palestine against the Ottoman Turks. The Argylls were also present in Salonika (Greece) fighting the Bulgarians and in Italy fighting the army of Austro-Hungary.
Many men who had left home to find work overseas before 1914 joined up. They served in the armies and navies of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Many of those serving in South African forces took part in campaigns against the German Colonies in Africa as well as fighting on the Western Front.
Many units published histories after the war, including the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. The Argylls alone lost 413 officers and 6,475 other ranks and were awarded six Victoria Crosses during World War 1. Given these numbers, it would be impossible to cover every unit in which local men and women served on this website but the pages on this site will hopefully give an overview of the war service of Renfrewshire people.
Recruitment notice for Renfrewshire National Reserve, Paisley Daily Express, 1 September 1914.