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Postcard sent during World War One

By April 13th, 2022No Comments
The front of a postcard with a photo of a lady and a Birthday poem.

We are always on the look out for items that relate to HM Factory Gretna and its 30,000 workers (12,000 of them women) in World War One.  The Museum recently acquired this postcard which was sent with Birthday wishes to a worker staying at one of the hostels in Eastriggs during the War.

eastriggs gretna munitions girl postcard

As a complete list of all the munitions workers doesn’t exist just knowing the name of another girl and which hostel they stayed in is interesting.  This is also a sentimental card which shows that friendships and Birthday celebrations continued even during the dark days of War.

Brick hostels were built to house the workers in Eastriggs and Gretna.  Each one was superintended by a matron and they were named after famous people, many of them from Scotland’s history (such as Mary Queen of Scots, Robert Bruce and Walter Scott).  Balliol House (where the recipient of this postcard lived) was on Pretoria Road in Eastriggs.  John Balliol was King of Scotland.   The photograph below shows hostels being constructed in Gretna in World War One.

building hostels in gretna world war one

The street name is also interesting, street names in Eastriggs are primarily names of places from the Empire/Commowealth (such as Sydney Road, Auckland Walk, Delhi Place and Singapore Road).  This is a lasting legacy of World War One and demonstrates how people came from all over the world to work at HM Factory Gretna.  Many of their descendants visit us today from Australia and South Africa (for example) to share their family history.   The photograph below shows Pretoria Road today.  Balliol Hostel can be seen on the right.  At the end of the War, the hostels were converted into houses and many of these original World War One buildings are still standing and lived in today.

pretoria road

If you would like to know more about HM Factory Gretna and the townships of Eastriggs and Gretna in World War One, we have many interesting publications in our online shop:


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