The Past That Never Was…

When I was a wee small bairn, I remember reading about the legend of Russian troops, sent by the Tsar to help the British,  who having landed at Aberdeen (or Leith) were seen travelling by troop train to Dover.

What actually, well probably, happened was in September of 1914 Scottish troops from the shire of Ross were overheard talking in gaelic on a London bound troop train and when asked were they were from answered, “Rosshire” which was, you guessed it, given their thick Scottish brogue mistaken for Russia.

Once it started the rumour went completely viral with station porters reported sweeping the snow from the Russian troop train carriages, and London land ladies reported as complaining as to how much their Russian guests ate.

And yes, Virginia, rumours still went viral in the old days, even back when the Interwebz was Mrs Smyth Gryffenby Jones at the Pentonville exchange and Twitter was what you did on a party line.

By the time the rumour reached it’s peak there were mystery troop trains reported up and down the country and a quarter of a million Russian troops massing at Dover. Or so the story goes…

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