During World War 1, Emily Anne Austin Borrowman was Telegraphist and Sorting Clerk, then later Postmistress, in South Queensferry Post Office, now the Clydesdale Bank on Queensferry High Street
Emily was born in Fullerton Farm, near Penicuik, in 1887 and was educated at Toxside School, Temple which she left in 1902. In 1905 she began her postal career, presumably as a trainee, at Gorebridge Post Office and her first official appointment was to Kirriemuir Post Office in 1908, and met her future husband George Alexander Mill there. She transferred to Galashiels Post Office in 1910 and in June 1914, she transferred to Edinburgh, which seems to have included South Queensferry. George Mill, who was wounded during World War 1, sent a postcard from France, to Emily, at Galasheils Post Office, which was redirected to Queensferry Post Office.
Queensferry Post Office
Emily seems to have been continuously at South Queensferry Post Office from September 1914 until about August 1917 but later transferred to Edinburgh, as in September 1918, she received a postcard, from George Mill, addressed to Post Office Staff, Leven Street, Edinburgh. However a postcard dated December 1918, sent to her home address at Buccleuch Street, Edinburgh, was redirected to Queensferry Post Office, Emily having returned as interim Postmistress for 10 months.
George returned from the war and they were married in 1920.
Emily Borrowman and George Mill, Wedding Photo
During Emily's time in Queensferry, she gathered lots of photos and kept an autograph album which comprised of about 70 writings and drawings, by, for the most part, sailors from the Grand Fleet. Most seem to be just before the Battle of Jutland, 1916.
Emily is remembered by one soldier, Arthur Donaldson, who wrote of her in the Scotsman in 1964. He recalls, while stationed in South Queensferry, seeing many ships returning to Rosyth in The Forth after the Battle of Jutland. He saw boats setting off for shore and "Queensferry was very 'lively'. The first call for many sailors was the Post Office to send telegrams to their relatives. A queue formed and the postmistress did a splendid job in weighing up the situation. She collected 6d or 9d from each sailor, took his Christian name and the address to send the message "I am safe" to his relatives. She then dismissed the queue and for hours sent off these telegrams. The sailors, their duty done to both home and country, went off to enjoy a well earned pint"
Images and information Copyright John D M Gordon to whom grateful thanks are due for permission to use his painstaking work.