Join us on August 3rd & 4th in Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline.
Each year, the Defend Fife festival explores Dunfermline and East Scotland in the early-mid 20th century as people prepared for possible invasion during the Second World War.
Dunfermline is steeped in history: from the 13th-century abbey in the heart of the town (including the tomb of King Robert the Bruce) to St Margaret’s Cave, an ancient place of pilgrimage. Latterly it is known as being the birthplace of successful businessman Andrew Carnegie, who gave some of his wealth back to the town to create public spaces for the enrichment of life, such as the baths, library and Pittencrieff Park.
In 2019, the festival will focus on the 1940/41 defenders of Fife. The event will feature the 1944 ‘push back’ against Axis forces in occupied Europe on various fronts by various means. There will be indoor exhibitions in the Glen Pavillion as well as a tea dance, which was a Polish Army billet during the war. A section of Pittencrieff Park will form the WW2 weekend showground.
Discover the story of 1940s Dunfermline, which had its defenses strengthened in the war years against infiltration from enemy tanks and paratroopers. Investigate the recently unearthed confidential maps and plans, drawn up by the allied Polish armies, who were exiled to Scotland during World War II. These plans – which were an enforcement of the roadblocks, checkpoints and fighting positions created by Dunfermline’s home guard – were prepared in the result of ultimate invasion. The festival will retell this interesting story through the eyes of the Scottish and Polish soldiers who worked hard to ensure Fife remained protected.
Organised by Forth Pilgrim Ltd., the festival has received financial support from Fife Council and the Polish Consulate for Scotland. It is hoped that the festival will open the door to new international partnerships and cultural collaborations between Fife and Poland for future years.
The first Defend Fife festival followed a yearlong project to create a comic book about the plans, which was made available bilingually as a free learning resource to primary schools in Fife, with an additional e-book hosted online. This year’s event presents a follow-up comic book following the 80th anniversary of the first air raid over Britain during WWII, which took place over the Firth of Forth.
Last year, Roger Pickering, Director of Forth Pilgrim said, ‘We first discovered this story in 2012, after uncovering a defence on the edge of Pittencreiff Park with the help of Fife Council’s archaeology team. Five years later, we’re delighted to be showcasing this find alongside the illustrated maps and plans in this flagship festival. We hope this is the first of many untold stories to be presented in Scotland’s ancient capital.’
Gordon Mole, Fife Council’s Senior Manager for Business & Employability, said, ‘We are delighted that HLF have match funded the award made by the Council’s Strategic Events Investment Programme for Defend Fife WWII. We are very pleased to be supporting this new event and are confident this will draw a significant audience from all over Scotland and beyond because of the content and quality of the programme in celebrating and commemorating the remarkable events which took place in Dunfermline during the Second World War.’
Offering live interpretation across heritage sites in Fife, Forth Pilgrim Ltd. delivers educational, inspiring and entertaining workshops and walks, primarily dealing with Medieval History. The organisation are a leading partner in driving forward a new tourist route for the region, the Fife Pilgrim Way.