Frequently Asked Questions


Q. Why is this site and book called The Democracy of War?

A.  The title comes from a letter sent by a young army officer, Roland Leighton, writing to his fiancée Vera Brittain. He wrote that there was a grave a few yards away from where he was sitting. It was the grave of a private soldier. Nearby there was the grave of a major around which he had put a new fence. “I cannot help thinking of the two together and of the greater value of the one.” he wrote. “What a pity it is that the same little piece of lead takes away as easily a brilliant life and one that is merely vegetation. The democracy of war!...”  The book challenges that arrogant, dismissive attitude- showing that ordinary soldiers, like those from Anstruther and Cellardyke, were valued and mourned in their own communities.

Q. What is the author’s background?

A. Kevin Dunion is Honorary Professor in the School of Law, University of Dundee. Previously he was Scottish Information Commissioner, based in St Andrews. He is the author of a number of books on international development, environmental justice and freedom of information
As a boy he used to come to Cellardyke on holiday and was struck by how many names there were in the local war memorial and used to wonder what had happened to them. It was only much later that he found out that there was separate memorial for Anstruther and wanted to know why. He lived in Cellardyke for 12 years. He now lives in Perth.

Q. Why is it not the Anstruther and Cellardyke Burgh Collection?

A. The community comprised three Royal Burghs. Anstruther Wester is reached first on the road from Pittenweem and includes the golf course and the Craws Nest Hotel; Anstruther Easter is reached when crossing the Dreel Burn just before the Smugglers Hotel and includes Waid Academy and the harbour. Cellardyke used to be bigger than either of them with its own harbour but was not a burgh in its own right – that title belonged to Kilrenny, which is set back from the coast amidst farmland.

Q. Are there more general histories of the community?

A. Yes-  the following are all written by people with a detailed local knowledge

  • Anstruther – a history  by Stephanie Stevenson (1989);
  • Kilrenny and Cellardyke  by Harry Watson (1989).
  • Pictures from our Archives - the Historic Royal Burgh of Kilrenny and Anstruther ( KABC) (2002)