Not everyone welcomed the arrival of the 52nd Lowland Division in Lincolnshire in July 1944. In an otherwise completely bare office assigned to the division’s administrative staff, a single playing card was found. It was the Nine of Diamonds – popularly known as the Curse of Scotland. Not a nice card to find in an otherwise empty office during a war. 
No-one knows how the card got the label but the superstition dates back, at least, to the early 1700s. Among the theories as to how the card got its sinister reputation are: - the card’s resemblance to coat of arms belong to the Earl of Stair, who ordered the 1692 Massacre of Glencoe; the importance of the card in a game called Pope Joan which was supposedly introduced to predominately Protestant by the Catholic Mary Queen of Scots;  the card was originally called the Cross of Scotland due to its resemblance to a saltire and someone misheard the name; or that the Duke of Cumberland scribbled the order to kill wounded Jacobites at Culloden on a Nine of Diamonds. As the first written mention of the card as the Curse of Scotland was made in 1710, long before Culloden, the last theory listed, though popular, cannot be correct. 
The Division contained a number of Norwegian officers who had been attached to it when it was being trained as a Mountain Warfare Unit. The 52nd also had almost 20 Canadian officers who were among the hundreds attached to British units as part of the Canloan scheme. The 15th Scottish Division had almost 120 Canadian officers loaned to it under the scheme and the 51st Highland Division had around 75. 

Next Week - Window Pains