Being a strategically important centre, St Andrews town has witnessed many centuries of conflict. From religious wars to Scottish Wars of Independence and world wars, St Andrews has seen it all. Discover our stories and influential people that played a massive role in shaping the world today.

After reading the information below, use our conflict quiz to see what you can remember.

General Władysław Sikorski was the Polish prime minister in exile and commander-in-chief of its armed forces during WW2.

Sikorski led the reorganisation of Polish forces after the fall of France and oversaw the construction of costal defences along Scotland’s east coast. He was greatly fond of the town and the University, receiving an honorary degree from the institution and gifting it a collection of rare historic Polish coins. He died in mysterious circumstances after a plane crash off Gibraltar in 1943, and has a stone statue in St Andrews.

Sergeant John Ripley VC was a resident of St Andrews in the early 20th century and was the oldest recipient of the Victoria Cross in World War One.

Ripley was born in Keith, Banffshire. He trained to become a slater and later moved to St Andrews. When in St Andrews, he was a volunteer soldier in the Blach Watch, and in the early stages of WWI was a recruiting Seargent for the regiment. He was later sent to fight in France and won his Victoria Cross on the 9th of May 1915 at the Battle of Aubers Ridge, where he was credited with exceptional bravery and leadership in the face of enemy fire.

Sergeant Ripley in 1915

Lieutenant Józef Stainisław Kosacki was a Polish army officer and inventor of the worlds first landmine detector.

After feeling Poland, and later France, he joined the remnants of the Polish armed forces on the East coast of Scotland. While stationed in St Andrews, he designed, tested, and refined his landmine detector in response to a competition run by the British army for the development of such a device. His innovation was blew away the competition and has saved countless lives since its first use in 1941.

Sir Robert Watson-Watt was a Scottish engineer and the inventor of radar. His work led to the survival of the RAF during the Battle of Britain and to eventual German defeat.

Born in Brechin, Angus, in 1892, Watson-Watt studied for a degree in engineering from University College, Dundee, then part of the University of St Andrews. After graduation, he went to work for the Meteorological Office, and in 1935 began the development of what today we refer to as radar. He successfully demonstrated its effectiveness in detecting aircraft, and soon a network of radar stations dotted the UK coastline. His invention may have been the deciding factor in Britain surviving the German onslaught by air during the Battle of Britain in 1940.