In Print

Newsprint – 1918

1918 January 2 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – SERVICE OF PRAISE. – On Sunday evening, 29th December, a service of praise was held in Trumland Church for the purpose of raising funds to supply comforts for the Rousay soldiers. A choir, under the leadership of Miss Hourston, gave a large programme, consisting of choir pieces, duets, solos, and quartettes. Miss Jeannie Harrold acted as accompanist. The Rev. Mr Webster, probationer, occupied the chair, and, during an interval in the programme, delivered a very suitable address on “Praise.” The collection, which amounted to over £4, was handed over to the Frotoft and Brinian Ladies Committee…..

PRESENTATIONS. – On the occasion of leaving Frotoft School to take up duties in Hundland School, Birsay, Miss Hourston was waited upon by a deputation representing the parents and children in the district and presented with a beautiful silver teapot and silver-mounted Wedgewood jug. Mr Mainland, Westness, member of the School Board, in making the presentation, spoke highly of the excellent work Miss Hourston had done since coming to Frotoft, and expressed keen regret at her leaving, remarking that it would be bad at the present time to fill her place. Miss Hourston suitably and feelingly replied. On the previous day, Miss Hourston was met by the members of the Trumland Church choir, in Rose Cottage, and presented with a beautiful dressing case as a mark of their appreciation for the part she had taken in the work of the choir since coming to Rousay.

1918 January 9 Orkney Herald

FIREMASTER INKSTER HONOURED BY THE KING. – Firemaster William Inkster, who has been awarded the King’s Police Medal, is a native of Orkney [known as ‘Fiery Bill’, of Cogar, Rousay]. He joined the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, London, in 1889, and passed through the various grades, and latterly had charge of the carpenters’ department, and mechanic shop. In 1896 he was appointed to his present position as firemaster of the City of Aberdeen out of a list of 43 applicants, and he supervised the construction and equipment of the present Fire Station. He has assisted personally in saving life at various fires in the city, and on one occasion was nearly asphyxiated. Firemaster Inkster, through his skilful management in the distribution of his men and appliances at large outbreaks, has been instrumental in saving valuable property. By request he has organised fire brigades and private brigades in several institutions and establishments in the north. On the recommendation of the late Sir E. M. Shaw, Firemaster Inkster was selected to carry out the reorganisation of the fire brigades at Balmoral Castle and Abergeldie Castle on the King’s estate. He was president of the Association of Fire Brigade Officers from 1912 to 1913.

SNOWSTORM. – The most severe snowstorm of recent years began on Sunday morning, and continued, with little or no interruption, on Monday. During the forenoon of Sunday the fall was of a sleety nature; but as the afternoon wore on, the wind increased, a severe frost set in, and the sleet was changed into a blizzard, which came down in a blinding sheet that soon obliterated every landmark on the countryside, and heaped itself up in wreaths wherever there was a sheltered place. There was very little cessation of the storm on Monday, and every road leading into the country was blocked. The mail car attempted the journey from Stromness to Kirkwall early in the morning, but when a mile out of the former town it got stuck in a wreath, and further progress was impossible. There was no communication with Kirkwall from any of the outlying parishes on Monday by coach or car. On the sea the conditions of things were no less severe. The mail steamer did not cross the Pentland Firth, nor did the s.s Orcadia attempt the passage from the North Isles. On Sunday the wind blew from the east, but gradually veered to the north-east, from which direction it blew with gale force all day on Monday. To-day (Tuesday) the storm shows no signs of abating, and the drifts are piling themselves up to great depths in the outlying districts. If these conditions continue for any length of time, much suffering must necessarily be entailed on people in the country, far removed from means of renewing their household supplies.

ROUSAY – CONCERT. – A concert held in Wasbister School on Christmas night was largely attended. The collection taken was devoted to comforts for the Rousay soldiers on active service. The Rev. J. Deas Logie, F.I.B.P., parish minister, presided, and gave a short address on “Patriotism,” with special application to the interpretation given by the various nations at war. The programme was varied, entertaining, interesting, and well appreciated by the large audience present.

Under the tuition and guidance of Miss Anna May Cooper, of Wasbister School, a well prepared playlet was splendidly given and interpreted by scholars. The fairy play was “The Fairy Gifts.” The characters were as follows: – Mortals – Peter (a cobbler), Willie Flaws; Jean (his wife), Ethelyn Inkster; Marjorie Daw (daughter), Lillah Inkster; Jack, the Hunchback (son), James Craigie; Simple Simon (son), Hughie Sinclair; Immortals – Fairy Queen, Anna B. Sinclair; Fairies – Bluebell, Maggie J. Grieve; Buttercup, Minnie A. Inkster; Cowslip, Rita Craigie; Elves – Dragonfly, George Craigie; Cockchafer, George Laird; Ladybird, John Marwick. The playlet was in six scenes. The following seniors strengthened the evening’s enjoyment, and added spirit and spice to the pleasure of the evening: – Quartettes, “The Gipsy Queen,” Mrs Moar, Miss E. Craigie, Messrs Kirkness and Inkster; “Alice, Where Art Thou ?” Messrs Kirkness, Clouston, Inkster, and Sinclair; “My Mountain Home,” by all artistes in preceding quartettes; solos were rendered: – “Up from Somerset,” by Hugh Sinclair; “Cam’ ye by Athol ” Mrs Moar; “Wee Hoose ‘mang the Heather,” Mr Clouston; “Keep the Home Fires Burning,” Miss Cooper; duet, “Tell us, oh! tell us,” by Miss E. Craigie and Miss Cooper; trio, fantasia on songs of Burns, Mrs Moar, Miss E. Craigie, and Mr R. Inkster; sketches: – “The Troublesome Servant,” William Craigie and John Clouston; “The Broken Mirror,” Hugh Sinclair, James Marwick, and Miss Cooper; “Laying a Trap,” Misses B. Craigie, Helen Mary Craigie, A. Cooper, Pearson, Clouston, and Mr Hugh Sinclair. These sketches were delightfully entertaining. A reading, “Bobby Banks’ Bother,” was given by Mr Clouston; a recitation, “John Tibbie’s Dispute,” by Miss M. J. Clouston, and violin and piano selections by Mr and Mrs Alex. Craigie completed the evening’s entertainment.

Votes of thanks were accorded all the parties for the enjoyment of songs, stories, music, readings, recitations, and the efforts to please and delight. A pleasant evening was concluded with words of appreciation from the chairman, and the singing by artistes and audience of “Auld Lang Syne.”

1918 January 16 Orkney Herald

RENEWAL OF SNOWSTORM. – Weather of the most Arctic kind has been experienced in Orkney for a week and a-half. The first phase of the snowstorm, which began on Sunday, the 6th inst., continued with varying intensity until the afternoon of Tuesday, the 8th inst. Long before the storm subsided, all roads were hopelessly blocked by wreaths of snow, and Kirkwall was completely cut off from communication with the outlying districts. On Wednesday a slight thaw set in, but little impression was made on the mounds of snow which lay piled up to great heights across the roads. This thaw was of very short duration, and from Wednesday to Saturday the whole country was bound in the iron grip of a most intense frost. While these conditions remained the weather was mild, and the mail steamer resumed her passage across the Pentland Firth, and the local mails were taken by drifter from Stromness to Scapa.

On Saturday, however, the barometer began to fall, and in the evening the second phase of the snowstorm commenced. At first there was little or no wind, and consequently no drift; but early on Sunday morning the wind, which had been easterly, suddenly changed to the north-north-west, and almost immediately attained the force of a gale. From then onwards to daylight a most severe blizzard was experienced. The snow accumulated to great heights, and many people could be observed on Sunday forenoon digging a passage of outlet from their houses. In two of the churches in Kirkwall – the King Street U.F. Church and the Congregational Church – there was no service; while those attending the Cathedral and Paterson Church constituted a record in the smallness of their numbers. In the former, in the forenoon, there were only eight worshippers; while in the latter only twenty-six people braved the discomforts of a journey to church. The second diets of worship in these churches were only a little better attended. The usual two services were held in St Olaf’s Church, but the attendances were very small.

When the storm ceased on Sunday, a period of comparative calm prevailed, which lasted until Monday afternoon. Then a change in the weather again took place. The wind shifted to the south-east, the sky became black with the gathering clouds, and the third phase of the storm – equal, if not exceeding in violence, those which preceded it – broke out. The snow came down in blinding sheets, carried along by the gale, and none ventured out of doors except those on urgent business. A gang of labourers had been at work early in the day clearing a pathway in Kirkwall streets, but their labour was in a short time reduced to nought. For hours the storm continued; and the quantity of snow that now lies on the ground has seldom been equalled in living memory. If this state of matters continues, there will be a period of hardship in store for many people. Already there is a scarcity of milk, butter, potatoes, and butcher meat, as dairymen and farmers cannot get to town with their produce. Today (Tuesday) the wind has again backed to the north, from which direction a gale is blowing. The snow has meantime ceased to fall, but the air is bitterly cold.

1918 January 23 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY PARISH CHURCH. – On the last Sabbath of the Old Year, the Rev. J. Deas Logie, parish minister of Rousay and Egilshay, conducted divine service, after the usual service at noon in the Parish Church, and in the evening in Wasbister School. There was a record attendance. On the first Sunday of the New Year, in the Parish Church, the minister conducted the special service, as requested by the King in all the churches throughout His Majesty’s Dominions. The King’s letter and call to the Empire was read, the congregation upstanding. The form and order of divine service for the humble day of prayer, intercession, and thanksgiving issued by the Committee on Aids to Devotion, in accordance with the instructions of the General Assembly, was used throughout the service. The Rev. J. Deas Logie based his message for the New Year on “The Power of Recollection in Religion.” The membership, finances, and attendances of the parish church have never been so strong and flourishing for many years as they were during the year 1917. Nine of the old folks have had the income from the Fowlis Bequest divided amongst them; each person received a sum of money to buy something for themselves. By this yearly gift the memory of the donor is perpetuated. The elders of the Parish Church undertook the distribution in their district, at this seasonable time, a remembrance much appreciated by the old folks.

1918 February 13 Orkney Herald

MEN BORN IN 1900 CALLED UP. – Proclamations have now been posted up calling upon every Reservist who was born in the year 1900 to report himself for the purpose of joining the Colours on the receipt of a notice from the military authorities.

LIGHT IN EVENING SKY. – The zodiacal light is now strongly displayed in the western sky about two hours after sunset. It consists of a slanting beam of cone-shaped light stretching up from the horizon and faintly suffused among the stars in its outer limits. It will be readily found a little north of the sunset point if the atmosphere is sufficiently clear. This light probably represents a great assemblage of meteoric atoms dimly reflecting the sun’s rays.

1918 February 20 Orkney Herald


In loving memory of Sapper Alfred George Gibson, who died of wounds in 17th Hospital, Boulogne, February 16th, 1916, aged 21.

Mourn not the brave, the bright, the true,
Who have promotion found;
In the strife they fell, but all is well,
With honour they are crowned.

For right and truth they firmly stood,
Nor fell back to the rear;
Self-sacrificed for others’ good,
Now, Christ’s “Well done,” they hear.

How small our offering, and how mean,
Placed by the side of theirs
Who made the sacrifice supreme;
Where, where is room for tears?

Then mourn the fallen not as dead,
Let every tear be dried;
In Christ they rest for ever blest;
Yes, blest and glorified.

Avelshay, Rousay.

1918 February 27 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – CONTRIBUTION TO THE Y.M.C.A. AND COMFORTS FOR ROUSAY S0LDIERS. – The following is a letter received by Miss Baikie, Schoolhouse, Sourin, from Sheriff Mercer in acknowledgment of the receipt of £3, being the proceeds of a concert held in Sourin School on Aug. 29th: – “County Buildings, Kirkwall, 8th Oct. 1917. – Dear Miss Baikie, – I learned on my return to Kirkwall of your remittance, during my absence, of £3, being, the contribution from a concert organised by you to the work of the Y.M.C.A. Will you accept my hearty thanks, on behalf of the Y.M.C.A., for this kind help which you have so willingly given to the invaluable work it is carrying on on behalf of our soldiers and sailors. Too generous an acknowledgement cannot be made of the patriotic service given to this object by the profession in Orkney. – I am, yours sincerely, John S. Mercer.” During the past week, the sum of £6 2s 6d, 14 pairs of socks, and 1 pair of mitts have been collected in Sourin in aid of the Rousay soldiers. In a week or two, a parcel containing comforts will be despatched to each Rousay soldier.



LOGIE – At the Manse of Rousay, on the 10th February, 1918, Frances Glen Mitchell Deas Logie, beloved wife of the Rev. John Deas Logie, minister of the parish of Rousay and Egilshay. – Much loved and deeply regretted. – Her remains were conveyed to Kirkwall, where they lay in St Magnus Cathedral, February 12th and 13th, and were laid to rest in Orquil New Cemetery, Kirkwall, on 13th February 1918. – “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.”

1918 March 6 Orkney Herald

STORMS AND TELEGRAPHIC DISRUPTION IN ORKNEY. – Following a period of settled and spring-like weather, there was a return again last week to severe wintry conditions. On Wednesday a strong westerly gale blew all day, which was accompanied by heavy rain. Early on Thursday morning the wind changed to a northerly direction, and about 3 a.m. a terrific storm, which lasted for several hours, burst forth with startling suddenness. The rain had changed into sleet – a sleet of a consistency that stuck to wherever it fell like a mass of glue. This is the particular substance which telegraph linesmen dread, because it gathers in large masses on the wires, and thus presents a greater body to the wind, with a resultant strain on poles and wires. The storm had not been of long duration when contact was lost in Kirkwall Post Office with other telegraph offices in the county. The extent of the damage was afterwards ascertained to be of an unprecedented nature, with the consequence that the whole telegraph and telephone systems in the county were dislocated. The Kirkwall to Stromness lines suffered heavily. For miles along the road, the poles and wires lay in a tangled and confused mass. The lines stretching to the East Mainland fared as badly; and from the North and South Isles details have come of similar breaks in the lines of wires. In face of such a serious breakdown, the small staff of linesmen at the disposal of the postal authorities were quite inadequate for the work of repair, with the result that Kirkwall was completely isolated, both insularly and with the south, from communication by means either of the telegraph or the telephone. Consequently we were without our usual supply of telegraphic news from Thursday until Monday forenoon.

The wind continued boisterous all day on Thursday, and March came in like the proverbial lion. However, on Friday the weather became more, settled, and a period of calm weather, with bright sunshine, has prevailed ever since.

1918 March 13 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – PRESENTATION. – On Friday evening, 22nd ult., a few friends, nominated by the subscribers, called at Trumland House, and Mr Robert Marwick, Scockness, after making a few kindly remarks, presented Mr [John] Logie with a packet of Treasury notes subscribed by the islanders in grateful appreciation of his kindness in giving the free use of his yacht for carrying purposes during the months of July, August, and September of last year. Mr Logie replied feelingly, voicing the appreciation of the spirit which prompted the very handsome gift. He had given the use of his yacht freely in the circumstances without any thought of reward beyond the little benefit the services might confer. Now he could only thank the subscribers for the very substantial way in which they had seen fit to acknowledge and appreciate what was done; and if no better means of conveyance were available in the incoming summertime they were welcome to the yacht. The deputation was very hospitably entertained by Mr and Mrs Logie, and a very pleasant evening was spent.

[John Logie at this time was estate land steward and caretaker of Trumland House.]

1918 April 10. Orkney Herald

NOT TOO OLD AT FIFTY. – Fit men over military age and up to fifty years of age are urgently wanted for the Army, principally for home service, and special conditions are being offered. Men who are not liable under the Military Service Acts, but enlist voluntarily in the Royal Garrison Artillery or the Army Service Corps (Motor Transport), will be guaranteed service at home, and as near their homes as it is possible to place them. They will not be transferred to any other branch of the service without their written consent. There are vacancies, too, for elder men in the Royal Air Force and the Royal Engineers (Inland Water Transport). These men will be liable for service at home or abroad, but there are very interesting occupations open to them in connection with our latest fighting arm. Any recruiting official will gladly give information to prospective recruits from civil life or to discharged non-commissioned officers and men who, though under no obligation, are prepared to enlist voluntarily in response to the present call.

FALLEN IN ACTION. – Lieut. Robert G. N. Gibson, M.C , Royal Scots (killed), was the eldest son of Mr James Gibson, S.S.C., 21 Tantallon Place, Edinburgh, a descendant of the Gibsons of Langskaill, Rousay. He was 26 years of age. Last year, while serving with an English regiment, Lieut. Gibson was recommended for, and obtained, a captaincy. Shortly afterwards he won the Military Cross under circumstances of great gallantry. He was wounded in the neck about the same time, and was in hospital in England for several weeks. Returning to Edinburgh, he was at home for fully a month. On reporting himself for duty he was attached to his old regiment, and returned to his company rank. He has since been on foreign service. He quite recently completed a special course of infantry training. When the war broke out he was a Territorial, and was studying for the legal profession. His younger brother, Reggie, also a lieutenant in the Royal Scots, was killed at the Dardanelles in June 1915. Both brothers were Watsonians, the elder being one of the original members of the Cadet Corps, and the younger a former captain of the famous school, who was studying at the University of Edinburgh with a view to the Bar when the war broke out. Mr Gibson and his family are well-known in Orkney, and his many friends here have a keen sympathy with them in this their second sacrifice to the world war and civilisation. The two officer sons were students in law cut off in the flush of youth and professional promise.

[The Gibson brothers were the sons of James Gibson and Minnie Brilliant Gray, Dundee. James, born in 1858, was the son of Nicol Gibson, Langskaill, and Janet Marwick Harcus, Lingro. Nicol, born in 1811, was the son of David Gibson, Langskaill, and the second of his four wives, Isabel Mainland, Testaquoy, Wyre].

1918 April 17 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – PARISH CHURCH. – The Rev. John Deas Logie, minister of the parish, conducted the communion services last Sunday, and dispensed the Sacrament to a good attendance of communicants present at the Lord’s table. A number of additional members were added to the Parish Church roll.

EXAMINATION OF SCHOOLS. – The Rev. J. Deas Logie has completed the examination in Bible knowledge and Shorter Catechism of the scholars attending the public schools within the parish, of Sourin, Frotoft, Wasbister, and Veira. Mr Shepherd, of Egilshay, examined the scholars at Egilshay.

1918 May 1. Orkney Herald

CHARLIE CHAPLIN CALLED UP. – Habitués of Kirkwall Electric Theatre will be interested to learn that the famous cinema star, Charlie Chaplin, has been called up, and expects to be mobilised in June. Although a British citizen, he has waived his right to be incorporated in a British regiment, and expects to fight in France under the Stars and Stripes.

1918 May 15 Orkney Herald


Firemaster William Inkster, an Orkney man, who had his training in the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, and has held, with conspicuous success, the post of Firemaster of Aberdeen Fire Brigade for 22 years, was on Wednesday presented with the King’s Police Medal. The interesting ceremony took place at the meeting of the Town Council, and was carried out by Lord Provost [James] Taggart, as Lord Lieutenant of the County of the City. The proceedings had a picturesque note. The firemaster and six firemen – all the members of the party were in full uniform – proceeded to the Townhouse on one of the Brigade’s engines, and Boy Scouts furnished a guard of honour. The Lord Provost was in his Lord-Lieutenant’s uniform. The audience included the Firemaster’s daughter, Miss Inkster, in the khaki of an officer in the signals department of the Queen Mary’s W.A.A.C. in France; ex-Bailie Todd, and others.

LORD PROVOST’S TRIBUTE. – The Lord Provost said, as Lord-Lieutenant of the County of the City, he had been desired by the Secretary for Scotland to take part in a very interesting ceremony, and, on behalf of His Majesty, to present the King’s Police Medal to Mr William Inkster, Firemaster of the City Fire Brigade. (Applause.) The medal, which was awarded under a Royal Warrant, dated 7th July 1909, was given to members of police forces and fire brigades who had been recommended for special recognition in connection with their services. Mr Inkster joined the Metropolitan Fire Brigade in 1889, and after passing through various grades, was placed in charge of one of the departments. In 1896, he was selected out of a large number of candidates, and appointed to his present position as Firemaster of the City Brigade – at a time when the Council were contemplating the erection of a new fire station. He was largely responsible for the arrangements in connection with the new station, which, when completed, was considered to be one of the most up-to-date establishments of its kind in the kingdom. When the new premises were completed, Mr Inkster organised the permanent staff of firemen, and the department had since been maintained in a high state of efficiency. (Applause.) He had shown great skill in the management, and extinguishing of fires, by which much valuable property had been saved, and in the course of carrying out his duty Mr Inkster had personally assisted in saving life at various fires throughout the city. Mr Inkster was recommended by the late Captain Shaw, of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, in connection with the organisation of the fire brigade at Balmoral Castle and at Abergeldie, and carried out the arrangements for this purpose with marked ability and success. He had also organised a number of private fire brigades in connection with industrial and other establishments within the City and County. The award of the medal, which he was now about to present, had been fully merited by the energy and capacity which Mr Inkster had shown in the discharge of his duties since he was appointed firemaster of the city. (Applause.) Mr Inkster’s professional service in connection with brigade work extended for a period of 29 years, of which 22 years had been given to the City of Aberdeen, and he thought the Council and community would hear him out in saying that they had been fortunate in securing and retaining the services of a firemaster of Mr Inkster’s abilities. (Applause.)

The Lord Provost then pinned the medal on Mr Inkster’s tunic, and concluded – Mr Inkster, I have very great pleasure in presenting you with the medal which His Majesty has awarded to you, and in offering you my most cordial wishes for your continued happiness and success. (Applause.)

There was hearty applause as the firemaster left the Council Chamber with the detachment of the Brigade.

[The Lieutenancy Area of Aberdeen City was formerly known as the County of the City of Aberdeen – not to be confused with the County of Aberdeen, which is now known as Aberdeenshire.]

1918 May 22 Orkney Herald

GOOSEBERRY PICKING STOPPED. – The Food Controller has issued an Order prohibiting the picking of gooseberries for sale and the sale of any gooseberries. The restriction remains in force in Scotland until June 10th.

CURRANTS AND RAISINS EXPECTED. – Housewives who have lately had to be content with currantless cakes and puddings will be glad to hear that there will probably soon be a distribution of raisins, currants, and sultanas when the Ministry of Food has collected sufficient stocks. A fair quantity of Greek currants will also be released shortly for public consumption. A considerable stock of currants bought last January in Greece has not come over yet, simply through the lack of shipping, and difficulties and risks are too great to make it worth bringing them overland.

SCARCITY OF GRASS FOR FODDER – APPEAL TO HOUSEHOLDERS. – In view of the scarcity of fodder for horses and cattle at the present time, it is essential that no available source of supply, however small, should be overlooked, and all householders who have grass lawns on their premises can help in the matter. The Board of Agriculture for Scotland suggest that those who have lawns of considerable extent should refrain from mowing them regularly, and should let the grass grow till it can be utilised as hay. In establishments where the lawns are too small to make the foregoing suggestion practicable the householders might make arrangements, where possible, for the grass as mown to be utilised by local horse owners and dairy-keepers.

1918 May 29 Orkney Herald

EMPIRE DAY. –  Friday was observed as a general holiday in Kirkwall, to commemorate the anniversary of the birth of Her late Majesty Queen Victoria. The weather was all that could be desired for holiday-making, and there was a great exodus of people to the country. Special sea trips were run by the s.s. Orcadia to Rousay and the s.s. Iona to Shapinsay, which were well patronised; while every available vehicle was engaged by private parties for excursions into various parts of the Mainland. During the day the town presented a very deserted appearance.

1918 June 19 Orkney Herald

ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE – FURTHER LOCAL AWARDS. – Included in the list of the King’s Birthday appointments to the Order of the British Empire are a number of Orcadians and others resident in the county who have distinguished themselves in work for the Empire. The following have been made Officers of the Order…..

Mr Duncan J. Robertson, County Clerk of Orkney. In his official capacity, Mr Robertson has had much of the spade work to do in bringing into operation the various war schemes of the Government. He is Clerk of the War Pensions Committee, Secretary of the District Agricultural Executive Committee, Clerk and Executive Officer of the Local Food Control Committee, and Clerk of the Local Tribunal of Orkney…..

Miss Veira Spark, Q.A.R.N.N.S., daughter of the Rev. Alex. Spark, formerly minister of the parish of Rousay and Egilshay, has been awarded the Royal Red Cross, 2nd class. Miss Spark qualified at London, and has held appointments in the R.N. hospitals at Plymouth, Malta, and Deal. She has been promoted to the new R.N. hospital at Larbert.

[Q.A.R.N.N.S.: – Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service]

1918 June 26 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – HOMECOMING OF A VETERAN SOLDIER. – Amongst the soldiers who came on leave last Wednesday was Sergt. Charles Corsie, S.A.N.L.C. [South African Native Labour Corps], a native of Rousay. He has been nearly 20 years in South Africa, during which time he has seen much service both in the Boer War and with the Mounted Police. Since then he has been on several hunting expeditions through Basutoland. Later, he was employed as inspector of roads by the municipality of Johannesburg, where he had settled down. On the outbreak of hostilities he again volunteered and served with the Forces in East Africa until 1917, when he went to France with his regiment. After about a year’s service in various parts of France, he got a few days’ leave and came home to spend them with his friends in Orkney. Sergt. Corsie, who is a son of the late Mr William Corsie and of Mrs Corsie, Albert Street, Kirkwall, appears to enjoy the soldier’s life, and his views of the war are very optimistic. He left on Friday morning to return to France.

[Charles, born on October 11th 1868, was the fifth youngest of the 13 children born to William Corsie, Nears, later Brendale, and Ann Smeaton Leonard, Digro]

1918 July 17 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – DEATH OF PRIVATE JOHN INKSTER. – Much sympathy has been expressed with Mr and Mrs John [and Jane] Inkster, Essaquoy, Rousay, in the death of their eldest son [18-year-old John Angus Munro Inkster], which took place at Loanhead Hospital on July 1st. He only left the island on June 13th, for the purpose of joining the 4th Seaforths at Inverness. From the latter place he was sent to Glencorse, where he became suddenly unwell. On Saturday, June 29th, he was admitted into Loanhead Hospital; but he never rallied, and on the following Monday his parents received the sad news that he had died that afternoon. Deceased was a very quiet, inoffensive young man, and was loved by all who knew him. The body was sent home for interment in Rousay. The funeral took place on Friday, 5th July, from Trumland Pier to Scockness churchyard, and was attended by a large number of islanders.

1918 July 24 Orkney Herald

IN MEMORIAM. – In loving memory of our dear son, George Inkster, P.P.C.L.I., killed in action on July 18th 1916.

Two long years have come and gone
Since our dear loved one was called home;
But he is always in our mind,
For in our hearts he was enshrined.

He was the last of three dear sons
Whom God was pleased to take;
And ofttimes, when we think of them,
Our hearts feel like to break.

They all three lie in foreign lands,
Whose graves we will never see;
But they were very dear to us,
And will remembered be.

And when we feel cast down,
We seem to hear them say,
“Keep up your hearts, our parents dear,
We will meet again some day.”

Knapper, Sourin, Rousay.

1918 September 25 Orkney Herald

Letters to the Editor


SIR, – We, North Isles merchants, have recently had a visit of two representatives from the Food Committee. They have scrutinised our books to see if therein could be found an extra penny of charge on any of the controlled goods. Now as these goods have to be brought from Kirkwall per s.s. Orcadia, and as our freight bills are mounting up weekly – in fact, about four times the amount charged in pre-war times, some of us having a monthly bill of from £8 to £9 to pay, which means about £100 per annum – we therefore wonder if we have to sell such goods on a par with our town’s merchants, who have no such bill to meet. If so, it simply means that in less than six months’ time we shall have to appear before our sheriff as bankrupts. It seems a choice between two evils, and we wish to know which is the greater. – I am, &c., NORTH ISLES MERCHANT.



SIR, – Last week we were favoured by the visit of an inspector. At first this officer was regarded as a preposterous, prying impostor, who should be sent about his business double-quick time. But, alas! we live in a world of changes. Now he is received with open arms by the average housewife, welcomed as a friend. He is shown into the “ben end,” and quite a homely chat springs up, in which local prices, profiteers, &c., figure conspicuously. Result – Mr Inspector leaves with some very valuable information. Gossip has it that some essential foods are 6d per lb. above controlled prices in this island. It does seem a pity that in these times we should need officials to protect the dependents of our fighting men against this cancer ever in our midst. It is high time our magisterial bench took a more serious view of such cases. What is a paltry fine? as a correspondent in your contemporary said. It is poor consolation to the robbed to see his hard-earned cash paid over to clear the robber. What is needed is imprisonment without the option of a fine. In the case of second offenders, Food Committees should take action, and stroke all such off their list of registered retailers. – Yours, &c., HILL 60.

1918 October 16 Orkney Herald

CALL FROM ROUSAY U.F. CHURCH TO REV. D. S. BROWN, BURRAY. – At a meeting of the United Free Church Presbytery of Orkney, held at Rousay last Wednesday, a call from the congregation of Rousay U. F. Church to Rev. D. S. Brown, Burray, was considered. The Presbytery unanimously resolved to sustain the call.

MILITARY MEDAL AWARDED TO A ROUSAY SOLDIER. – We observe, from a list of awards of the Military Medal published in the London Gazette, that this decoration has been conferred upon Gunner Alexander James Munro, R.F.A., Rousay.

1918 October 30 Orkney Herald


Events have gone forward with great rapidity during the past week. Mr [U.S. President Thomas Woodrow] Wilson on Thursday issued his “last word” to Germany, which was equivalent to unconditional surrender; on Sunday the German Government replied, asking for the terms on which an armistice will be granted. There the matter rests and the whole world is waiting in tense anxiety for the next development, which will settle the question of peace now or war to the end. The time for slippery German diplomacy has passed. We are the victors, and only the spoils of the victor will satisfy us…..

1918 November 6 Orkney Herald

DEATHS: – GRIEVE – Previously reported wounded prisoner of war, 20th-23rd November 1917, now officially reported killed on that date, No. 12611, Pte. John David Grieve, 4th Seaforth Highlanders, aged 28 years, second beloved son of Mr [William] and Mrs [Christina] Grieve, Falldown, Rousay. – Sadly missed and deeply mourned.

“He died that we might live.”

1918 November 13 Orkney Herald



The Prime Minister [David Lloyd George] made the following announcement on Monday: – The armistice was signed at five o’clock this morning, and hostilities are to cease on all fronts at eleven a.m. to-day.

The following wireless news was transmitted through the wireless stations of the French Government on Monday:- Marshal Foch to Commander-in-Chief. – Hostilities will cease on the whole front as from November 11th at eleven o’clock, French time. Allied troops will not, until further orders, go beyond the line reached on that date and at that hour. – (Signed) Marshal Foch.



GREAT REJOICINGS. – The first intimation that an armistice was signed was made known in Kirkwall about 9.30 on Monday morning by the blowing of sirens on naval vessels in the harbour. The news had apparently come through at that early hour by a wireless message to the naval authorities, for it was some hours later before any Press message was received. Once the glad news was known, Kirkwall streets became a scene of great animation. Mingled with the ships’ siren notes were the joyous peals from the bells of St Magnus, and on all hands could be witnessed the people’s gladness that at last the end had come to the long period of bloodshed. Numbers of people must have had their flags ready at hand for such an occasion, for in a very short time flags and streamers were flying all over the town, from public as well as private buildings. At mid-day the town-crier proclaimed, by authority of the Town Council, a half-holiday in the burgh; and in the afternoon all places of business were closed.

1918 November 20 Orkney Herald

The Great War is now over and Prussianism is dead. The harvest of death is reaped, and the fields of life are shorn and bare. As we write, the wonder of the miracle overwhelms us. We are almost too happy to rejoice; and to-day we face the reaction of these latter years of pain and bloodshed with full hearts. We have now stepped into that new world of which hitherto we have but dreamt. But the barns of heaven are full to overflowing with the golden youth of the world, and War, the reaper, stands with ruddy sickle, his dark work finished. His crop is gathered in, and the shorn fields shiver beneath the rays of the wintry sun. Yet the picture is not all shadows. If War has not yet departed, we turn to welcome Peace, who has come into her own again. Even now she, with Love and Hope, is sowing the precious seeds which shall ultimately blossom out into a far richer harvest in the days that are yet to be. We have set a real Peace upon a real throne. We have – stupendous thought – knocked the irons off the enslaved millions of Germany, and we may now look forward to a world reconstruction beyond our wildest dreams.

But it is as yet too soon to think of the great task which lies before us. We cannot forget the fallen brave. As the flags fly and the drums beat, we think of the vacant chairs, miss the well-known and loved faces, and listen in vain for the voices of our great dead. For it is they who, under the providence of God, have made this wonderful day possible. By land, sea, and air they have held our land inviolate against a cruel and bloody enemy, and in doing so have made the supreme sacrifice. Their courage, endurance, patience in suffering, and sacrifices were beyond words. The magnitude of their success has over-whelmed us. It is fitting, therefore, that we remember them to-day as we thank that great host of heroes still with us, who with them stood between us and oppression diabolical in its purpose and conception. We cannot think of these brave young lives laid down on the altar as lives wasted, and we love to cherish the hope that they have greater work to accomplish in the realm into which they have now passed.

It is fitting to-day that we write for ever upon our hearts the deeds of our unchallenged Navy and our Mercantile Marine, as well as our “Contemptible Army,” and that young arm of both services, our magnificent Royal Air Force. They have proved to the world what we already knew – that the day of heroes is not yet past, and have shown that the spirit which animated our forefathers in the great struggle for freedom still burns brightly in the bosom of their children. All through these fateful years the Navy, silent and heedless of praise or blame, has eaten like a consuming cancer into the body of Germany, and has made it possible for our glorious Army to bring a just retribution upon our foes. Between them they have cut down the God of War, so that now, in the day of our triumph, we can, through our smiles, tears, and prayers, cry to him as he lies prostrate, with his discomfited and disillusioned servitors around him –

“Dark Reaper, get thee gone!
Close thou the door:
See o’er its portals now
A Heavenly Hand doth write
The fateful letters: – Nevermore!”

The world is free. The long night of oppression is past, and Liberty has ascended her throne. Under her rule we shall, please God, move forward to that high destiny which awaits us. We have still titanic tasks before us – tasks great enough to cause our hearts to quail – but this day is the day of our rejoicing, and we can look forward in confidence, for °God is in his heaven, and all is well.” Certainly in these latter days He hath set His sign and seal upon Liberty. Let us ring the joy-bells with full and gladsome hearts, for the Prince of Peace hath come into his own, and the God of Love is supreme. Henceforth Right and not Might shall rule a sane and re-born world.


THE INFLUENZA EPIDEMIC. – The schools still remain closed in Kirkwall, and the influenza epidemic shows little signs of abating. In many homes three or four of the family are suffering from attacks, and a number of deaths are reported. The town and parish was last week in the unfortunate position of being without an available doctor, the whole medical staff being incapacitated by illness from visiting their patients. Steps are, we believe, being taken by the authorities to get additional medical aid in view of the abnormal amount of sickness now prevalent in Kirkwall and its vicinity.

1918 November 27 Orkney Herald



Part of the 70 German warships which have surrendered left the Firth of Forth on Friday afternoon for Scapa Flow, and have arrived there. The vessels are, the Press Association understands, to be sent north in four batches. Perhaps never before has there been so mighty a concentration of ships of war as will be occasioned by this operation. Scapa Flow is quite capable of accommodating even this enormous combination of fleets. It was here that the British Grand Fleet was first concentrated at the outbreak of war in August 1914, and it is fitting that the last act in the world-drama should be enacted here. As soon as the ships reach Scapa, the German crews, who now man them, will be sent back to their own country, and the ships placed under the surveillance of the Allies.

THE INFLUENZA EPIDEMIC. – The influenza epidemic in Kirkwall and vicinity, though still serious, shows some signs of abatement. Since the outbreak there have been a large number of deaths caused directly or indirectly through this malady. In a number of homes there have been double bereavements; and in one case even three of a family – a father and two sons – have died from the effects of pneumonia following upon an attack of influenza. Kirkwall and Scapa schools are still closed, and will remain so until Monday, 2nd Dec.

1918 December 4 Orkney Herald

SCAPA FLOW. – Probably no place in the British Isles has been before the public eye more in the last few days than Scapa or Scalpa Flow, in the Orkneys, where our Grand Fleet has found a safe and splendid anchorage for the past four years. Yet the geographical knowledge of some of our southern, and especially English, contemporaries concerning this now famous harbour is still rather hazy. But the Flow must have been known to ship-masters for ages (says the Manchester Guardian). Harald Haarfager, the Scandinavian Jarl who subdued the Orkneys in A.D. 875, must have used it, being a mighty seaman. In 1468 the islands were pledged to Scotland. The great harbour is frequently mentioned by Scott in “The Pirate,” where it is called Scalpa Flow, and from what is written there we infer that seamen used it for some hundreds of years before that. Orcadians have become so accustomed to the sound of the running waters that a story is told of a certain party on a visit to Edinburgh who left the bathroom tap running all night to have in their ears the best substitute for their beloved Scapa!




The last of the surrendered German vessels left the Forth last Tuesday for Scapa Flow. At noon the battleships Kaiser, Grosser Kurfurst, Kron-prinz, and Kaiserin, weighed their anchors. They were escorted by the British battleships Revenge, Resolution, Royal Sovereign, and Royal Oak. Following the heavier vessels were the four remaining German light cruisers, including the Koln and the Brummer, also escorted by the corresponding vessels of the British Fleet. A number of the German destroyers, as has already been intimated, left on Friday and Saturday. The battle-cruisers followed on Sunday, accompanied by the British First Battle Cruiser Squadron. The same afternoon a further detachment of destroyers proceeded north. On Monday about midday a number of the German battleships weighed anchor, and were accompanied north by the Second Division of the First Battle Cruiser Squadron. On Monday afternoon at 4 o’clock several German light cruisers left the Forth, accompanied by the Second Light Cruiser Squadron. The weather on Tuesday, although dull and wet, was fairly clear on the sea, and the departing vessels, whose departure was witnessed only by a few persons apart from the Fleet, diminished to a small size in the distance before they became invisible.

All the German ships of the line, destroyers, and light cruisers, surrendered to us for interment, are reported at the Admiralty to have taken their places in Scapa Flow. About 25 Germans remain on each vessel as a maintenance party. The rest of the crews await the German transport to take them back to Germany. No transport has arrived as yet. The presumption is that the Germans do not have a merchantman fit to cross the North Sea. Experts who have examined the ships of the line comment upon the multitudinous bulkheads below the water-line, which make them, as we found at Jutland, practically unsinkable. No surprises in guns or instruments are yet known to have been detected. The Germans have left their admittedly wonderful and mysterious fire-direction apparatus behind when they sailed.

1918 December 25 Orkney Herald

THE WEATHER. – The mild, open weather which has been the rule ever since Armistice Day, has now come to an end, and severe, wintry conditions have set in. To-day (Tuesday) a heavy gale of wind is blowing from the west, accompanied with frequent showers of sleet, and the roads and streets are in a very sloppy state. Christmas Eve will not be an ideal one from the point of view of those who have their shopping to do, more particularly for those who have to come from long distances to town.