In Print

Newsprint – 1940

1940 January 3 Orkney Herald

CALL-UP OF 2,000,000 MEN. – An “omnibus” proclamation signed by the King late on Monday night warned nearly 2,000,000 men from the age of 19 to 27 to be ready for a call to the colours during 1940. By the end of the year Britain will have 3,400,000 men in the armed forces or registered for service, in addition to Dominion contingents.

ROUSAY – NATIONAL BIBLE SOCIETY – ORKNEY AUXILARY. – The hon. treasurer, Mr W. J. Heddle, solicitor, Kirkwall, begs to acknowledge the sum of £3 11s 9d, being the amount collected in the island of Rousay on behalf of the above society for the current year, and to thank Mr James S. Gibson, Hullion, and the following collectors, viz., Messrs Ernest Mainland, Hugh Lyon, Gordon Taylor, Arnold Grieve, James Pirie, and Misses Irene Hourie, Evelyn Clouston and May Turner for their kind services.

1940 January 31 Orkney Herald



Only now can the story be told of the severe weather which Great Britain suffered in the earlier part of this month. Nothing could be said at the time owing to the ban on weather reports. Snowstorms, described as the worst in living memory, swept the country causing widespread dislocation of transport by road and rail.

Orkney suffered with the rest of the country. The snowstorms in this county are described as the worst for at least twenty years. Snow lay thickly for over a week, and youngsters throughout the county enjoyed an orgy of sledging, skating and other winter pursuits.

For the first time in the memory of the younger generation, Kirkwall’s Peerie Sea was frozen completely over. Youngsters were seen playing on the ice out in the centre, and one Kirkwall gentleman pushed a pram, with his baby son aboard, from one end to the other.

Intense cold accompanied the snow, but no fatalities were reported as a result of the severe conditions. Transport, too, was not too seriously affected, and there was comparatively little interruption of the mail services either by sea or air.

EVIE – THE FARM. – Work on the land was brought to a standstill during the recent severe weather, but as ploughing is far advanced here, the suspension of operations was not regarded as a serious disadvantage. Snow is not accepted pleasantly by the farmer, entailing, as it does, a lot of extra trouble in the prosecution of routine, but it may be looked upon as a blessing in disguise, its effects on the soil being beneficial for the future crop. In the recent hard spell, the farm staff were kept occupied round the farmstead attending to all live stock, whose needs were great, and it was no easy task dealing with frozen turnips, frozen water, frozen everything in the process of feeding the brutes. The ploughing match, which was to have taken place last week, has been cancelled.

“SPOOTS”. – The first “spoot” ebb of the year occurred with the full moon of this month, January, last Thursday being the day most favourable to a good catch. Usually at such time the Evie sands are dotted with fishers in quest of this favourite mollusc, but on this occasion the weather was so Arctic that – even though fish of any kind is rarely seen now in the country – only one brave man ventured forth to try his luck. Digging energetically, he was rewarded in a large bucketful of lovely fish. A general distribution of the catch was made in the neighbourhood, and many “spoot” lovers shared with the fisher in a toothsome feast. From kitchen firesides issued the appetising odour of “spoots” roasted in their shells, the aroma rivalling that of “burnt pig.”

1940 March 20 Orkney Herald



Nazi bombs rained down on Orkney on Saturday evening in the biggest scale air raid launched against Great Britain since the war began.

Fourteen enemy bombers took part in the raid, which was made as dusk was falling. Fleet units in Scapa Flow were attacked and also land objectives. One warship was struck by a bomb and received minor damage, according to an Admiralty announcement. There were seven casualties among the crew. No military objectives on land were hit, despite the hundreds of bombs dropped.

The most serious aspect of the raid was the fact that there were a number of civilian casualties, the first in air-raids in either the Allied countries or Germany.

When a salvo of high explosive bombs was dropped around cottages at the Bridge of Waithe, Stenness, one man was killed [27-year-old James William Isbister] and five other people, including two women, one of whom is 64 years of age, were injured in varying degrees of seriousness. Their homes were badly damaged.

Two Servicemen were injured as the result of bombing on the outskirts of Kirkwall.

Damage to property was considerable. Apart from the devastation wrought at the Bridge of Waithe cottages, there was damage at Holm, the mansion of Graemeshall having numerous windows broken and cottages in the vicinity also suffering. In St Ola, Craigiefield House had many windows wrecked. Haystacks and a shed in Stenness were set on fire by incendiary bombs, hundreds of which were dropped over a wide area.

The raiding bombers were given a terrific reception by anti-aircraft guns from warships and shore batteries and by fighter planes. One raider, the Admiralty announced, was shot down and others were damaged. A German bomber which crashed in Denmark was yesterday stated to have been one of the machines which took part in the Scapa Flow raid.

Germany claimed that four warships were hit by bombs and that three aerodromes, as well as gun-positions, were successfully attacked. The only comment which needs to be made on this is that the Nazi raiders have impressed Orcadians more by their vivid imaginations than by their bombing skill…..

1940 March 27 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – NURSING ASSOCIATION. – Rev. R. R. Davidson, president, presided at the annual general meeting of the Rousay, Egilshay and Wyre District Nursing Association. The minutes of the previous general meeting were read and approved. This was followed by the financial statement for the year ended 31st December, 1939. The secretary then gave a report on the nurse’s work for the year, which was considered very satisfactory. At the end of this report it was stated that Nurse Shaw had resigned from her post as district nurse on 18th December, 1939, and that her place was now filled by Nurse Ferrier. The Secretary was instructed to record the following appreciation of Nurse Shaw’s work in the minutes, and to forward an excerpt to Nurse Shaw: – “The Rousay, Egilshay and Wyre District Nursing Association desires to express its appreciation of the services rendered to the district by Nurse Shaw, who was the first nurse to be appointed after the formation of the Association. Fully qualified for her work as a nurse, the district remembers her for her close attention to duty, her deep interest in the welfare of the sick and aged people whom she cared for, and her willingness to help those in trouble.” It was agreed that the office-bearers for 1939 should be re-elected for 1940. Two members of the Executive Committee, Mrs Corsie, Glebe, and Miss Mainland, Westness, had resigned, and the new members appointed were Mrs T. Inkster, Woo, and Mrs J. Grieve, Westness. The Secretary dated that the collectors would get their collecting books as soon as the membership leaflets for 1940 had been printed. There followed discussions arising out of the Association’s business matters.

1940 April 17 Orkney Herald


Twelve German bombers were shot down and at least five were badly damaged in two raids made on Scapa Flow last Monday and Wednesday. Fighter planes and anti-aircraft batteries shared the honours for this achievement…..

In the Wednesday raid no fewer than seven bombers were brought down, and two were thought to be seriously damaged. Sixty planes, it has been stated by Mr Churchill, took part in the raid.

From the enemy point of view the raids were complete failures. Neither warships nor land objectives were hit. Slight damage to South Isles farmhouses was reported…..The terrific fire put up by the Scapa Flow batteries, however, forced the raiders to a height at which accurate bombing was impossible…..

The action in this raid covered practically the whole of the county of Orkney. In the South Isles, particularly in Flotta, Longhope and South Ronaldshay, islanders had a ‘ringside’ view from safe points of vantage of the tremendous duel between the anti-aircraft batteries of Scapa Flow, the strongest A.A. defences in the world, and the raiding bombers. In the mainland and the North Isles British fighters were seen in combat with single units of the enemy. Stronsay dwellers claim to have seen two bombers brought down in these engagements. One German plane is reported to have come down in the sea off Rousay, one of its crew escaping by parachute…..

1940 April 24 Orkney Herald


Owing to my Assistants having been called up for National Service, and being unable to replace them by others, I regret that I have no alternative but to CLOSE my MEN’S DEPARTMENT to the General Public until further Notice. I shall, as and after Monday, 22nd April, undertake to do Men’s Hairdressing by Appointment only. I hope, in this way, to be able to meet the requirements of my Clients during this difficult period.

To Avoid Disappointment, Please Book in Advance.
Call, or ‘Phone Kirkwall 98.
George Swanson, 63 Albert Street, Kirkwall.




Orkney education has sustained a heavy loss by the death on Saturday morning of Mr George William Reid at his home, 14 Ayre Road, Kirkwall. For only two years less than half a century he had been a valuable part of the Orkney educational machine, first as one of the most efficient teachers Kirkwall has ever had, and latterly as an employee of the Education Authority of the County.

The late Mr Reid was a native of the island of Rousay, and received his early education at Sourin School. While a pupil there, he was the first holder of the Orkney & Zetland Associations school bursary, in 1878. After receiving his secondary education at Kirkwall Burgh School, he attended Edinburgh University, where he took his degree of M.A. He also took a course in divinity. Receiving an appointment in Kirkwall Burgh School, he taught there, under the late Dr McEwan, from 1892 until 1912, when increasing deafness compelled him to retire. He was retained, however, by the School Board, and subsequently the Education Authority, to look after the registration and clerical work in the school. This work he continued until the time of his death. After he ceased his duties as a class teacher, he continued to give instruction in Bible knowledge to candidates preparing for the Highland and Islands bursary examinations.

Of the late Mr Reid an old colleague said: “He was one of the most competent and conscientious teachers who ever taught in Orkney, as can be attested by innumerable former scholars. His natural talents were supported by his many fine qualities as a man. His loyalty and faithfulness were unquestioned. He was, in fact, as near the ideal type of teacher as it would be possible to find.”

The late Mr Reid was a man of wide interests. Everything connected with education interested him, and he was invariably well abreast of all new developments. It was his custom every year to “sit,” for his own interest, the various papers in the Leaving Certificate exams. One of his favourite pursuits was research into old court records, and the piecing together of old manuscripts. He was very skilful with his hands, and his handwriting and printing were used as models of neatness. Astronomy was one of his great interests, and in the study of this he frequently corresponded with men whose names are famous in astronomical science.

With his colleagues Mr Reid was always highly popular and respected, by reason of his pleasant personality as well as the skill and efficiency with which he carried out his work. His death leaves a gap which will be difficult to fill.

The late Mr Reid was predeceased by his wife, Margaret Yorston, some years ago. He had no family. The community’s sympathy is extended to surviving relatives.

[George William Reid was born at Wasdale in 1864, the son of William Reid and Catherine Baikie. His great-grandfather was Rousay’s famous centenarian George Reid. Teacher George’s wife Margaret was the daughter of Capt. James Yorston and Margaret Inkster, Saviskaill.]



People wishing any information regarding the Farm of NEWHOUSE, Rousay,
are requested to communicate with the proprietor, HUGH SINCLAIR, 4435
Ravenswood Avenue, Chicago, who desires the boundaries, grazings, etc.,
of the farm to be respected.

[Hugh, born in December 1882, was the son of James Hugh Sinclair, News, and Margaret McKinlay, Sound, Egilsay]

1940 May 1 Orkney Herald

EGILSHAY – SERVICE TO THE MEMORY OF ST MAGNUS. – At the end of the forenoon service held in Egilshay Church on Sunday, April 21, the congregation proceeded to the monument which was erected two years ago to the memory of St Magnus, and near to the spot where he died and laid down his life for the highest cause. The gift of a wreath of lilies, which was sent by Miss Baikie, Tankerness Hall, was laid at the base of the cairn by Miss Alexander, Kirbust, the grand-daughter of the late Mr Hugh Robertson, who laid the wreath last year. There was a good attendance, and most of the farms were well represented. The elders and managers were present. The service was opened by singing a part of Psalm 100, conducted by Mr James Seator, Howe. The scriptural lessons were taken from the Book of Ecclesiasticus and the Revelations. Prayer and thanksgiving was made by Mr D. Turner, missionary-in-charge, and after paying a short tribute to the memory of the martyr, he asked Miss Alexander to lay the wreath, which was afterwards staked firmly by Mr E. Alexander and Mr John Craigie. The service was then closed with the benediction. To Miss Baikie we return our sincere thanks, writes our correspondent, for keeping the service in memory, and for the wreath, which was much appreciated by the congregation. The service was held under a bright sunshine, although a cold easterly wind was blowing.

1940 May 22 Orkney Herald



The Secretary of State for War’s appeal for local volunteer troops to deal with possible invasion of this country by German parachutists has aroused an enthusiastic response in Orkney. Up to this (Tuesday) morning in the region of 230 volunteers had been enrolled, and there is no appearance of any check in the rate of recruiting, which the “Orkney Herald” was informed at Kirkwall Police Station is increasing rather than otherwise.

Kirkwall’s first recruits were forthcoming last Tuesday night almost before the Secretary of State for War had concluded his broadcast appeal. Names were handed in by telephone. During Wednesday some 40 other recruits were forthcoming at Kirkwall.

The men who have volunteered for the Defence Corps in Orkney are of ages ranging from seventeen to over sixty. There are several youngsters of schoolboy age, and ex-Servicemen of the 1914-18 combat are largely represented. Members of Orkney rifle clubs, as might be expected, have made a whole-hearted response to the appeal.

A considerable number of the Orkney volunteers have already been equipped with rifles and ammunition. Uniforms are also to be provided. The Volunteer Force will be unpaid, and the period of service will be for the duration of the war.

Many would-be volunteers who are already in organisations are wondering whether they can take part in both these important branches of home defence. The position in Orkney is that they may volunteer and adjustments may be made later.

The need for these volunteers, the War office state, is greatest in small towns, villages, and less densely populated areas.

Mr Eden, the War Minister, in his broadcast last week, said that volunteers would not be required to leave their work or live away from home. It would be a spare time job.

The purpose of parachute raids, he explained, was to seize such important points as aerodromes, power stations, railway junctions, and telephone exchanges, and to hold them by treating disorganisation and confusion until reinforcements arrived. The success of such an attack depended on speed, and consequently the measures to defeat it must be prompt and rapid. It was upon this basis that the plans for the Local Defence Volunteers had been laid.

Chief Constable Campbell has made the following announcement regarding joining the volunteer corps: –

“Men wishing to join the Orkney Local Defence Volunteers might please report to the Police Stations in Kirkwall, Stromness and elsewhere in the county.

“Men resident in islands where there is no policeman, should write to me at Kirkwall, stating these particulars: – Full name, address, age, occupation; what knowledge of firearms and what type; what military service, if any, and in what unit; whether willing to serve elsewhere than in the immediate vicinity of home.

“Members of the A.R.P. Service may volunteer, and adjustments will be made later.”

1940 June 12 Orkney Herald

EVIE – FARM ETC. – Fields and flocks are looking well, agriculturists and flock-masters having good prospects at the moment. The cereal crops have been making good progress, despite the dry conditions, and pastures are lush. Potatoes are showing up in the farm lands and in gardens. Good weather has favoured the laying down of the turnip crop and the work has been speedily executed. Rain would now be welcomed for all purposes. Not only is the country very parched, but burns and mills are low, and many households are suffering from a meagre water supply.

LOVELY JUNE. – June is generally regarded to be the loveliest month of the year. Now Nature is wearing her most charming robes and the country has attractions that towns and cities cannot emulate. The green sward covered with wild flowers – daisies, buttercups, and many other varieties of plant life – gives a colour display that baffles description. Seas are intensely blue and the colourings of the sunsets beats the artists’ best attempts. The music of the birds fills the air with surpassingly sweet melodies. Seductive scents greet us with the blending of fragrant odours – sight, hearing, and scent all being catered for.

1940 July 31 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – HELP FOR THE BLIND. – Mr G. W. Marwick has received an acknowledgment of the sum of £8 7s 1d collected in the districts of Rousay, Egilshay and Wyre, on behalf of the Royal Blind Asylum and School, Edinburgh. The Directors desire to express their appreciation for the kindly interest in promoting the collection, and convey their thanks to the collectors who so willingly helped, also the subscribers and all who so willingly gave their support and kindly interest in the general welfare of the blind.

RETIRED FARMER’S PASSING. – The death took place at his home in Bignold Park Road, Kirkwall, last Tuesday, of Mr Thomas Inkster, retired farmer. Mr Inkster was a native of Rousay, and one of a well-known Rousay family. He occupied the farm of Nears, and was held in high respect by the community, being a progressive agriculturist and taking a keen interest in the welfare of his native island. Shortly before retiring to come and live in Kirkwall with his wife, he had a spell of farming in Aberdeenshire. Mr Inkster, who had been in good health until a few days before his death, was in his 62nd year. Of a quiet, kindly and obliging nature, he will be missed by all who knew him, both in Rousay and the Kirkwall district. County Councillor Fred Inkster is a brother of the deceased, who is survived by his widow [Isabella McKinlay], to whom deep sympathy is extended. The funeral took place to St Olaf’s Cemetery on Friday, and was well attended.

[The story of the Inkster family is covered within the Westness Farm page.]

1940 August 7 Orkney Herald


The receipt of a telegram conveying the congratulations of the King and Queen was one of the most pleasant and thrilling moments for “Granny” Mainland of 17 Victoria Street, Kirkwall, on Saturday, her 100th birthday. “Granny,” as she is known to practically everybody in the town, received many other telegrams and messages of congratulation from friends and relatives in Orkney and in the South, but the momentous day was passed quietly. A few friends who called were entertained, and “Granny” had a visit from Provost Peter C. Flett and Mr W. J. Heddle, Town Clerk, who conveyed to her the good wishes of the town of Kirkwall.

A telegram which also gave much pleasure was one from Mr Alfred Baikie of Tankerness, Lord Lieutenant of Orkney and Shetland.

“Granny” Mainland is a native of Rousay. She was born on the farm of Banks there. In her early life she spent a number of years in domestic service in Edinburgh, but has been living in Kirkwall for as long as most of the present inhabitants can remember. She is the sole survivor of a long-lived family. One of her sisters lived to the age of 92. She is in good health, and retains her faculties to a remarkable degree. Her sight and hearing are good, and she is quite active, though she does not now venture out on the streets owing to the danger from traffic. Until a month or two ago her memory was very keen, but recently it has began to fail. She is a great reader, and takes a lively interest in events of the day. She is fully aware that a war is being waged, but so many wars have been waged in her lifetime that she does not view it so seriously as most people. Those who know “Granny” best speak enthusiastically of her powers as a conversationalist. Before her memory failed she could enthral listeners with stories of Orkney life and Scottish life in her young days. She had a high reputation as an expert knitter, an activity in which she engaged until quite recently, and some of her creations in this line – quilts, for example were beautiful specimens of the knitters’ art.

The telegram which she received from the King and Queen reads:

Buckingham Palace.

The King and Queen are much interested to hear that you are celebrating your hundredth birthday, and send their hearty congratulations and good wishes.
– Private Secretary.

The Lord Lieutenant’s telegram reads:

Please accept my hearty congratulations on attaining your 100th birthday.
Baikie, Lord Lieut.

Other telegrams were from relatives or friends in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and the country.

All readers will join with us in endorsing the hearty congratulations which “Granny” Mainland has already received.

[Mary Mainland was the daughter of Nicol Mainland, Cotafea, later Banks, Frotoft, and Margaret Louttit, Faraclett. Unmarried, she had two sons – Robert, born in 1868, who was a tailor in Kirkwall – and John, born in 1869. He was a grocer, and it was at his house in Victoria Street, Kirkwall, that “Granny” celebrated her 100th birthday.]

1940 August 21 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – S.W.R.I. – The monthly meeting of the Rousay branch of the S.W.R.I. was held in Wasbister School on Wednesday, July 17. Miss Inkster presided, and gave as her motto, “One may do a great deal of good in the world, if one does not care who gets the credit for it.” The Secretary read the minutes of the last meeting, and also correspondence from Miss Gault, Matron of the Balfour Hospital, thanking the Rousay people for two boxes of eggs received. The President gave a talk on blood transfusion and on sphagnum moss gathering, and appealed for blood donors to come forward to the W.V.S. depot in Kirkwall. The competition for the evening was bere bannocks. These were judged by Mrs Mainland, Nearhouse, and Miss Craigie, Scockness, who awarded the prizes to – 1 Mrs Ronald Shearer, Curquoy; 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson, Bigland; 3 Mrs Hourie, Quoygrinnie. The hostesses for the evening were Misses Sinclair, Craigie and Kirkness, who served an enjoyable tea. Votes of thanks were accorded to the judges, the hostesses, and to Mrs Paterson, for supplying pianoforte music. A pleasant evening was brought to a close with the singing of the National Anthem.

[When sphagnum moss is dry it is not only absorbent but also mildly antiseptic. During the First and Second World Wars it was collected in many parts of the Highlands and Islands and sent south to be turned into wound dressings. It was also used for lamp wicks, bedding and babies nappies.]

1940 August 28 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY PICNIC AND SALE. – The annual Frotoft picnic was held at Frotoft School on Friday, 16th Aug. In addition to the usual sports and dance of former years, the committee arranged a “Bring and Buy” Sale in order to raise funds for the Nursing Association. Although it rained all day a large crowd gathered, and £21 15s was realised.

The committee take this opportunity of thanking the following ladies and gentlemen for donations of money: – Mr and Mrs Grant, Trumland House; Mrs Lees Low, Westness House; Rev. R. R. Davidson, West Manse; Miss Inkster, Mr F. Inkster, Greenfield; Mr and Mrs Mackay, Cruseday, and Miss Mowat, Sourin Schoolhouse. Special prizes for the sports from Mrs D. Wilson, “Sjo Brekka”; Mrs Craigie, Hunclett; and Mrs Grieve. Westness, are also gratefully acknowledged. To those ladies who gave gifts of sugar for the tea special thanks are due.

The sports began at 2 p.m. All the children’s races were held in the school, but the adults preferred running in the wet grass to using the limited space inside.

After tea, served at 5 p.m., Nurse Ferrier presented prizes to the winners, and all the children received chocolates, kindly presented by Mrs Grant, Trumland House. On the call of Miss Gibson a hearty vote of thanks was accorded Nurse Ferrier for presenting the prizes.

Rev. R. R. Davidson then called for votes of thanks to the Picnic Committee and to all who had helped to make the picnic a success.

The sale opened at 6 p.m. All parcels were quickly sold, and the company then patronised the many side-shows. Those who took charge of the side-shows were – Mr and Mrs J. Grieve, Mr and Mrs Wm. Gibson, Mrs D. Wilson, Mrs G. Petrie, Mrs Thomson, Mrs Cormack, Nurse Ferrier, Miss Gibson, and Master J. Pirie.

Dancing commenced at 7.30 p.m. During an interval prizes were handed out to the winners of competitions. At 10 p.m. the singing of “Auld Lang Syne” brought a very enjoyable and successful evening to a close.

1940 September 4 Orkney Herald

ORKNEY NOTES. – The summer has been favourable, and vegetation has made satisfactory progress. Grass came early, in spring, and cattle were grazing outside and getting a good bite during the seeding season. Since then they have done very well, owing to fair conditions and a plentiful supply of grass. Oat crops came away well, and only in a few districts were the ravages of grub apparent. Turnips were difficult to braird in several cases, and there was a good deal of second sowing. Since then they have done well, and are filling the drills. Hay was a good crop, but was difficult to harvest. It was secured eventually in fairly good condition. The potato crop promises excellent, and quality is good.

Peat work has been carried out on an extended scale, and has occupied much time. Early peats were quickly ready, and were easily got, but later ones gave more trouble. They have now been mostly stacked and the supply seems ample. Peats make very good fuel, and burn well, leaving light, clean ashes. It means much hard work to make a few tons of the finished article, and convey this to the homestead. But we must keep the home fires burning these days.

Grass sickness appeared for the second season in Orkney this summer. Three horses on one farm succumbed to this fatal malady. They were grazing on a field of old pasture, and had never been put on to rotation grass. This rather explodes the theory of clover being a probable cause. The field of old pasture was one which may be described as real old natural grass. It seems strange why Orkney had never had this trouble till last summer, and a second visitation this summer. Fortunately numbers both times were few.

Excellent crops of oats and bere are coming on to harvest. A beginning will be made one of these days. There is an increased acreage to handle this time, and hands are few to cope with it. There should be a larger increase in yield of grain and straw, and given decent weather, and ordinary luck, there should be ample to feed man and beast, even though they may have to depend on what the farms grow.

Silage is being made in a few cases, but Orkney has to adapt itself yet to the making of such a foodstuff for animals. No doubt an effort will be made to do this on more general lines. The making of silage is no new thing in these islands but it has never begin universally adopted. Changed times and changed conditions bring about a different outlook, and Orkney farmers are ready to toe the line. They mean to do their best. – By “Orcadian” in “Farming News and North British Agriculturist.”



ln order to accomplish speedily the desire of the public of Orkney to contribute one of those wonderful defenders of the coast of Britain, a Spitfire fighter, it is essential that we “go to it” with determination and without hesitation. Let no-one be held back from contributing, whether large sums or small, for everyone will want to feel that “this is our Spitfire.” It is the feeling of the committee organising the Fund that they want the ‘plane to be truly representative, and therefore shillings will be gladly accepted. It is anticipated that through love of country every man, woman and child be impelled by a flush of patriotism to add their mite…..


Orcadians are rallying enthusiastically to contribute to the Orkney Spitfire Fund. The first list of contributions appears below, and it will be seen that the total is close on £600. Subsequent donations, however, received too late for inclusion in the first list below, bring the actual total to date to over £1000. It is to be hoped that the county will be inspired by the fine example of the public-spirited people whose subscriptions are listed below…..

[The long list revealed donations ranging from £120 [Kirkwall cinema], £100 from a family in Willow Road, £50 from a local firm’s employees, £15 from a Kirkwall garage, £5 from a grocer ‘in appreciation of the patriotic women who bring their paper ration bags again, and again, thus saving waste’, 10/- from ‘A Widow’s Mite’, and many, many others of differing amounts].

1940 September 11 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – S.W.R.I. – On the evening of Wednesday, August 14, the Rousay branch of the S.W.R.I. met in Sourin School. A large attendance of members was presided over by Miss Inkster, who, after the business part of the meeting was finished, gave a talk on the Federation meeting, held in the Grammar School, Kirkwall, on August 12. A quantity of sphagnum moss was cleaned by a number of members, and along with a further consignment will shortly be sent to the W.V.S. Depot in Kirkwall.  The competition for the evening was “Tweed Slippers,” and the judges, Mesdames Mainland and Grieve and Miss Sutherland, awarded the prizes to: 1 Miss Anna Marwick, 2 Mrs Wm. Flaws, 3 Mrs Ronald Shearer. The hostesses, Mrs H. I. Gibson, Mrs R. Shearer, and Miss Mowat, served an enjoyable tea. Hearty votes of thanks were accorded the judges and hostesses, and the meeting closed after the National Anthem had been sung.

[Just a reminder that dried sphagnum moss, also known as Bog Moss, due to its remarkable absorption and healing qualities, was used for field dressings in both World Wars. Its earliest use is on record in a Gaelic Chronicle of 1014 which revealed that the wounded in the battle of Clontarf ‘stuffed their wounds with moss.’ Highlanders, after the Battle of  Flodden in September 1513, staunched their bleeding wounds by filling them with bog moss and soft grass. Stricken deer have known to drag their wounded limbs through beds of Sphagnum Moss.]

LATE MR J. H. JOHNSTON. – Mr James H. Johnston died suddenly on Sunday, 31st August. Deceased came to Rousay from Rendall about sixteen years ago, and became very popular and highly respected by all. Mr Johnston proved to be a farmer of outstanding ability, and the many awards that went to Trumland Farm from local shows justified the success he attained as a stock-breeder. In connection with his career as a farmer, he was ably assisted by Mrs Johnston, who belongs to the Ritch family of Kierfold, Sandwick. Deceased was closely connected with Rousay Agricultural Society for many years, and was president in 1929. Mr Johnston was a loyal and devoted member of the Church of Scotland, and for almost fourteen years led the praise in Trumland district church. He acted in a similar capacity in Rendall Church before coming to Rousay. He was a member of the Congregational Board. The Church has therefore lost an enthusiastic worker, whose service was ungrudgingly given. Deceased is survived by Mrs Johnston and three of a family – two sons and one daughter. The eldest son, Robert, resides at Trumland. James William holds an important appointment at the Rowett Institute Aberdeen. Violet (Mrs S. J. Inkster) resides at Wasdale, in Sourin district. To his widow and family the heartfelt sympathy of the island is extended.

[James Halcro Johnston was born at Crook, Rendall, on 8 June 1880. His wife Margaret Ritch was born at Binaquoy, Firth on 22 June 1880, and died at Bankhead, Sandwick, in 1960]  

1940 September 18 Orkney Herald

ORKNEY SPITFIRE FUND’S SWIFT PROGRESS. – Excellent progress is being made in the Orkney Spitfire Fund, which, as readers will see from the list below, has now reached a total of £3,644 13s 3d, which leaves a little over £1,300 to be still subscribed. At this rate the Orkney Spitfire should be provided in well under a month…..

[The list included – £5 14s 2d collected by counter box in a Victoria Street fruiterers; £2 from a Hoy ‘War Hater’; 52 threepenny bits, being one for every week of the war, from Mrs M.; 10s, A Mite from Eday, from one who wishes to strengthen the arm of those who sweep the dragon from the skies, and hasten the day when the dove of peace will take her flight; £10 from Two Admirers of the RAF; 5s from An Old Soldier from Clestrain; ‘Baby Pittman’, Slater Street, Kirkwall, collection of 350 3d pieces – £4 2s 6d……and many others.]

1940 October 2 Orkney Herald


Orkney’s Spitfire Fund now stands at over £6,000. This is the last week of the Fund, the management committee, at a meeting last week, having decided to close it on Saturday, 5th October. Subscriptions will be accepted up to that date by the treasurer, Mr George Eunson, Union Bank, Kirkwall, and the local bank offices and newspaper offices.

Suggestions for a name for the Orkney Spitfire revealed a preponderance in favour of the name “Orkney.”

It will be seen that Orkney has provided over a thousand pounds more than the £5,000 required to pay for a Spitfire. The additional money will go a considerable way towards the cost of a second fighter…..

1940 October 9 Orkney Herald

ORKNEY FIGHTER FUND NOW TO PROVIDE A HURRICANE. – Orkney Spitfire Fund Committee, at a meeting last Tuesday, reconsidered a previously taken decision to close the Fund, and decided that it shall continue under the name of the Orkney Fighter Fund. Having provided the necessary £5,000 for the purchase of a Spitfire, Orkney, it is hoped, will now go all out to contribute a second £5,000, which will send a Hurricane into the sky…..

1940 October 16 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – RED CROSS. – The Rousay S.W.R.I. have handed over to Red Cross and Hospital 8 pillow cases, 8 pairs of slippers, and one bag of sphagnum moss.

WOMEN’S VOLUNTARY SERVICES. – The Work Party have handed over to the War Charities Depot, up to date, 22 pairs of socks, 6 pairs of gum-boot stockings, and 2 dressing gowns.

1940 October 23 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – S.W.R.I. – The monthly meeting of Rousay’s branch of the S.W.R.I. was held in Frotoft School on October 4. There was good attendance of members and friends, presided over by Miss Inkster, who, after giving the motto of the evening, extended a cordial welcome to the visitors present. After the minutes had been read and the business part of the meeting conducted, a thrift parcel, containing a child’s cot and accessories, and also children’s garments, was on view. The ingenuity displayed in the making of all the articles was wonderful, and everyone agreed that it was a pleasure to see such exhibits. Miss Thora Kirkness, Quoyostray, gave a demonstration of glass painting, and showed a number of decorated articles in glass ware, and also some specimens of jewellery in enamel work. The competition for the evening was a hand-sewn pillow-slip. The judges, Mrs Robertson of Viera Lodge and Mrs Marwick of Breck, awarded the prizes to: – 1 Mrs Shearer, Curquoy; 2 Mrs Grieve, Westness. The hostesses, Mesdames Mainland and Grieve and Miss Mainland, served a splendid tea. On the call of Miss Inkster, hearty votes of thanks were accorded all the ladies who had contributed to the evening’s enjoyment, and the evening’s proceedings closed with the singing of the National Anthem.

1940 December 18 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – EARL HAIG FUND. – The Earl Haig Fund collection for Rousay amounted to the excellent total of £6 12s 3d, made up as follows: – Sourin district, £2 16s 8d; Wasbister, £1 6s 6d; Frotoft and Brinian, £2 9s 1d. Mrs Gibson, organiser of the collection, wishes to thank the teachers in the districts and the children for their help in collecting.

COMFORTS. – The following war comforts have been sent to headquarters: – From W.V.S. Work Party – 18 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of gum-boot stockings, 3 pairs of mitts, 2 pairs of slippers. From Mrs Robertson, Langskaill, per Miss Inkster, there have gone five pairs of socks.