In Print

Newsprint – 1941

1941 January 1 Orkney Herald

CHRISTMAS DAY RAIDER SHOT DOWN. – The most exciting event of Christmas Day in Orkney was the shooting down of a German plane in the county. The raider was apparently a reconnaissance machine, and was interrupted and brought down, according to the official announcement, by Fleet Air Arm planes co-operating with the R.A.F. Residents in certain Orkney districts had an excellent view of the sky battle and its successful culmination. The Nazi machine’s crew of four were captured.

SWAT THAT RAT. – Destroy the loathsome pest which eats £40,000,000 worth of food every year. Swat that rat. In town and country he is helping Hitler to make inroads on our food stores. The major task is for agriculturalists and those responsible for granaries and warehouses, but the householder can do his bit. Keep food and refuse out of the rodents’ reach and make your house rat-proof. There are several excellent brands of proprietary rat poison available, and your chemist will tell you how to use them. Use the bait in prolific manner. Rats are suspicious and one dead rat will warn all others away from the food which poisoned it. In warehouses, factories, shops and restaurants, use spring or break back, wire cage or sticky-board traps. Clear away heaps of waste and scrap. Keep your yards clean and starve out the pests. See that there is no casual water about. Kill them and blockade them. Help in the nation-wide campaign to destroy rats, it is vitally urgent.




VOLUNTEERS, both sexes, ages 18 to 60, as blood donors. An Orkney Blood Transfusion Association has been formed. A blood Storage Bank has been established, and your co-operation is VITAL if lives are to be saved.

Give your names and addresses to the Superintendent, Balfour Hospital,
Kirkwall, or to the Medical Officer of Health, Kirkwall.

1941 January 8 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – SCHOOL AWARDS. – At Wasbister School, before closing on Friday, December 20, for the Christmas vacation, the following awards were made: – Good attendance at day school – Irene Hourie; perfect attendance at day school – Gertrude Moar; excellent attendance at Sunday school – Evelyn Clouston and George Sinclair. Orkney and Zetland Prize – First Class – Evelyn Clouston. Sir Donald A. Smith Scholarship – Evelyn Clouston.

1941 January 15 Orkney Herald

MEAT SUPPLIES. – Please show forbearance with your butcher at this period of shortage of meat supplies; his task is not an enviable one. You are not his only customer and he must be fair, as he will be, in distributing what supplies are allocated to him. Here is the opportunity to practice more assiduously the recommendation of the Minister of Food. Plain fare and ingenuity will tide over this temporary phase, and it is confidently expected that the housewives of the North-east will uncomplainingly “make do” until more plentiful supplies are available.

EMERGENCY BREAD SUPPLIES. – The maintenance of bread supplies under emergency conditions is most important, but it may be that under certain circumstances supplies and deliveries may be suspended for a short time. In order to meet such a contingency, should it ever arise, the Divisional Food Officer asks that all householders should have in the house at all times at least one day’s supply of bread. Experience in other areas has clearly shown that such prudence is not only desirable, but essential.

EVIE – COUNTRY IN JANUARY. – Ploughing has made good progress in the last week or two, and fields of freshly overturned soil, richly brown, contrast strongly with grass fields still vividly green, giving the landscape a rather pleasing aspect these colourless days. With the increase of light, signs of plant life are apparent in meadow and garden. Spring bulbs are forcing their green spears through the soil boldly – not to be checked, we hope.

1941 January 29 Orkney Herald



We acknowledge with pleasure, a copy of the new Orkney publication for the Forces, “The Orkney Blast.” Printed on a large four-page sheet (its pages are bigger than those of the average daily), it contains numerous features calculated to interest and amuse the members of the Services. Strictly speaking, it is more of the magazine than newspaper style, but a certain proportion of bona fide news is a feature, though we imagine the lighter articles and stories will make the greater appeal. Number one of the “Orkney Blast” strikes the right note for the times, and there is little doubt that its weekly appearance will be eagerly awaited by men of the Forces stationed in the Orkney area.

The editor of the paper is Major Eric Linklater, the famous Orkney novelist, and his chief assistant is Captain Frost, a noted London journalist of the “Daily Telegraph.” Editorial staff and contributors are nearly all drawn from the Services in Orkney. Many, of course, are connected with journalism in civil life. Two of Orkney’s best-known civilians, however, have written articles for the inaugural issue. Mr J. Storer Clouston, Convener of the County, has an absorbing story of the history of St Magnus Cathedral, and Provost J. G. Marwick, of Stromness, writes on the nature lore of Orkney…..

The publishing headquarters are given as Stromness, but the paper is printed at Kirkwall by “The Orcadian” newspaper. The cost is twopence. “The Orkney Blast,” however, is not on sale to civilians.

1941 February 19 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – COMFORTS. – During January Rousay W.V.S. contributed the following war comforts: 4 pairs of gum-boot stockings, 10 pairs of socks from W.V.S. Work Party and one blanket.

1941 February 26 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – COMFORTS. – The Woman’s Guild have sent to the W.V.S. the following comforts knitted from their own wool: 56 pairs of socks, 13 scarves, 7 helmets, 3 pairs of gloves, 6 pairs of mitts, 1 pair of mittens, 1 pair of cuffs, and 1 Cranwell collar. At Christmas socks were sent in each of eighteen parcels to Rousay boys in the Services. The committee would like to take this opportunity of thanking all who kindly gifted raw wool, those who knitted comforts, and also those who gifted knitted comforts.

NURSING. – The annual general meeting of Rousay, Egilshay and Wyre District Nursing Association was held in Sourin School on Wednesday, February 12, at 3.30 p.m. Rev. R. R. Davidson, president, was chairman. The secretary gave a report of the Nurse’s work for 1940, and read the statement of income and expenditure. Both were approved by the meeting. Office-bearers appointed were: – President, Rev. R. R. Davidson, West Manse; hon. presidents, Mrs Walter G. Grant, Mrs Lees Low; vice-presidents, Mrs Kirkness, Quoyostray; Mr F. T. Inkster, J.P., Greenfield; hon. secretary, Mrs .Wm. Gibson, Avelshay, Rousay; hon. treas., Mr Alex. D. Craigie, Hunclett, Rousay. Executive Committee – Miss Craigie, Scockness, Sourin; Miss Craigie, Essaquoy, Sourin; Mrs Moar, Saviskaill, Wasbister; Mrs Grieve, Westness, Frotoft; Mrs Flaws, Classiquoy, Brinian; Mrs Inkster, Midskaill, Egilshay; Mr Seator, Cott, Egilshay; Mrs Flaws, Helziegetha, Wyre; Mr Craigie, Russness, Wyre. It was decided to take a five years’ lease of “Witchwood,” Brinian, Rousay, for a nurse’s house, and to move the Association’s garage from its present site to “Witchwood.” Subscriptions shall be collected as soon as the membership leaflets for 1941 have been printed.

[Wychwood was situated between Viera View and Daisy Cottage].

1941 March 5 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY. – The annual general meeting of the members of Rousay, Egilshay and Viera Co-operative Society, Ltd., was held in Sourin Hall, Rousay, on Thursday, February 20. Mr J. Inkster, president, occupied the chair. Mr J. Craigie, secretary, read the statement of accounts and balance sheet for year ended August 31, 1940. This showed that the Society had, in spite of many difficulties, a most successful year. The president, in addressing the meeting, said, in part: – “The balance sheet shows you that another successful year of your Society has to be added to the many already passed, and the committee of management has just put forward the undernoted recommendations for your consideration: 5 per cent. interest to be paid on the share capital held by members: a dividend of 1s 6d in the £ on all purchases made by members for the year ended August 31, 1940; a donation of £5 to be given to the Balfour Hospital. All the recommendations were unanimously adopted. This Society started from small beginnings, and has proved itself to be a valuable asset to the island, and can now boast of an annual turnover of over £11,000.” The present committee of management, who were all re-elected, are: – President, Mr J. L. Inkster, Woo, Rousay; vice-president, Mr J. Craigie, Furse, Rousay; and Messrs R. Seatter, Banks; H. Mainland, Hurtiso; H. Craigie, Scockness; J. Craigie, Falquoy; H. Robertson, Langskaill; R. S. Mainland, Nearhouse; S. Inkster, Kirkhall; R. Johnston, Trumland; secretary and treasurer, Mr J. Craigie, Cruar; vanman, Mr Harcus, Gorehouse; manager, Mr W. R. Walls, Store Cottage.

1941 March 19 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – CONCERTS FOR HOSPITAL FUND. – A most successful concert in aid of the Balfour Hospital, Kirkwall, was held in Frotoft School on Thursday and Friday, March 6 and 7, at 8 p.m. each evening. Chairman on Thursday evening was Rev. R. R. Davidson, M.A., and on Friday evening Dr Paterson. Votes of thanks (both evenings) to the chairmen were given by Mr Wm. Gibson. Votes of thanks were given by the chairmen to the concert party, and to Mrs Paterson for playing accompaniments. A dance followed Friday evening’s concert. It was kept up till 2.30 a.m. The committee thank Mrs Marwick, Breck, and Mrs Craigie, Hunclett, for making tea for the dance, and the Wasbister Band for supplying music gratis for the dance. £3 4s goes to the Hospital after all expenses have been paid. The programme was: – Opening choruses; chairman’s remarks; solo, The Rose of Tralee, Mr Wm. Gibson; violin selections, Messrs J. Sinclair and D. Craigie; dialogue, Looking for that Kind of Chance, Messrs R. Stevenson and D. Gibson; solo, A Paradise for Two, Miss M. Mainland; recitation, Mrs McTavish as Matchmaker, Mrs Wm. Gibson; harmonica selections, Mr D. Gibson; duet, The Crooked Bawbee, Mrs J. Grieve and Mr Wm. Gibson; sketch, Paddy’s Mistake; solo, Little Brown Jug, Mr J. Grieve; interval; violin selections, Messrs J. Sinclair and D. Craigie; solo, When Dawn Breaks Through, Miss M. Mainland; dialogue, At the Photographers, Mrs J. Grieve, Miss Gibson and Mr J. Grieve; Highland Fling, Mr H. Yorston; monologue, On the Telephone, Mr J. Grieve; solo, I’ll Walk Beside You, Mrs Wm. Gibson; dialogue, Insuring her Life, Mrs Grieve and Miss Mainland; Club Swinging, Mr J. Grieve; community singing, God Save the King. Accompaniments by Mrs Paterson, Brinian House.

1941 March 26 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – WOMEN’S GUILD. – There was a splendid turnout of members at the annual business meeting and social, in the Wasbister School on Friday evening, March 14. After praise and prayer, Mrs Corsie, vice-president, addressed the meeting, and referred to the absence of the president, Mrs Reid, owing to bereavement, and expressed the Guild’s sympathy. She went on to say how, in spite of wartime difficulties, they had been able to give their usual contributions to the various schemes, and in one or two cases had even increased their donations. After giving a list of comforts sent to the Services, she said how grateful the committee were to all those who had gifted raw wool, as well as to those who had done the knitting, and thanked them all. After the Treasurer’s report had been heard, the committee and officials were re-elected. During the evening the Wasbister members, who were the hostesses, served a sumptuous tea, for which they were accorded a hearty vote of thanks on the call of Mrs Paterson. Rev. R. R. Davidson asked for votes of thanks to all the performers, who gave a varied programme which was very much enjoyed by all, and also to Mrs Corsie for conducting the meeting. Rev. R. R. Davidson was given a vote of thanks for helping with the business meeting. A collection in aid of the Balfour Hospital amounted to £4 3s 6d. Annexed is the programme: – Recitation, The Lasses Noo-a-days, Miss Kathleen Gibson; solo, Beyond the Dawn, Miss Maisie Mainland; encore, Ships that Pass in the Night; talk by Rev. R. R. Davidson; musical selections, Mrs Paterson; sketch, Granny’s Parade, Mrs H. I. Gibson, Mrs Jim Craigie, Miss Margaret Donaldson and Miss Chrissie Russell; recitation, Pastor McKnock’s Address, Miss Irene Hourie; talk by Dr Paterson; monologue, Mrs Pinkerton’s Bonnet, Mrs William Gibson; musical selections, Mrs Paterson; sketch, A Neebourly Chat, Mrs John Craigie and Mrs Tom Donaldson.

1941 April 9 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – COMFORTS. – Church of Scotland Women’s Guild have knitted and despatched to the Forces this further consignment of comforts: – 11 pairs of socks, 4 scarves, and 4 pairs of mitts.

1941 April 23 Orkney Herald

It is regretted that difficulties in the obtaining of newsprint supplies have compelled us this week further to reduce the size of “The Orkney Herald,” from six to four pages. This latest reduction, however, is of a temporary nature, and it is hoped next week or the following week to revert, for some time at any rate, to our recent six-page paper. News of local interest, however, is still fully reported, only “general” articles being cut.

1941 May 21 Orkney Herald

DUKE OF KENT’S VISIT TO NORTHERN BASE. – H.R.H. the Duke of Kent recently paid an informal visit to a North of Scotland port, where he inspected a naval base and chatted with Service personnel. The Duke was in the uniform of a rear-admiral. One of his calls was at Halifax House, a Toc H establishment, where he was shown round by Rev. Eric K. Cross, the padre in charge, a brother of the new High Commissioner to Australia.

At another point H.R.H. stopped to talk with a Portsmouth woman whose husband is serving in the Navy. She told the Duke that her home in “Pompey” had been bombed, and the Royal visitor expressed his sympathy.

At one stage of his visit the Duke spoke to a soldier reporter who was “covering” the Royal tour for a local Service newspaper. He showed keen interest when told that the troops in the area had their own paper, and asked a number of questions about it. The reporter was able to give H.R.H. a copy of the publication to take away with him.

The Duke’s visit was of an informal nature throughout. Many local residents practically rubbed shoulders with the Royal visitor without realising who he was.

[The ‘naval base’ was Scapa Flow. Halifax House was on Hoy, and the local Service newspaper was the ‘Orkney Blast’. Toc H was forces signaller’s phonetics for T.H., the initials of the HQ of the organisation, Talbot House, London…..]

1941 May 28 Orkney Herald



Orkney W.V.S. War Comforts Association wants more sphagnum moss. Woollen comforts are not in great demand at the moment, but, with the wisdom of the busy bee, stores are being accumulated by the W.V.S. Committee. Winter will come again, and a great war goes on and on, absorbing our united efforts, not the least of which is to keep our soldiers, sailors and airmen happy and comfortable.

Even in this season of perpetual daylight, the men like to have some quiet amusements in the camps. Games, packs of cards, books and musical instruments have been included in our issues last month. A portable piano, an accordion and a violin have been gifted, and another piano is almost ready to go to its destination.

The Association would be pleased to hear of any piano or musical instrument for sale. Any instrument which is for sale will be bought at valuation.

Sphagnum moss is in great demand, and the Association will be glad to have consignments sent to Mrs Cormack at Messrs William Shearer’s, Victoria Street, Kirkwall. The moss should be easily gathered, and officials shall be glad to receive it in sacks without being made up into dressings. Some clean sacks are available on application to Mrs Cormack. Moss is urgently required at Red Cross headquarters …..

1941 June 4 Orkney Herald



One of Orkney’s most prominent public figures for over half a century, Mr Duncan John Robertson, O.B.E., died on Saturday at his home, Crantit House, St. Ola. He was eighty-one years of age, and his death followed a period of illness and declining health, during which he had undergone a serious operation. Eight months ago he had retired from the post of County Clerk of Orkney.

Orcadians everywhere will learn with regret of the passing of Mr Robertson. He stood for so many things characteristic of Orkney life and Orkney interests that his death seems to mark the end of an epoch in the saga of the county. To his friends and colleagues, and the people of Orkney as a whole, he seemed a link with a calmer, more dignified and more gentle age, and these islands, it will be generally felt, are the poorer for his death.

Contributions to Orkney Life. – Few Orcadians have in their day been more highly-esteemed by all classes of the community than the late Mr Robertson. Over more than fifty years of public and social life his interests were many and varied, business, literature, administration, sport, etc., but always nearest his heart was the welfare of Orkney. In innumerable ways he contributed to Orkney’s development. Not the least of these contributions was cultural. A poet and writer of exquisite charm, he at one time regularly contributed essays, sketches and verses to leading national magazines, and transmuted into the permanence of print many of Orkney’s historical and scenic glories. This literary work, though not widely known to the present generation (with the exception of his fairly recent delightful book, “Notes from a Bird Sanctuary”), is affectionately remembered by the older school of Orkney folk, and deservedly, for the charm of the Orkneys has seldom had so able in interpreter.

The late Mr Robertson was the only son of the late Sheriff James Robertson, who occupied the Kirkwall bench from 1866 to 1875. He was educated at Edinburgh Academy and Edinburgh University, and after receiving his legal training in the Scottish capital he returned to Kirkwall, where he commenced practising as a lawyer. He entered into partnership with the late Mr J. C. Macrae, the firm thereafter being known as Macrae and Robertson. In a very short time Mr Robertson’s ability in his profession became generally realised, and he went from success to success. In September 1888, while still only 28 years of age, he was appointed clerk to the Commissioners of Supply, the forerunner of the County Council, and when Orkney County Council was formed, soon afterwards, his appointment to the new body was confirmed. It will inevitably as County Clerk that Mr Robertson will be best remembered, in view of his long and distinguished tenure of the office. Readers will recall the eloquent tribute paid to his work by Mr J. Storer Clouston, County Convener, on his retiral from the County Clerkship in October last year, when he was made the recipient of a silver salver from the members and officials of the Council. During the early period of the Council’s existence, Mr Robertson guided its destinies with a sure and devoted hand, and through the entire 51 years of his clerkship his courtesy, kindliness and helpfulness endeared him to all members. While he was Clerk the Council passed through two important stages in the history of local government, the 1889 and the 1929 Acts, both periods which entailed much work of reconstruction. In his retiring speech Mr Robertson mentioned that no member of the original County Council was alive.

By virtue of being County Clerk, Mr Robertson held a large number of other appointments, including those of County Treasurer, County Collector of Rates, and many others.

Balfour Hospital Work. – Other notable service was a senior joint clerk and treasurer to the trustees of the Balfour Hospital, the work of which was very close to his heart. He was also senior joint clerk to Orkney Harbours Commissioners, and senior joint agent of the Kirkwall branch of the Commercial Bank.

For many years he had been head of the firm of Messrs Macrae & Robertson, and had fully maintained its high reputation. In his professional capacity he was factor for some of the largest estates in the county.

Reference must also be made to his long connection with the Bar of Orkney Sheriff Court, of which he was Dean of the Faculty. He was also an honorary sheriff substitute for the county.

Mere enumeration of the late Mr Robertson’s many appointments and offices, however, does not adequately assess what he meant to the life of Orkney or the loss which the county has sustained by his passing.

For notable war-time services he was awarded the O.B.E. in 1918. He was Vice-Consul for all the Scandinavian countries, and Denmark, Norway and Sweden all conferred honours and decorations upon him.

In his younger days Mr Robertson took a keen interest in sport, and he was a fine shot and an enthusiastic boatman. In later years the hobbies which claimed him were photography and natural history (bird-life in particular) and these occupied his leisure time as long as health permitted him to get about. His connection with the island of Eynhallow is a byword in Orkney. He was proprietor of the island, which was a gift to him, and it is one of Orkney’s beauty spots as a bird sanctuary. Mr Robertson’s chief delight was to spend summer days on Eynhallow bird-watching.

[Previous owner of Eynhallow was Thomas Middlemore, who lived at Westness House. After the Middlemores moved from Rousay to Hoy, Mr Robertson was appointed factor for Mr Middlemore’s Melsetter estate.]

Family Life. – In 1890 he married Margaret Keir, daughter of the late Mr Archibald Garden, J.P., of Dyke, Forres. Two elder sons served in the last war. The eldest, Major James [‘Hamish Neil’] Robertson, received the Military Cross and the Chevalier of the Legion of Honour decoration. He was invalided out of the Army in 1928. The second son, Archibald Garden Robertson, served in the Black Watch and the Royal Flying Corps, and was killed in action in Flanders in 1917. The third son, serving in the present war, is Captain Donald Robertson, Seaforth Highlanders, who was a member of the Auxiliary Force, India, prior to 1939.

There are four daughters. [Jean McLeod, Margaret, Mary Beatrix, and Harriet Fernelith.]

The funeral takes place tomorrow (Wednesday) from St Olaf Church.

1941 June 18 Orkney Herald

EVIE – JUNE IN THE COUNTRY. – It is now well on to the Summer Solstice, and nature is wearing its most charming aspect. The countryside is full of beauty spots, and lovely pictures are to be found in every corner. The lavishness of Nature in its richness of foliage and blossom make us want to spend every moment out of doors. Wild flowers are most luxuriant now, and the sward is bright bedecked with blooms of many hues. Burnsides burn with the flame of the marsh marigold, so abundant round here, and mayflowers and buttercups mingle in beautiful displays everywhere. The seaside is fringed with hardy shore plants showing dainty flowerets, and the whin is the glory of every rough valley and moorland slope. Heathery whiffs from the hills blend with all kinds of seductive scents which meet us at every turn and make the air deliciously sweet. Gardens are still resplendent with early summer shows, which combine with the colourful surroundings to make the country a lovely and pleasant place wherein to dwell these long June days.

CROPS. – Generally speaking, the cereal crops look satisfactory, notwithstanding the persistent drought of the past weeks, and with the accession of more moisture and heat – now due – should show more rapid advancement. As to the grain yield, a guess can hardly be hazarded so soon. Pasture grass has been slow of growth, and the hay crop is not likely to be heavy after so dry a May. The turnip seed has all been committed to the soil, and in many fields seedlings are appearing in long green lines. Potatoes are showing up well in most fields, and granted the desired sunshine may prove to be a good crop.

PEATS. – Peat work has been greatly lightened this season by the prevalent dry conditions and the turves are now almost cured and ready for carting home. This kind of fuel has become more valuable and desirable in the country than ever since coal has soared in price and there is the likelihood of it being rationed. Every household has endeavoured to procure this product of the moors, great though the difficulties of labour and transport may be.

1941 July 16 Orkney Herald

ORKNEY SPHAGNUM MOSS. – The following reply, received by Mrs A. Sinclair, convener of the Moss Committee, demonstrates how the consignments sent from Orkney are welcomed at the Red Cross Depot, Aberdeen.

“You will receive an official card of thanks from the Red Cross for your five sacks of moss, but I wish to send a personal note of thanks because the moss is of such splendid quality, was so well gathered, and had been so admirably cleaned. I was particularly glad to handle your moss today, because the greater part of the moss that has just come in is rather damp, and, even when cleaned, can’t be packed into dressings for some days. Much gratitude, therefore to your Work Party. – D. H. F.”

1941 July 30 Orkney Herald

GRACIE FIELDS IN ORKNEY. – Miss Gracie Fields spent a few days in the Orkneys entertaining troops and workers last week. At her opening show on Wednesday last she was assisted by Ivor Newton at the piano and by an R.A.F. band. She scored a success with a new tune for the Lord’s Prayer, and was warmly applauded also for her Ave Maria and her new Victory-V song, “All for one and one for all.” Soon after arriving in Orkney Miss Fields met the “Co-Optimists,” who were headed by Phyllis Monkman. While walking in Kirkwall Miss Fields pleased the onlookers by stopping to speak to the young wife and infant daughter of a local man, Charles Thomson, who is a prisoner in Germany.

1941 August 20 Orkney Herald


His Majesty the King paid his second visit to Orkney during the present war ten days ago. Travelling in an American-built bombing aircraft, escorted by an armada of fighter planes, he landed at a Naval Air Station.

In the course of his week-end tour he visited various shore establishments and several vessels of the Fleet.

His Majesty knows Orkney well. During the last war in which he served as a midshipman and as a junior officer of the Fleet, he was frequently in the county…..

At the naval base where he landed the King met the war at first hand, for the crews of naval aircraft whom he inspected and talked to had been on patrol only a few hours before, and many of them told him vivid stories of the part they took in the recent successful raids on Petsamo [Finland] and Kirkenes [Norway].

Then, entering a car, His Majesty started upon a round of visits to inspect naval, military and R.A.F. bases, and also civilian personnel. His route took him through Kirkwall, where the people had been informed only a few hours earlier of the Royal visit. They crowded the streets and gave a cordial welcome to His Majesty…..

His Majesty’s tour was made by motor car and motor launch, which took him to depots and bases, where he inspected and talked with the personnel.

The main events entailed short journeys by motor launch across Scapa Flow. The King stepped ashore, obviously familiar with the geography. He chose to walk to the parade ground, where he passed a natural grandstand packed with men, women and children, who welcomed him with a real roar of greeting. Marines provided the guard of honour, and their band played the National Anthem, in which the crowd joined lustily.

The King inspected soldiers and sailors, merchant seamen, and civilians. His Majesty stopped and spoke to many of them. He spent most time speaking to merchant seamen, asking about their experiences in taking their ships through mine and submarine-infested waters. When the ribbons of any seaman’s breast caught His Majesty’s eye he halted to chat with him.

Elsewhere he reviewed the 2nd Orkney battalion of the Home Guard, asking beribboned men about their service. Afterwards he went on to an R.A.F. establishment and inspected the airmen.

On His Majesty’s departure the roads were again crowded. Marines lined the route, and behind them men, women and children climbed on carts and windows to catch a glimpse of the King…..


His Majesty the King spent three days with the Home Fleet in Northern waters, and during his visit stayed aboard the flagship, King George V. He met officers and men who took part in the chase of the Bismarck and who have been engaged in many other naval actions, and also saw military and flying personnel.

The King visited aircraft carriers, cruisers, and destroyers which have taken part in recent actions (writes a special correspondent with the Home Fleet). During the whole visit, every ship was under “short notice,” and ready to engage the enemy.

In the Admiral’s cabin in the flagship the King knighted the Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Sir John Tovey, and invested him with the insignia of a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath. It was from this cabin that the Admiral went up to his bridge to direct the Fleet action against the Bismarck. Seven officers and fifteen ratings were also decorated after the C-in-C…..

That day the King went aboard one of our latest aircraft carriers and some cruisers, one of which was manned entirely by West Country men.

In each ship the King found the same “happy family” spirit, and officers and men he talked to told him many stories of their encounters with the enemy…..

In another ship, the King met two ratings, who were “Royal Naval Frenchmen,” Free French sailors who have volunteered to serve in British ships, and one Norwegian. One of the French sailors is listed in the ship’s books as “Horatio Nelson,” and the King, talking to him in French, heard how he and his comrades have chosen famous British names as their noms de guerre, keeping their own names secret. Other ratings he recognised were men who used to serve in the Royal Yacht.

Next day the King spent several hours on a tour of the flagship…..When he went between decks, walking amid the tremendously complicated electrical gear and modern machinery under the glare of electric lights, the Master-at-Arms went ahead of the Royal party, carrying a lighted candle lanthorn, just as they did in Nelson’s day, because the Navy guards its traditions through the centuries. In the ship’s chapel the King saw the Bible that was used every day by his father, and given by him to the ship with the inscription in it in the King’s hand…..

Officers and men lined the side of each of the ships, big and small, and as the King passed their cheers thundered out over the waters, giving a final naval review touch to the Royal war-time visit. It was a marvellous demonstration of Britain’s armed might in the war at sea.

Admiral Tovey went ashore with the King, and as they said good-bye the King gave his last command to the C-in-C, ordering him to signal the Fleet “Splice the mainbrace” – the order to serve extra rum rations in every ship in the Fleet to drink the King’s health….

[At this stage of the war my father, George M. Fletcher, was a Lieutenant aboard H.M.S. Nigeria. I have a photograph of him shaking hands with the King during his visit to the Crown Colony-class light cruiser in Scapa Flow. Having taken part in both Russian and Arctic convoys, Nigeria was about to be assigned to operate in Operation Pedestal, as flagship of a close-escort group escorting a convoy bound for Malta].

1941 August 27 Orkney Herald

BUSY ISLANDERS. – “Norseman,” writing’ in last week’s issue of the “John O’Groat Journal,” paid the people of Orkney the following tribute: – “The people of the Orkneys have adapted themselves to war-time conditions in a way that we on the mainland would do well to take note of. On the islands of South Ronaldshay, Rousay, Shapinsay and Stronsay, together with the Orkney Mainland, nearly two million cabbages are being grown this season, over and above the usual annual crop. About eight tons to the acre is the output, and the work has been carried through in response to an appeal by the agricultural executive officer for the county. In times past poultry farming had been the means of putting Orkney on the map, but curtailment of stocks consequent on the need for economy in the use of feeding-stuffs has been a knock to the industry. But to change over from a hen to a cabbage is a trifling matter to the versatile Orcadian, and in doing so he is helping himself and, the country as a whole…..

1941 September 3 Orkney Herald

PETROL RATION CUT BY HALF. – Motorists are reminded that, as announced on July 1, October petrol rations for private cars will be halved. The Secretary for Petroleum has issued a direction reducing the value of the basic ration unit to half a gallon. A coupon for 2 units will, for instance, now be worth one gallon of petrol instead of two. This reduction does not affect motor cycles or tricycles.

EXTRA CHEESE RATIONS. – County road men are among new classes of heavy workers who are to be granted the special 8 oz. a week cheese ration already allowed to agricultural workers, announced the Ministry of Food at the week-end. The new classes entitled to the ration will be county roadmen, forestry workers, land drainage workers and land girls, workers on threshing machines and tractors, railway train crews (excluding dining car staffs), signalmen, and permanent way men, who have no access to canteens. The special ration will operate from September 22.

BREAD WRAPPING WILL STOP. – Wrapping and slicing bread will be prohibited, and the use of oil and fats in bread making restricted by an Order which takes effect of September 29, says the Ministry of Food…..



£394,893 3s 7d is announced by Orkney War Weapons Week Hon. Secretary William C. Barrack, as the final total of the county’s investments during the week. – The target figure was £100,000…..

The appeal to honorary secretaries of Savings Groups to make great efforts to increase their “business” in War Weapons Week did not fall on deaf ears. Some secretaries put themselves to no end of trouble to get the most out of their group. Astronomical figures were achieved by some. Here are some of the higher achievements:…..[ninth in the list was Rousay, Egilsay and Veira Co-op, with a creditable sum of £255 10s 0d.]

1941 September 10 Orkney Herald

CONTROL OF PHOTOGRAPHY. – The Control of Photography Order No. 3 has been replaced by another Order, No. 4, which entirely prohibits the use of cameras in Orkney and Shetland. Order No. 3 permitted the use of a camera on private property, but this is now no longer permissible.

ROUSAY – S.W.R.I. – The monthly meeting of Rousay branch of the S.W.R.I. was held in Frotoft School on August 26. The meeting was presided over by Miss Inkster, president, who gave as her motto, “It is easy enough to be pleasant when life flows by with a song, but the woman worthwhile is she who can smile when everything goes dead wrong.” The competition for this month was a buttonhole, worked at the meeting. There were eleven entries, which were judged by Mrs Kirkness, Quoyostray, and Miss Mainland, Westness. The prizes were awarded as follows: – 1 Mrs Craigie, Furse; 2 Mrs Gibson, Lopness: 3 Mrs Maclean, Sourin Schoolhouse. A most amusing interlude was caused by Miss Inkster’s suggestion that the members should try to write their names and addresses on a piece of paper held on their foreheads. Some fantastic results were handed in. The hostesses for the evening were Mrs Marwick, Breck; Miss Mainland, Westness, and Miss Anna Yorston, Yorville. A most enjoyable meeting was hurried to a close owing to the darkness coming down quickly. There will be no meeting in September. The next meeting will be held in the Wasbister School on a date to be fixed later.

[Everyone had to be home before the evening blackout came into operation.]

1941 October 1 Orkney Herald

PHOTOGRAPHY ORDER: AMENDMENT AFFECTING ORKNEY AND SHETLAND. – A fortnight ago it was intimated that, under a new Photography Order, the use of cameras in Orkney and Shetland was entirely forbidden. By an amendment to this Order, however, it is again permissible to use cameras on private property but not in public in Orkney and Shetland. This is a reversion to the provisions of the Control of Photography Order (No. 3) of 1940, by which “no person shall, without a written permit, have any photographic camera with him in any public place within the counties of Orkney and Shetland.” A camera may be used on private property, such as a garden or within a house.

1941 October 15 Orkney Herald



Restrictions on the taking of photographs in the Orkney and Shetland area are clarified in an official statement just issued to the Press. A previous Order which permitted the taking of photographs on private property or indoors without a permit has now been cancelled, and although there is still no restrictions on possession of a camera, its use is prohibited except to authorised persons. Any person taking photographs in a house or in a garden or backyard now commits an offence in terms of the Defence Regulations. The term “photograph” also includes any sketch, plan or other representation.

The Control of Photography Order (No. 4) 1941, states that any civilian person desiring a permit to operate a camera should make application to The Commandant, No. 2 Protected Area, whose address is obtainable from the Police or Defence Authorities anywhere in the county.

Permits to operate cameras are issued for essential reasons only, and it is an offence, further, for any permit holder to publish any photograph, sketch, plan or other representation until it has been submitted to and approved for publication by the authority who granted the permit. “To publish” means to make copies of, or circulate copies of, or otherwise exhibit.

1941 November 12 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – S.W.R.I. – The annual business meeting of Rousay branch of the S.W.R.I. was held in Wasbister School on October 31, when there was a good attendance of members and visitors present. Miss Inkster, president, gave as her motto, “We are not here to play, to dream, or drift, we have hard work to do and loads to lift: Shun not the struggle, face it; ‘Tis God’s gift.” Thereafter the Secretary read the minutes of the previous meeting, which were approved. The annual reports of the Secretary and Treasurer ware received and adopted. The President, in her remarks, thanked the Committee for their help, and the members who had worked so well for the W.V.S. Voting by ballot for the new committee then took place, the tellers being Mrs R. Mainland, Mrs H. I. Gibson, and Mrs James Grieve. During the counting of the votes Mrs Paterson played some selections, and a competition, “Sing, Say or Penny Pay,” helped to pass the time pleasantly. The new office-bearers appointed are as follows: – President, Miss M. A. Inkster, Cogar; vice-president, Mrs Wm. Flaws, Hammerfield; secretary, Mrs R. E. Paterson, Brinian House; and treasurer, Mrs R. Mainland, Nearhouse. The Wasbister ladies then served tea, a feature of which was a birthday cake presented by Miss Inkster. The competition for the evening – Turnip Lantern – only produced one entry – a capital one – from Miss Dorothy Mainland, Hurtiso, who thus obtained the prize kindly given by Mrs James Grieve. The member who gained the most points in the monthly competitions was Mrs H. I. Gibson, Bigland. It was decided to hold the meetings monthly – the next being in Sourin on Friday, November 28. The competitions for that evening will be: (a) One pair knitted socks from Brora 3-ply wool, to be given to the soldiers; (b) Thin oatcakes, divided in four quarters, without shortening. It was announced that the next egg collection will take place on December 8. Votes at thanks were proposed by Mrs Kirkness to Miss Inkster for the birthday cake, the tellers and hostesses. A very hearty meeting was brought to a close by the singing of the National Anthem.

1941 November 26 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – FOR GOOD CAUSES. – Miss Gibson, Frotoft School, has received from The Donaldson Trust, Edinburgh, an acknowledgement of £6 5s 6d, which was collected in Rousay recently for the Trust. From the sale of poppies, £7 5s 6d was collected for the Earl Haig Fund. Miss Gibson desires to thank teachers and pupils in Wasbister and Sourin for their kind co-operation in their respective districts.

EVIE – WINTER. – Winter is now very evident over the land, and the countryside is not inviting these dark November days. The cold, bare fields, wet, muddy pathways and chill, damp winds all have wet blanket effects, making life dull and cheerless. About the only sign of life in the open during the short day is the ploughman and his team turning the soil in preparation for next year’s crop. Cattle no longer browse on the pastures, but are housed and fed indoors. The long nights spent longer for lack of the usual entertainments which the blackout, and other exigencies of war prevent.