In Print

Newsprint – 1944

1944 January 4 Orkney Herald

FROM HMS NESS. – Two telegrams have reached Orkney from H.M.S. Ness, the county’s adopted frigate. The first came to the Lord Lieutenant of Orkney and Zetland, Mr Alfred Baikie of Tankerness, C.B., at his home. Sent by the ship’s commanding officer, Lieut.-Commander Rupert Marchington, R.N.V.R., the telegram states: – “Very happy Christmas to you all in Orkney, and a Great Year of Victory to come.” The second telegram, also despatched by Lt.-Cdr. Marchington, is addressed to the hon. treasurer of the H.M.S. Ness Orkney Link Fund, Mr J. W. Dickson, M.B.E., Union Bank, Kirkwall, and reads: – “Please convey our most grateful thanks to the people of Orkney for magnificent gift, and assure them we are making all our efforts to finish Jerry and come and spend next Christmas with you.” Orkney’s Christmas gift to the ship’s company of H.M.S. Ness was a cheque for £50 despatched by Mr Dickson to the Royal Naval Amenities Fund at the Admiralty.

1944 January 18 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – DISTRICT NURSING ASSOCIATION. – A very successful function was held in Sourin Hall on Friday evening in aid of the Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre District Nursing Association. The proceedings began with a whist drive. Rev. R. R. Davidson, president of the Association acted as card master. Following the whist, parcels were laid out for a “Bring and Buy” sale. These were quickly disposed of, and great was the amusement as the contents of the parcels were displayed. Tea was then served by members of the committee and helpers. Prizes to the whist winners were presented by Mrs H. Harcus. Votes of thanks were accorded to Rev. R. R. Davidson for taking charge of the whist, to Mrs Harcus for presenting the prizes, to the committee and helpers, and to all those who had given donations and parcels. After tea the hall was cleared for dancing – music being supplied by the Wasbister Band. After all expenses were paid the sum of £20 remained to add to the funds of the Nursing Association. Prizes – Ladies – 1 Miss Elsie Donaldson, 2 Anna Yorston; consolation, Mrs T. Gibson; Gents – 1 Mr Armit Sinclair, 2 Mr Wm. Flaws; consolation, Mr S. Inkster; Children – Girls – Gertrude Moar; Boys – Edward Seatter.

1944 February 1 Orkney Herald

WAS IT SACRILEGE? – A reader has complained to us that he saw a lady powdering her nose in St Magnus Cathedral during the recital of vocal and instrumental music on Thursday. St Magnus Cathedral has seen many strange rites performed within its walls during the past 800 years, including the sentencing of so-called witches and sorceresses. Again, cosmetics, in spite of the fact that this is the fifth year of war, seem to be as plentiful as ever. Therefore, lest our names go down to posterity as perpetrators of such injustices as burning innocent women at the stake, we refrain from comment on the Lady with the Puff.

1944 May 2 Orkney Herald

EVIE – PEATS. – Peat-cutting days are here again, and though there has been a decline in the use of peats in recent years, there is now an urge to get to the moors for the home-produced fuel. There is no deficiency of moss, but peats, not being readymade, entail an enormous amount of labour in preparation, and peat workers are few or none these days. No doubt, however, a hard effort will be exerted to obtain a few turves for the winter fires when only limited supplies of coal are available. The tusker has already been employed.




Since the war came to Orkney, and brought with it many talented men and women of the Services to our county, a number of interesting Service publications have followed.

In October 1940 a number of young Fleet Air Arm and R.A.F. lads, under the editorship of Naval Air Photographer “Bob” King, opened the ball with “The Hatston Chronicle.”

For roughly a year the “Chronicle” provided humour and news for Hatstonians and Kirkwallians – quite a few copies were sold in Kirkwall – but, as was bound to be the case with an “unofficial” paper of the kind, it departed! Or rather, the editorial staff departed!

A year or so afterwards “Bob” King, now a full-blown officer in the R.N.V.R., returned to the Orkney Isles, which he had loved, on holiday before sailing for Alexandria.

While the little “Chronicle” was jogging placidly along the Orkney soldier-novelist, Major Eric Linklater of Dounby, came on the scene. “The Blast” was founded on January 17, 1941, and though published at Stromness, was printed at “The Orcadian,” Kirkwall.

Produced on a much more ambitious scale “The Blast” immediately appealed to all classes of Service men and women in the county, and not a few “civvies” as well, and to-day is still going strong as ever it did, its fame having spread to the far corners of the earth, and its agencies established in almost every corner where serving men and women are gathered together in these islands. Recently “The Blast” extended its orbit to include Shetland, and now prints a Shetland edition each week.

Early in 1942 came the “Northern Light,” more in the form of a magazine. In fact, “Northern Light” emulated to a certain extent the world-famous “London Opinion” and “LiIliput,” and was profusely illustrated with humorous cartoons and photos of glamorous film stars. The “Light” was published by the Education Centre, Lyness, and had a considerable sale to men of the Navy afloat and ashore. Its life was brief, however, only three or four monthly issues forthcoming.

Other little unit papers and magazines, with more or less local appeal, have been published in Orkney, the latest of which is the “Northern Ack Ack Record.”

“Northern Ack Ack Record,” an eight-page monthly magazine, was born in March this year. Though designed mainly as a unit magazine, for sale to members of the Naval Anti-Aircraft Service in Orkney, quite a few of these interesting little journals find their way into the hands of civilians…..



FOR SALE, by Public Roup, within the chambers of Messrs Macrae & Robertson, Solicitors, Commercial Bank Buildings, Kirkwall, on 15th May 1944, at 12 o’clock noon, the subjects known as SOURIN MANSE, ROUSAY, with 3¼ acres of ground or thereby. Upset price, £500. Entry and actual occupation, 27th May 1944. No burdens. For further particulars, apply to the Subscribers who have the Title Deeds and Articles of Roup. – MACRAE & ROBERTSON, Solicitors. Kirkwall, 19th April 1944.

1944 May 9 Orkney Herald

EVIE – THE LATE MRS SPENCE. – Much regret been expressed here at the death of Mrs Mary Spence, wife of Major William Spence, which occurred at Hullion, Rousay, on Monday, May 2nd. Major and Mrs Spence had only recently retired to Orkney from Edinburgh, and made their home in Rousay. Eldest daughter of the late Mr David Gibson of Hullion, Mrs Spence was a nurse before her marriage, and spent the greater part of her life out of Orkney. She had been associated with Evie for a long time, having come with the family to Harbour Cottage every summer for many years and spent a long holiday. She was surrounded by many relations and won many friends who will retain happy memories of one who was ever kind and true. The funeral took place last Wednesday to Evie Churchyard, the officiating clergymen being Rev. Mr Davidson, Rousay, and Dr Campbell, Evie. Sincere sympathy is extended to the husband and family of four – Mr Donald Spence, Nigeria; Mrs Rutherford, Edinburgh; Mrs Taylor, Evie, and Mrs Porteous, Edinburgh.

1944 June 6 Orkney Herald

DEATHS – INKSTER. – At Greenfield, Rousay, on May 29th, 1944, Frederick Traill Inkster, J.P., aged 75 years, beloved husband of Isabella Craigie. Very sadly missed.

1944 June 13 Orkney Herald

ORKNEY’S “SALUTE THE SOLDIER” WEEK. – Up to 8 p.m. on Monday evening Orkney had raised almost a third (£45,171 6s 2d) of the £150,000 target aimed at, which is to clothe and equip three parachute battalions.

With such a send-off there is no reason why Orkney should not smash the target aimed at, double it…..In both country districts and town, entertainments and other functions too numerous to mention are getting well under way…..

[Rousay’s target was £3,000; Egilsay’s was £200, and Wyre £100…..The following week’s issue of the Orkney Herald revealed £265,882 12s 3d had been raised in support of the “Salute the Soldier” week. Every Orkney island and mainland parish revealed how much they had raised….except Rousay. There has been no ‘news’ from the island for many, many months now – and I have no way of finding out why!]

1944 June 27 Orkney Herald

EVIE – FISHING. – The cuithe season is here, and in the past week many fishers have handled their wands and set out for the fishing grounds. With favourable winds and tides, catches have been good, and the fish, cooked to a nicety, have been a great treat. Out-sea fishing in quest of cod and haddock has also been tried recently, but without success.

JUNE. – The longest day has slipped past, and June, loveliest of all the months, is tapering out. Usually a dry month in the north, it has this year belied its reputation, there having been ample moisture throughout. Summer having reached its full pride, the country is looking its best. The landscape is a study in green and gold, the sparkling atmosphere of blue sea and skies enhancing the beauty. The arable patches are showing wonderful fertility, all crops, though later than usual, developing satisfactorily, and granted the sunshine and heat now due, may possibly yield an abundant harvest.

PEATS. – This has been a disastrous season for peats, and those who have made use of the tusker have had some cause to worry over the results of their labours. Weather, the all-important factor in curing peats, has done its worst, and though the turves may yet dry sufficiently to be brought to the homestead, quality will be lacking, the substance having been washed out by long exposure to exceptionally wet conditions.

1944 July 18 Orkney Herald

BIBLE SAVES A LEITH SOLDIER [By A Military Correspondent]. – Stories of “near misses” and hair-breadth escapes abound after any battle, but it falls to very few people to have such a lucky escape as Private Angus Corrie experienced recently.

Pte. Corrie, whose home is at 1, South Lorne Place, Leith, Edinburgh, was with his battalion in recent fighting.

“We were under heavy machine gun fire,” he told me, “when I suddenly felt something hit me in the right breast pocket. I thought I must have been wounded, but was surprised that I did not feel any pain, so I just carried on. It was not until after the battle that I realised what a narrow escape I had had.”

To back up his statement, Corrie, who was still wearing the battle dress with the bullet hole in the pocket, pulled out his Pay Book and another small book. The hole went right through the Pay Book and was continued through the second book, which was an abridged copy of the Bible. He opened it up at the last page and showed me the bullet still embedded there in the leaves. Printed on the last page was the hymn “Abide with me.”

ORKNEY’S NEW MODERATOR. – The Rev. R. R. Davidson, M.A., of Rousay Church, was appointed Moderator of the Orkney Presbytery of the Church of Scotland at the Presbytery’s meeting last Tuesday. Mr Davidson will officiate for six months instead of the full year on account of the difficulties confronting travellers between Rousay and the Orkney mainland. The meeting of the Presbytery was held in the hall of King Street Church, Kirkwall, and the chair was occupied at the outset by the retiring Moderator, the Rev. John Anderson, St. John’s, Finstown, who is the first Orkney Moderator to fill the office for a full year in accordance with the growing practice of Presbyteries to elect Moderators for twelve instead of six months.  

POLICE OFFICER DIED FOLLOWING ACCIDENT. – Following an accident in Kirkwall on June 7, in which he sustained injuries to the head and shoulder, and for which he has been treated at Balfour Hospital during the past number of weeks, Mr David Inkster died there on Saturday.

A native of Rousay, Mr Inkster, before retiring to Orkney about 15 years ago, was a Detective-Sergeant in the Govan Division of Glasgow City Police. Since the beginning of the war he has been a War Reserve Constable in the Orkney Police, and has resided at the Queen’s Hotel, Kirkwall.

It will be recalled that Mr Inkster, who is 65 years of age, was cycling westwards along Harbour Street after having been home to the Queen’s Hotel for lunch. On reaching the Kiln Corner he collided with the near side rear end of a motor vehicle which was going in the same direction and which was one of a number of vehicles using the junction at the time. Thrown off the cycle, Mr Inkster received injuries to his forehead and right shoulder and was knocked unconscious. He was conveyed to hospital by Police ambulance and was found by Mr McClure, the Surgeon Superintendent, to be suffering from fractures of the skull and right collarbone.

Mr Inkster’s remains, it is understood, will be interred in his native isle of Rousay. Deepest sympathy is expressed to all relatives and friends.

[David James Inkster, born on December 1st 1878, was the son of Hugh Inkster, Brittany, and Eliza Robson Kirkness, Quoyostray.]

1944 August 5 The Scotsman


One of the loveliest of all British wild flowers is the Pyrola, or Wintergreen……

The other day, rummaging in Mr Magnus Spence’s delightful ‘Flora of Orkney,’ I was delighted to find that he too shared my ecstatic feelings about the Pyrola . He had gone to the Island of Rousay to see Pyrola rotundifolia in her rare habitat, “near the Goukheads where the Sourin Burn flows from the Muckle Water.” There he came upon “a glorious display, the dark-brown heather served as a background for the lovely waxen pink and white blossoms, which grew in slightly waving racemes so far apart as to enhance the beauty of the scene. Eager to touch, yet loth to destroy, I lay down amid the heather and admired the picture. It is, I think, without exaggeration the prettiest flower in Orkney. ” – I.W.H.

1944 August 8 Orkney Herald

EVIE – FARM. – Turnip singling has been finished and the young plants are growing vigorously. The cereals are making rapid progress, and harvest prospects are good. Most of the hay has been built, and what little remains on the fields is now ready for the stack. The crop is fairly bulky over all, and seldom have we seen such favourable conditions for the curing of it. Peats are ready for burning, and carts and lorries are now engaged bringing them to the homesteads. They will be a welcome addition to the fuel supply.

ROUSAY W.R.I. VISITS COSTA. – A meeting of the Costa W.R.I. was held in the School at Costa last Friday evening, when the branch was visited by members of the Rousay Institute. Miss Sutherland, president, introduced and welcomed the party, thereafter vacating the chair in place of Mrs Wm. Flaws [Mabel Sinclair], vice-president of the Rousay W.R.I. Mrs Flaws in a few words thanked Miss Sutherland for her kind welcome, and said the event was particularly interesting as being the first time the Rousay W.R.I. had visited any other branch. A most enjoyable programme was submitted by the visitors. The hostesses were Miss Brass and Miss Baikie, who served a very nice tea accompanied by many good cakes. Mrs Kirkness thanked the Costa members for their kind reception, and hoped they would soon see their way to return to Rousay on a second visit. Miss Sutherland expressed her appreciation of the delightful entertainment that had been given them, and a warm vote of thanks was accorded. The meeting closed with the singing of “Auld Lang Syne” and “God Save the King.”

1944 September 5 Orkney Herald



With four days still to go before the Orkney Home Guard Red Cross Week opens, the money is already coming in to units all over the county. At H.Q. in Kirkwall, Major Bruce, the honorary treasurer of the scheme, has over £200 in hand.

The Week will run from Saturday, September 9, till Saturday, September 16, and will be opened by Major-General J. N. Slater, C.B.E., M.O., the General Officer Commanding the Orkney and Shetland Defences…..

The general public must forgive any little touches of “whitemail” that become apparent. All is justified for the good of the cause. After all, “whitemail” for the Red Cross, for the wounded, is a small price to pay for protection from the mailed fist of Hitler, which is what the Home Guard have given you.

“For the Wounded” is the slogan for the Week.

A Lyness officer who travelled north from England just over a week ago in an ambulance train, telephones this message to the organisers: –

“I wish your scheme all success. I learned of it in a three days’ old London evening newspaper. In the train I met an officer of a Highland regiment, wounded in France. He told me he was stationed last year and this year in Hoy and in Stenness. We talked a lot about Orkney. That lad is one of the many for whom the Orkney Home Guard Red Cross Week will do untold good. The Red Cross funds for the wounded need every penny.

“In Orkney we are away from the war – no flying bombs, no women and children being blown to pieces. Because of our immunity we may feel slack about doing something. We must not. It is up to us all, not only the Home Guard, to make a big success of the Week.”

District Plans. – The little unit in Wyre are making a door-to-door collection and running a dance. Eday Home Guard are making a house-to-house collection also. Holm’s highlight is a football match, followed by a dance. Rendall are starring in a tug o’ war tussle with Wasswick. Harray are staging a football match with Dounby A.T.C. on September 15, and a dance. Unique is Harray’s exhibition of old coins at Dunsyre, every evening till September 16. Admittance on payment of new coins!

Rousay plans a door-to-door collection and, on 8th September, a whist drive and dance, with various guessing competitions, etc…..

1944 September 12 Orkney Herald

THE BLACKOUT. – With the announcement last week that the blackout regulations would be released from this week-end, when clocks are to be changed from Double to Single British Summer Time, the question in the mind of everyone in Orkney has been “Will it apply here?” As no further announcement had been made up to Monday evening, we regret we are unable to clear up the ambiguity.

EVIE – HARVESTING. – All grainfields are becoming golden, and harvesting operations will be general this week. The tractor is being largely used and large fields speedily fall to the reaper. The crops so far are in good condition for cutting, and being only fairly heavy will not be readily affected through the agency of weather. It is customary for neighbouring farmers to combine in field work at this season, thus saving much time and helping to shorten the harvest.

1944 September 19 Orkney Herald

STRIKING SUCCESS OF HOME GUARD WEEK FOR THE WOUNDED. – Inundated with collecting boxes and bags filled with hard cash, mainly from the country districts and isles, Major James Bruce, treasurer of the Home Guard Red Cross Week, was unable on Monday to give a definite total of the gross takings to date. He is confident, however, that well over £3,000 will go to help the wounded as a result of Orkney Week…..

ROUSAY – FOR THE WOUNDED. – During the past week members of the Rousay Home Guard have made a special effort to raise money for the Red Cross. In each district a door-to-door collection was made, with gratifying results. Then, on 8th September, a whist drive and dance was held in Sourin Hall. After whist scores had been taken the company was asked to take part in many unusual competitions. This caused much amusement, and there was keen rivalry for the handsome prizes. Dancing then began, music being supplied by members of the Wasbister Band. During an interval tea was served by the Home Guard and some lady friends. Then Mrs Pirie, wife of Sgt. Pirie, presented prizes to the winners. She was accorded a very hearty vote of thanks on the call of Corporal Hourie. Dancing was resumed and carried on until the “wee sma’ ‘oors.” Money raised, to date, for the Red Cross amounts to £51 5s 5d. After expenses have been deducted a handsome sum will remain to be handed over to the Red Cross. Members of the Home Guard take this opportunity of thanking all who in any way rendered assistance during their Red Cross Week. The following is the prize list: – Whist – Ladies – 1 Mrs S. Inkster, 2 Mrs Maclean; consolation, Miss P. Corsie; Gents – 1 Mr N. Munro, 2 Mr J. C. Marwick; consolation, Mr M. Flaws. First Cake Competition – Mrs Wm. Marwick and Miss Netta Russell, Second Cake Competition – Mr S. Craigie; Saccharin Competition – Mr A. Gibson; Peas in Bottle Competition – Mr Edwin Moar; Good Meal Competition – Mrs R. Harcus; Work-Box Competition – Mrs D. Miller.

[A short time later the treasurer revealed gross receipts from the Orkney Home Guard Red Cross Week amounted to £4,133 14s 4d. Rousay’s contribution was £54 8s 9d, and Wyre £20.]

1944 September 26 Orkney Herald



A new epoch is upon us. The lifting of the blackout brings up a foretaste of victory. But there are many who will not get back to see the lights in the windows at home, the ones who have laid down their lives and paid the price of victory.

What kind of a world did they die for?

They saved us from Hitler’s kind, and they wanted something bigger than the 1918-39 kind too. They died for a brand new world.

Who is going to make it happen? We are. Forty-five million of us. Their sacrifice can be a spur to our living.

A young officer who has given his life in the liberation of France foresaw how the new world must be built. He wrote in one of his last letters:

“What example will Britain show to a strife-torn world? There are two sorts of ideas which will determine the answer.

“The first preachers grab get all you can while there’s a chance. You’ve got to look after number one. Demand all you can get. Have a good time, more money, more comfort, more power.

“The other idea says – fight for sound homes for our soldiers to come back to. Fight for teamwork in industry, team-work in office, factory, farm. Industry run on the give and take of democracy will give you and your country more happiness than a divided, squabbling and embittered industry. Fight for a united nation. Unity in the country will bring more lasting peace and security to you and everyone than any selfish or sectional grains you may grab for yourself.

“The way the world will be run will be decided by the way the people of Britain respond to this choice.”

1944 October 3 Orkney Herald

DEATHS. GIBSON – Reported killed in action in North West Europe, on 11th Sept. 1944, L/Sgt. John S. Gibson, Seaforths, aged 25 years, third son of J. S. Gibson, and the late Mrs Gibson, formerly of Hullion, Rousay.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. Mr Gibson and family desire to thank all neighbours and friends for kindness and sympathy in their bereavement. – Frotoft Schoolhouse, Rousay.

[Serjeant John Sinclair Gibson, 2nd Seaforths, died at Le Havre, and is buried in Grave 7, Row P, Divn. 67, Ste. Marie Cemetery, Le Havre, Seine-Maritime, France. John’s parents were James Sinclair Gibson and Mary Gibson (née Cooper). Before he joined up John worked at home, Hullion, Rousay. He went through the whole of the North African campaign, then returned to Britain to take part in the invasion of France.  John survived the Normandy campaign, but was killed during the fighting to clear the Germans out of the port of Le Havre.]

1944 October 24 Orkney Herald

WEATHER REPORTS NOW. – From the early days of the war we have been reluctantly compelled to “cut” all references to the weather from reports sent in by correspondents and from our own reports, much to the detriment of both. For five years the weather in all parts of Britain has been one of the most jealously kept secrets, but a secret no longer necessary to keep. Now the strict censorship hand down that weather reports could not be published till ten days after has been cut to two days, excepting snow or floods, which are still subject to a five-day embargo. One more augury of better times ahead!

1944 November 7 Orkney Herald



In a report to the Emergency Committee of Orkney County Council at its meeting on Nov. 1, 1944, Mr Alex. Doloughan, A.R.P. Officer, stated: –

“Now that the ban on publication of details of air raids occurring in the early part of the war has been lifted it is possible to give the following information to the public on enemy activity in Orkney since the early days of the war.

“The Alert has been sounded in the county 75 times since the war began but, of course, enemy planes have been over the islands on many occasions when Alerts were not sounded and on at least two occasions bombs were dropped when no Alert was sounded at all.

“In all, 228 bombs and 2 parachute mines have fallen on land in the county in 16 attacks. Casualties have been remarkably light – 3 persons killed, 11 seriously injured and 5 slightly injured. These include the first civilian casualty to die due to enemy action in this country – James Isbister, who was killed at the Bridge of Waithe on 16th March 1940. The first bomb fell in the country in Hoy on the 17th October 1939.

“Hoy has suffered the largest number of attacks, having been bombed 5 times. South Ronaldshay, 3 times; Flotta and Sanday, twice, and Shapinsay and Burray once; while two lighthouses, on Auskerry and Suleskerry, were each bombed once without serious damage or casualties.

“Bombs fell on the mainland in the following parishes: – Deerness, Holm, St Ola, Stenness and Tankerness, and in addition Stromness suffered on one occasion from an attack by a raider who machine-gunned the town along its entire length from a low altitude.

“Incendiary bombs fell in several of the early attacks, but they were particularly ineffective. Many fell in the sea, some on moorland, setting fire to heather, but only one caused anything like a serious fire – it fell in a stackyard in Stenness and burned out several stacks of corn.

“Damage to property from high explosive bombs has fortunately been of the same minor scale. In the heaviest raid, namely on March 16th, 1940, 6 cottages were more or less severely damaged at Bridge of Waithe and damage occurred at Craigiefield and Graemeshall – chiefly confined to broken windows.

“The various A.R.P. Services, under the control of the late Chief Constable of Orkney, Mr W. Colin Campbell, Esq., O.B.E., proved entirely adequate to deal with incidents, which, it must be remembered, were unprecedented in the history of this country. Much valuable knowledge accrued to the Central Authorities as a result of Orkney’s early experience of raids, and one of the most commendable features of the picture presented by the accounts of these early raids was the excellent, accurate and speed reporting of movements of enemy planes at a time when no Observer Corps existed to supply the information.”

1944 November 21 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – POPPY DAY. – Poppies sold by schoolchildren in Rousay realised £10 6s for the Earl Haig Fund. Teachers and pupils are thanked for their kind co-operation.