In Print

Newsprint – 1946

[Despite virtually no mention of Rousay in the Orkney Herald I will continue to scan the newspaper’s pages – just in case something crops up! In the meantime I will include items of interest – such as the return of the Ba’ after its lapse during the war years.]

1946 January 1 Orkney Herald



After having been in eclipse during the six war years, Kirkwall’s age-old street ba’ games, contested between Up-the-Gates and Down-the-Gates, were revived on Christmas Day, to the intense interest of the younger generation who remembered the games only vaguely if they remembered them at all, and of the Servicemen and Servicewomen still in the Kirkwall area. Expectations voiced by some that the pre-war keenness of the games would be lacking, proved to be unfounded, and, last Tuesday, Uppie and Doonie feeling ran as high as ever.

An innovation this Christmas, and in the view of many citizens, not entirely a welcome one, was the provision of a ba’ contest for women, which was played between the boys’ and men’s games. There was considerable opposition to the holding of this game, on the grounds that it world prove to be an undignified exhibition, but notwithstanding a strong rumour which circulated on Christmas Eve to the effect that the women’s ba’ had been cancelled, the game duly took place, although there were a good many ladies who apparently were misled by the rumours and consequently did not turn up to support their side.

Boy’s Ba’ Over Quickly.

The boy’s ba’, thrown up from the Market Cross at 10 a.m. by Mr James D. Nicholson, was over in what must have been almost record time. Very few players had assembled and late-comers on this occasion were certainly caught on the hop, for less than five minutes after the ball had been thrown up the game was over.

A speedy Down-the-Gates youngster, securing the leather from the throw up, dashed down towards Albert Street, where he handed it on to a colleague. Evan MacGillivray, Laing Street, who raced off down into Bridge Street, and covering the remaining distance to the harbour basin in the manner of a rugby three-quarter, set the seal on the Down-the-Gates victory by dropping the ball in the water as required by tradition. He was himself declared the personal winner of the ba’.

The Women’s Ba’.

The women’s contest began at 11.30 a.m., and a good number of the town’s “Amazons” had gathered when the ba’ was thrown up by Mr David Flett, town librarian. Soon after play had commenced, however, there was an extraordinary development, the ball being smuggled out of the ruck of players and “mislaid” by, it is said, some individuals hostile to the women’s game. While the New Year’s Day ball was being procured, to use as a substitute, the missing article was found in the Cathedral churchyard by Mr Eoin Mackay and thrown up anew. From this point the ladies tore into it in a style more reminiscent of the Red Devils at Arnhem than of Kirkwall’s fair sex. No quarter was asked and none given, but there were complaints of too-partisan males taking an active part in the game, and while all of them could not be dealt with, at least one interfering “gentleman” took an aching “lug” home with him to his Christmas dinner.

The Uppies for a while exerted the strongest pressure, and the ball was gradually carried up into Victoria Street, but there the Doonies rallied, and, digging their toes in, damped their opponents’ over-confidence by regaining their lost ground and pushing the ball down past the Market Cross to Castle Street, where the scrum swirled down to Junction Road and an Uppie break-away there took the ball as far as the Police Station before the Down-the-Gates scrambled back into defence.

Play reached a stalemate at the Police Station and the ball had to be thrown up again by Mr Price, jr. Thereafter, with the Doonies resisting grimly, the Up-the-Gates, inspired by the nearness of the Scapa corner, forced their opponents along the road, and another breakaway brought the game to a victorious conclusion just before one o’clock. The ball was awarded to Miss Barbara Yule, of High Street, who had been an outstanding player for the winners.

There was nothing gentle about this contest of the members of the gentle sex, but fortunately none of the participants suffered any hurt beyond scratches and bruises. A couple of players were said to have fainted during the excitement of the scrimmages, but the casualties, for the most part, were confined to permanent waves, hats, scarves, shoes and stockings. Any lady rash enough to venture into the proceedings wearing her best Christmas finery had good cause to regret it.

The Men’s Ba’.

Chief interest, of course, centred on the men’s ba’, which was thrown up at 1 p.m. by Mr W. H. B. Sutherland, chemist, in the presence of a large and enthusiastic crowd. Augmented by Service people and other strangers who had never previously witnessed the unique Kirkwall game, it was one of the biggest “galleries” the ba’ has ever had. There was some surprise, however, that so few representatives of the Services took part in the game itself, and the players were actually fewer than might have been expected, though their numbers increased as the game progressed. There was a considerable number of recruits from the pre-war boys’ games, and Orkney ex-Servicemen were well represented, but one looked in vain for some of the old familiar faces.

Though it was a very keenly-fought struggle there were no unusual incidents such as have marked out some famous ba’ games of the past. Play hung for well over an hour in Broad Street, the players sweating and straining in the drizzling rain till the steam rose from them. The Up-the-Gates made one early effort which carried the ba’ about 20 yards to the “Up” side of the Market Cross, but the Down-the Gates retrieved their position, and from then on they slowly but inexorably consolidated their position. When, shortly after two o’clock the scrum entered Albert Street it was clear that, barring “smugglings” it was destined to be a Down-the-Gates victory. Nevertheless, the Uppies put up a dour resistance, and, first at the Royal Bank, and again at Hourston’s Close, made unsuccessful attempts to break away.

Followed by an ever-growing crowd the Doonies pressed relentlessly on down Albert Street and Bridge Street, and at 3 o’clock the ball was flung into the basin, where, whether by intention or by accident, several players followed it. It was quickly retrieved (likewise the players) and awarded by unanimous agreement to Mr Hector Aitken, engineer, a Down-the-Gates stalwart.

All three of the day’s games were played in miserable weather, and the attendances were, this being considered, surprisingly good.

[The powers that be at the Orkney Herald saw fit not to give any of the New Year’s Day ba’ games any coverage at all. So, Uppie Violet Couper never saw her name in print in that particular newspaper as the winner of the second, and last ever, Women’s Ba’ game! – Doonie Jack Donaldson won the Boy’s ba’, and Uppie John Hourston the Men’s.]

1946 February 26 Orkney Herald

TELEPHONE COMMUNICATIONS INTERRUPTED. – The recent gale, accompanied by a heavy snowfall, which swept Orkney during the weekend, caused breakages in the telephone system in the county, through fallen poles and wires. For a considerable period on Saturday, Kirkwall Exchange were unable to make any contact with Birsay, Evie, Orphir, Sandwick and Hoy.

STROMNESS – WEATHER. – The weather last week was the worst of the winter. Up to the present, the weather has been, on the whole, extremely fine. Orcadians woke to a white world on Thursday morning, with snow two inches deep everywhere. The rain came on Thursday night and washed all the snow away. Friday was a fearsome day – bitterly cold and rainy. On the night of Friday-Saturday damp snow fell and made a grey, dirty mess of the whole landscape. On Saturday morning the Kirkwall-Stromness road was blocked in parts. The s.s. St Ola set out from Stromness Pier on Saturday morning but made a hasty return. While this is being written (Saturday afternoon) there is no sign of an improvement. If there is no improvement, there will be no Stromness News this week. Clear-blue cold skies and blinding blizzards alternate rapidly.

1946 March 5. Orkney Herald

INTERRUPTED SERVICES. – The heavy snowfall which covered the North of Scotland with a blanket of white, with drifts of several feet, caused widespread dislocation of traffic. County buses were unable to travel, while several out-lying farms were isolated for a short period. The County Council had some snow ploughs on the roads to clear a passage for traffic. Large numbers of army transport were ditched on the ice-bound roads, but fortunately there were no incidents of a more serious nature. Sledges became the main mode of transport in some districts, while, in the town, the youngsters made full use of the facilities provided for tobogganing, mostly at East Road, School Place and the Clay Loan. In Caithness snow ploughs could make little impression on the main roads which remained blocked to traffic for several days.

1946 March 12 Orkney Herald

THE THAW. – The thaw was neither dirty nor protracted; it came and disposed of the snow overnight. While it lay the snow was deep enough. Several funerals – there are always a lot of them at this time of the year – had to proceed to the Churchyard by sledge. The streets of Stromness were in fearful mess on the few days preceding the thaw. No attempt was made to clear the streets, although in Kirkwall a squad of men were engaged in making a clearance. People got a shock on waking up last Friday morning to discover that the snow had come back again – fortunately only a light coating of it, that melted in the sun during the day. The “real thaw” came on Saturday, with an afternoon of drenching rain that cleared off the last vestiges of the snowfall. One result of the very severe weather is that many people are suffering from a mild type of influenza, which necessitates going to bed for a few days in most cases.    

1946 April 16 Orkney Herald

EVIE – FARM. – The recent spell of wet and cold weather has greatly hampered farm work in the fields and suspended sowing operations, but it has helped vegetation and a flush of green has spread over the earth. Now the weather gives promise of a fine period, and all farmers should be sowing this week. The open winter apparently had a bad effect on sheep, and there has been much complaint of mortality in the lambing season as a result. But many lambs are gambolling over the fields.

1946 April 23 Orkney Herald

EGILSHAY – ST MAGNUS MONUMENT. – On April 16th a wreath was placed on the St Magnus Monument, Egilshay. The wreath was given by Miss [Margaret Traill] Baikie, Tankerness. The monument was erected in the year 1937 by the Rector and congregation of the Church of St Magnus the Martyr, by London Bridge, and the minister and congregation of St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall.

“ISLAND DIARY” by Islandman. – I think I mentioned last week that the accordion is the favourite musical instrument of Orcadians. In recent years it has completely ousted the fiddle from country weddings, barn dances, and family gatherings.

It is a change in the wrong direction, I can’t help thinking. There must be some reason, however, for the popularity of the “squeeze-box” in Orkney.

The first point to note is that it is a comparatively new instrument, and novelty always attracts. The second point is that it is infinitely easier to master than the violin, which requires a life-time of study.

The third and final point is probably, from our island point of view, the most interesting. The accordion makes more noise than the fiddle. Notice, you readers of old Norse literature, that the Scandinavians and Orcadians of old rarely praised their gods upon stringed instruments. The reason? Why, because the music that came from these old guitars and harps, though very soft and melodious, was in many ways incomprehensible to the Northmen. You cannot spend all your life among howling winds and mournful sea-surges, and hope to develop a taste for soft, dreamy melody.

The Norsemen liked the harsh, stirring music that their horns gave out – the music of their native seas and winds, strident tempestuous music like the Overture to the Flying Dutchman.

The intervening centuries have not changed our tastes. When the accordion reached Orkney – I do not know when, but it cannot be very long ago – our island music-makers received it, with open arms.

Here at last was an instrument they could understand and appreciate. Nowadays, whenever at a country wedding or a barn dance you see the accordionist nursing these “heaving bellows” in his tireless arms (with a glass of foaming home-brew at his elbow), you will understand that this is the translation into twentieth-century art of the winds and waves that rave round our coasts, the cry of the seagulls and the lilting accents of the island people.

And meantime the poor fiddler takes a back seat, and as he scrapes away at his exotic instrument he knows that he is fighting a losing battle.

[In the first six months of 1946 the island of Rousay was not mentioned once in the columns of the Orkney Herald. In the past fortnight every island and mainland parish celebrated Victory Week and took part in Welcome Home functions for their returning servicemen and women. Not a word from Rousay. As we already know, Rousay lost four men in WW2 – but the fate of not a single one of them was recorded by the ‘newspaper’, unlike many of those from other parts of the county.]

1946 May 7 Orkney Herald

STROMNESS – MAY DEW. – Only very few Stromnessians observed the traditional custom this year of going to the slopes of Brinkie’s Brae and washing their faces with May dew in the early morning of May Day. The custom appears to be dying out, which is a pity. Among other things, May dew has valuable cosmetic properties, and is said to give the features of whatever maiden makes use of it, irresistible charm. The dew of Brinkies Brae, say the local old people, is ten times as powerful and beauty-giving as the dew in your back garden. A lot of valuable stuff went to waste this year.

1946 May 14 Orkney Herald

EVIE – ON THE FARM. – The fields which have been under the action of the plough and the harrows during the past weeks have now been nicely neatened off, and the seed is “springing fresh and green.” The soil is in fine condition for the preparation of the turnip crop which now claims attention, but some warm showers would do much good in promoting growth. The weather this month makes the hay crop.

PEATS. – Peat time is here again, and the trek to the hills has begun. The dry bright sunny weather of the past week has been ideal for cutting the turves, and the moors were never in better condition for employing the tusker. With more limited supplies of coal in view, a greater effort than ever will be made to obtain peat fuel this year, and we hope to see at the homesteads bulky stacks as in former days when peat was the sole fuel in the county.

1946 July 1 The Scotsman

SEAWEED SURVEY. – Captain E. E. Fresson of Scottish Airways Ltd., has carried out an aerial survey of banks of seaweed off the Orkney islands with Dr Woodward, Technical Adviser to the Scottish Seaweed Research Association, Edinburgh. Good banks of seaweed were observed off North Ronaldsay, Sanday, Stronsay, Westray and Rousay. The Association are paying the islanders £3 a ton for dried tangles, plus 5s a ton for bundling.

1946 August 6 Orkney Herald


[This column was written by ‘Islandman,’ aka George Mackay Brown, and this particular week’s tale was a brief account of a Sunday afternoon bus trip around the West Mainland. Having explored Birsay the party arrived at the landing stage at Evie. GMB continues…..]

All the party set out in the evening sunlight to inspect the Broch at Aikerness, except me. Though I am interested in a mild way in the lives lived by our pre-historic ancestors, as manifested by the ruins they have left behind them, I admit to a congenital laziness which makes any great walking feat out of the question as far as I am concerned. The broch, they said, was two miles away and more, over the ribbed sea sand.

When they had all gone, and were no more than tiny moving specks against the yellow sand, I climbed on to the top of the bus, and studied with fond recognition the brown hilly outline of Rousay, two miles distant across Eynhallow Sound.

Rousay is another favourite place of mine. I lived there for a month in the summer of 1942; four sunlit peaceful weeks, while Russia was undergoing the great agony of Stalingrad, the first immense birth pains of victory. In gratitude for the happiness Rousay gave me in the days of my extreme youth, I took out my note-book and made a careful sketch of the island, as seen from the Evie landing stage.

The Almighty, however, has not in His infinite wisdom, seen fit to endow me with sketching talent. Had the result been good, I should have asked the Editor to reproduce it for your delectation somewhere in this column. However, it was an abortion that came from my pencil, quite unworthy of a lovely island; and though it remains in my notebook, no other eye but my own fond one will ever look at it…..

1946 August 13 Orkney Herald

FROTOFT GALA DAY – Successful Picnic and Sports. – The annual Frotoft picnic was held at Frotoft School, Rousay, on Friday, 12th July. Although the day was dull, rain did not fall until the sports had ended. After milk and “cookies” had been served at 3 p.m., the sports began. Tea was served in the school about 6 o’clock. After tea Mrs Maclean, Sourin Schoolhouse, presented the prizes to the winners. She was accorded a hearty vote of thanks. Votes of thanks were also given to Mrs Harcus and the picnic committee. Then followed a short programme of songs, dances and recitations by the school children. By 8 p.m. a large company had assembled and dancing was carried on with great zest till 2 a.m., when the singing of “Auld Lang Syne” brought to a close a very enjoyable evening…..

1946 August 20 Orkney Herald


Cattle entries were well maintained, though horses and sheep were fewer than pre-war, at the annual show of Rousay Agricultural Society, held on 6th August in a field granted by Mr Robert Seatter, Banks.

At the Society’s dinner in the evening Sir Basil Neven-Spence, M.P. for Orkney and Shetland, introduced by Mr Moar, president, was accorded musical honours. The singing was led by Mr Stanley Firth. Sir Basil Neven-Spence replied to the toast of his health, proposed by Mr Moar.

The show judges were Messrs P. Davidson, Skaill, Sandwick, and J. N. Flett, Howan, Dounby.

The show arrangements were carried out by Mr Moar, president, and a Committee, with Mr Ronald Shearer as secretary.

Mrs M. Flaws, Store Cottage, formally presented the prizes, and the ladies of the Horticultural Society supplied the judges and committee with teas during the day and the dinner in the evening.

Prize List.

Sheep: – Pair H.B. Ewes – 1 and 2 R. Seatter. Pair H.B. Lambs – 1, 2, 3 and 4 R. Seatter. Best five Lambs – 1 and 2 R. Seatter. – Special Prizes. – Five Lambs – 1 and reserve, R. Seatter. Pair Ewes – 1 and reserve, R. Seatter. Best Sheep – 1 and reserve, R. Seatter.

Cattle: – Calf (1st October) – 1 Mrs T. Inkster, 2 J. Russell, 3 and 4 R. Seatter. Calf (1st March) – 1, 2 and 3 R. Johnston, 4 J. Russell, 5 W. Alexander, 6 R. Seatter.

Polled. – Bull – 1 R. Johnston. Cow – 1 and 2 R. Johnston, 3 C. Flett, 4 W. Corsie, 5 J. Russell, 6 R. Seatter. Three-year-old Cow – 1 W. Corsie, 2 J. Russell. Heifer in Calf – 1 R. Johnston, 2 J. Russell, 3 Inkster Bros. Two-year-old Heifer – 1, 2, 3 and 4 R. Johnston. One-year-old Heifer (1st Oct.) – 1 Inkster Bros., 2 J. Russell, 3 R. Johnston; ditto. (1st Mar.) – 1 Inkster Bros. Two-year-old Steer – 1 and 2 R. Johnston, 3 W. Alexander, 4 W. Corsie. One-year-old Steer (1st Oct.) – 1 R. Johnston, 2 Inkster Bros.; do. (1st Mar.) – 1, 2 and 3 R. Johnston, 4 W. Alexander, 5 and 6 Inkster Bros.

Shorthorn. – Cow – 1 Mrs Mainland, 2 R. Seatter, 3 W. Corsie, 4 J. Munro, 5 J. RusseII. Heifer in Calf – 1 R. Johnston, 2 W. Corsie. One-year-old Heifer (1st Mar.) – 1 J. Munro. Two-year-old Steer – 1 and 2 R. Seatter. One-year-old Steer (1st Oct.) – 1 W. Alexander. One-year-old Steer (1st Mar.) – 1 J. Russell, 2 and 3 Inkster Bros.

Special Prizes. – Best animal in Cattle Section – 1 and reserve R. Johnston. Shorthorn Cow – Mrs Mainland; reserve R. Seatter. Best Cow in Yard – Mrs Mainland; reserve R. Johnston. Best Shorthorn under 2½ years – R. Seatter; reserve R. Johnston. Pair Yearlings – R. Johnston; reserve Inkster Bros. Four Cattle drawn from any section – 1 and reserve R. Johnston. Butcher’s Animal – 1 and reserve R. Johnston. Best Animal in Cattle Section, under £20 rental – C. Flett; reserve J. Munro. Best Animal in Cattle Section, under £12 rental – C. Flett; reserve J. Munro. Cog-fed Calf – Mrs T. Inkster; reserve J. Russell. Best Calf in Yard – Mrs T. Inkster; reserve R. Johnston. Best two-year-old Heifer calved between 1st Jan., 1944 and 1st Jan., 1945 – 1 and 2 R. Johnston, 3 W. Corsie.

Horses: – Mare with Foal at foot – 1 J. Russell, 2 W. Alexander. Draught Mare – 1 and 3 R. Johnston, 2 J. Craigie. Two-year-old Filly – 1 J. Russell, 2 & 3 J. Craigie. One-year-old Filly – 1 R. Johnston. Draught Gelding – 1 Inkster Bros. Two-year-old Gelding – 1 R. Johnston. Foal – 1 W. Alexander, 2 J. Russell. Garron – 1 Inkster Bros., 2 and 3 J. Munro.

Special Prizes. –  Best Animal in Horse Section – 1 and reserve R. Johnston. Best Mare with Foal at foot – J. Russell; reserve W. Alexander. Gelding – R. Johnston; reserve Inkster Bros. Best Foal in Yard – W. Alexander; reserve J. Russell. Best Garron – Inkster Bros.; reserve J. Munro.

1946 August 27 Orkney Herald

ISLAND DIARY (By Islandman). – In the South, especially in England, if you want to take up golf you have to be one of the idle rich. It is almost unthinkable for a working man to contemplate it, unless he decides to starve his wife and children. In most good golf clubs in the South the subscription fees, are, for the poor man, impossibly high.

In Orkney we are fortunate in having three excellent golf courses – Kirkwall, Stromness, and Rousay – which are not beyond the pocket of the poorest message boy. Grainbank (Kirkwall), as a straightforward classic course, is superior to the other two. Stromness and Rousay are more thickly sown with maddening magnificent bunkers, and both command views which for sheer beauty are equal to anything in the country.

Pardon this preamble. What I wanted to say is that I was present as a spectator at the Hamilton Cup competition the other day at Stromness Golf Course, and I did enjoy watching the 25 golfing stalwarts struggling for the Orkney championship.

Ten of the 25 came from Kirkwall, the other fifteen were all Stromnessians. Rousay sent no competitors, as most of her players are too busy these August days in the harvest field. But I’ve seen the Rousay golfers playing, and know that their best players are as good as anything that comes out of Kirkwall or Stromness. Certainly it is true that golf in Orkney is not popular with manual workers – most of the town golfers are clerks and shop-men…..

1946 September 3 Orkney Herald

[Editorial leader article]


Every newspaper, the ”Orkney Herald” included, is essentially a co-operation between those who combine to produce the newspaper, and those who read it.

If any newspaper allows its contents to fall below a certain standard of merit and entertainment, its readers will desert it. If, on the other hand, a newspaper knows what the people want and how to give it to them, that newspaper will prosper.

A newspaper which loses touch with the people is asking for trouble, for it is really the people who mould the shape and editorial policy of every journal.

We want the “Orkney Herald” to be a real co-operative effort between the people of Orkney and ourselves.

Usually the regular readers of a newspaper are content to take what they get and say little. This applies particularly to Orkney readers. The Orkney people are noted for their extreme reticence. They dislike intensely to retail their opinions on any subject whatever. The political persuasions of the average Orkney farmer is usually a shrouded mystery, even to his nearest neighbour.

Occasionally, however, your true Orcadian launches out, and when he does speak he takes good care that nothing is left, in doubt. When an Orcadian pens a Letter to the Editor, he means every word he says.

Not all Letters to the Editor are fit for publication, and we of the “Orkney Herald” could, had we a mind to it, print a best-seller out of letters of the past eighty-five years which we have trembled to reproduce in our columns. But the vast majority of the Letters to the Editor which reach us are printed. We believe that it is right to do so.

The people of Orkney have a right to let their opinions be heard. The “Orkney Herald” is open to anyone who has something to say, unless it is libellous or seditious.

Readers will have noticed that we have no obligation to printing droll and eccentric letters. These are usually of first-rate entertainment value, and the repercussions and echoes usually go on for a few weeks. It has often happened, too, that in the past the overtly eccentric letter has proved with time to contain not a few seeds of genuine wisdom. All this is not to say that we identify ourselves with a certain few very eccentric letters which have appeared in our columns recently.

We invite you, then, to let us know if you think strongly about any matter which affects Orkney and Orkney life. The columns of a newspaper have always been a great winnowing-floor of the truth. For every opinion, no matter how thickly the chaff of irrelevance surrounds it, usually contains a sound kernel of living truth.

[You would think, I’m sure, the above editorial would have provoked some very interesting letters in reply. I’m sure folk did put pen to paper and send their letters off. Unfortunately not one of them found their way into the columns of the weekly newspaper.

I will persevere, and continue to scan each issue from the past, and leap at the chance of extracting any and every mention of…..Rousay – and all the time there isn’t, I will include reports of every-day life in the county I think will interest folk who appreciate Rousay Remembered.]

1946 September 10 Orkney Herald


To Let, with entry at Martinmas 1946, the Farm of LANGSKAILL, ROUSAY, as at present occupied by Mr C. A. M. Sinclair. The farm extends to over 300 acres, with right of grazing on 500 acres of hill. Good housing and suitable to the holding. For further particulars, apply to the Subscribers, who will receive offers up to the 30th September 1946. – T. P. & J. Low, Solicitors, Kirkwall.

[Charles Armit Sinclair was the son of Robert Craigie Sinclair, Sketquoy, and Ann Elizabeth Leonard, Cruannie. He was married to Annie May Robertson, daughter of Hugh Corsie Robertson, South Tofts, Egilsay, later Langskaill, and Mary Ann Marwick, Scockness.]

1946 November 19 Orkney Herald

TEACHERS’ TRIBUTE TO DR. MARWICK. – Teachers from all parts of Orkney attended a presentation in Kirkwall Grammar School on Saturday morning to Dr Hugh Marwick, O.B.E., on the occasion of his retirement at the end of this month from the post of Director of Education and Executive Officer of Orkney Education Committee.

The presentation of a gift of a set of the volumes, ” An inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Orkney and Shetland,” and a cheque was made in the name of the teaching profession in Orkney by Mr John Shearer, M.A., B.Sc., successor (and former pupil) of Dr Marwick.

Joining Mr Shearer in paying tribute to Dr Marwick were Mr J. R. Learmonth, headmaster of Stromness Academy; Miss Robertson, Kirbister, Stromness; Mr Alex Leask, headmaster of Kirkwall Grammar School; Mr A. M. Fotheringhame, Orphir; Mrs McLean, Sourin, Rousay, and Mr Frank Kent, Sandwick.

They spoke of Dr Marwick’s brilliance as pupil, student, teacher, headmaster and school administrator, and referred especially to his researches into the ancient Orkney language and antiquities.

1946 December 17 Orkney Herald


Dear Mr Editor. – May I congratulate you most heartily on the excellence of “The Orkney Herald,” particularly in the last few weeks. Now that war-time restrictions are being removed it is evident that you pursue a very progressive policy, and seek to provide the maximum possible in news and views.

Your paper deserves to be read far and wide! – I wish you a Happy Christmas – and a still wider circulation! – Yours, etc., SATISFIED READER.

[I’m guessing the letter above was written by the Editor himself, or at least a relation of his! It was not inserted in the usual ‘Letters to the Editor’ column. I have scanned every page of every weekly issue of the Orkney Herald for newsworthy events and not one has caught my eye for many months now! No mention of Rousay, little or nothing from Evie, and the rest of the ‘local’ news from other islands and mainland parishes does not warrant reproduction I’m afraid.]

1946 December 21 The Scotsman

MINISTER’S DEATH IN CANADA – Native of Orkney. – The Rev. John Gibson Inkster, a retired Presbyterian Church minister, died at Toronto, Canada, on Thursday from injuries sustained when struck by a car (an Exchange Telegraph message states.)

Mr Inkster was born at [Cogar] Rousay, Orkney, and went to Canada as a young man. He began to educate himself while working on the land. Later he attended M’Gill University.

Returning to Scotland, he studied theology at Edinburgh, and also attended New College, Oxford. His first church was in Bristol. He returned to Canada between thirty and forty years ago and became minister of churches in London, Ontario, and on Vancouver Island. For many years afterwards he was minister of the Knox Presbyterian Church, Toronto. When he retired, in 1940, he went to New Zealand and Australia, with his wife [Alice Rowsome], on Presbyterian business.

While on passage from New Zealand to Australia, in 1941, their ship was torpedoed, but they were rescued and taken back to New Zealand. Mr Inkster was 79.