NEWSLETTER No 30
THE WHIRL CONTINUES
After the excitement of the barn dance and the evacuees' reunion, it might have been expected that the Society pace might have slackened a bit. But particularly for the committee, life has continued to whirl along with undertakings like the distribution of our beautiful millennium calendars and of our ambitious publication "Here Come the Glasgow Keelies!" The comments on both have been favourable, and that's most encouraging, because we have a thousand copies of both book and calendar to sell, with a special urgency to getting the calendars out quickly (do you have yours yet?).
Then of course there has been the important business of our formal season's programme. It got off to a happy start with Joan Macintosh leading us in "That Reminds Me...", a memorable evening about oral history collecting. In early November we staged another successful themed coffee morning, very well supported, the alluring theme being "Kitchens and Cooking". Chair Liz Fletcher had wondered how many exhibits might be brought on loan for display, and in the event the offerings were numerous and apt. The autumn programme wound up with an unusual mix of topics as scientist and DPHS committee member Brian Boag talked about his historic Dunning family, his hobby of bats, and his professional interest, the New Zealand flatworm, all as they pertain to Dunning: a fascinating night.
THAT REMINDS ME....!
Last October 7's meeting was a delight to attend and a success in its purpose of persuading us to make a record of our memories., Dr. Joan Macintosh of Auchterarder told us about her latest project of recording the oral memories of worthies there. She challenged us to do the same. Here as a direct result of that meeting is a recollection about an early home from one of the Society's most dedicated members, Cathy Dewar.
When our "house up the Dragon" fell in, we had no alternative but to move elsewhere. So eventually we flitted to Granco Street. But it was a case of out of the frying pan into the fire because the house we flitted to was just about as bad (it's presently used as a garage by Jim Crow Builders). At least we had a roof over our heads. Thinking about it now it must have been arranged by what was known as the "Parish". Older members of the DPHS will know exactly what that term meant. Anyway it was wartime, and life then was pretty grim what with just the basics. No hot water, electricity etc. and water had to be carried in a bucket from the well in the street.
Washing clothes was a nightmare. Boiling water was obtained by means of a 'boiler' which was built outside. This was fuelled mainly by firewood, sticks which were gathered from the Dunnock by myself and other members of the family. Monday was washing day (all day). We just had to boil the clothes, then used the 'wringer' and then the 'mangle' to produce the finished laundry.
But in spite of everything we had our fun day too and at Lower Granco Street we had a natural snow-run in the winter time. Great fun was had by all sledging down the whole of the road, and right across the burn if conditions were good. There were no cars in those days, of course, which made the sledging possible.
During the war years the Army took over a lot of buildings in the village to serve as billets, stores, offices etc. The Good Templar hall (now the house called Brier Ancient) was used as a food store. It was opposite our house and I seem to remember that my father was very friendly with the storemen that worked there. The Hall had been used for all sorts of ceremonies to do with religion and in fact two of my sisters were married there.
--Cathy Dewar, Bridge of Earn Road, October 1999.
YARNS TOLD BY "A BIG LADDIE"
Alex Steel was born in Glasgow on May 2, 1928. He presently lives in Dunoon. This evacuee reminiscence was recorded just a bit too late to be considered for "Here Come the Glasgow Keelies!"
--Linocut by Albie Sinclair, an illustration from "Here Come the Glasgow Keelies!"
We went to Dinard Street School, probably about nine in the morning and waited for the Declaration of War, Then we crocodile-marched down to Kelvinbridge Station. We got trained up to Dunning, then bussed to Findo Gask. I remember the farmers coming in. One said "I'll tak' that big laddie there" and I thought "Oh God, I'm going to have to work!" So I said "You'll have to take my sister too" He said "Oh! Well, where's your sister?" I said "This is my sister." He said "She'll be company for my daughter."
We arrived at the farm, Nether Keir (it doesn't exist now, being swallowed up by construction of the A9), and next day I got initiated into the details of feeding hens, which I thought wasn't too bad. Then I got taken into the byre.
The cows had been in getting milked, and I had to muck out the byre for thirty cows. I was only eleven, and it was hard work. When we finished that, we got something else to do.
We worked only outwith school hours. Staying at the farm there was myself, my sister, and two brothers, also evacuees, who had enough after ten days and got their mother to come and take them away.
I don't know how long I went to school in Findo Gask. My mother in Glasgow was asked if she would volunteer to help in an evacuees' school hostel in a place called Ballindean, outside Inchture, Perthshire. She said yes, so we transferred to Ballindean to be with her. This would still be in 1939.
Later with the phoney war still on, we went back to Glasgow. But when the Clydebank blitz began in March, 1941, my father sent us off and we wound up again at Nether Keir farm.This time my mother was with my sister Ella and me.
While I was at Nether Keir, we had to take in the hay. The hay was cut and left to dry. If it didn't dry, you had to turn it with a fork. If it rained, you had to turn it again until it got dry. I think we turned it about five times that year.
When you got the hay dry, it was gathered into small stacks called coles. The farmer said to me "We're going to go for coles", and I thought we were going to the station for coal for the house. When we got the hay into coles, they were winched on to a flat cart and taken to the stackyard. There they had a simple apparatus which came down on the cole and picked it up. At the other end of the rope was a horse. You walked the horse away, and it pulled the cole up, and you pivoted it onto the stack and that's the way they built the stacks. The horse did all the lifting in large chunks. My job was walking the horse back and forward, and on the cart, winching the coles up.
One day the farmer asked me to take the box cart to the field to get some turnips for the cows that were in the byre. I went down to the field with the horse. The horse was a six year old Belgian called Prince. I was in the cart, and Prince, as I thought, tripped and fell. I thought "Oh gosh, what'll I do now?" When I got out of the cart to see if I could help the horse, I discovered the horse wasn't breathing. It had died. When I went back to Mr. Henderson, he was not at all pleased. He did his nut and said I'd been running the horse. Fortunately, the cattleman was down in the other field and saw what was happening and said "No, no, the horse was only walking." But I was quite cut up. Prince and I were the best of pals, and I didn't like to see him dead. And to take the blame for it from the farmer made it even worse.
I remember another time, I wasn't long at the farm. My mother was there, so it must have been the second time I went. The bull was in the reed, the breeding pen, to service a cow. When they were going to let it out, the farmer told me "You stand here. If the bull comes this way, just whack it over the nose with a stick." The bull came out of the reed, although it didn't want to. It made a beeline for me, and I just stood my ground and whacked it over the nose with my stick. At which time my mother appeared and just about had a fit when she saw me whacking this bull. Mr. Henderson got 'what for' from my mother for allowing me to do that, because you know, bulls are dangerous beasts.
My mother got a house to rent in Dunning, on the corner of The Granco near the ford. It then belonged to a Mr. Rattery, who was the head gardener at some estate or other. And he would come home only every blue moon, just on the weekends. He had a painting in the house which my mother admired "Oh, that's a lovely painting." "It should be, that's a Constable." I often wondered where that painting finished up. Mr. Rattery had no family whatsoever. His wife had died, he was all alone in the world, and I don't think he had even nieces or nephews. The house was probably sold off, and somebody got a little bargain for himself. He was head gardener and his wife was head housekeeper at some estate, and they had been there twenty years. Their employers couldn't afford to keep the estate, so they sold it, and Mrs. Rattery got this painting as a present from the lady she had worked for.
We then got a house on Thimblerow, and that's where we were until we left. At Dunning I spent most of my time fishing when I wasn't at school. Ron Freeland and I were pally. We both had an interest in aircraft. If we were in the house and we heard a plane coming, we would rush outside to see what it was. When they started the Air Training Corps, we all joined. There were about ten of us used to go to the Corps in Auchterarder in a wee van.
Ronny and I used to go up to the Royal Observer Corps post on the Muckhart Road at Findony. You couldn't join until you were sixteen, but we went up there, and the men used to let us in. The men only did R.O.C. work part time, they had their own jobs to do, and most of them weren't very clued up on aircraft. Ronny and I used to do all the spotting for them. We had the field glasses and we told them "It's a Spitfire" or whatever.
One day I was at the post and the centre phoned up. We were to look for a lost aircraft. Now a lost aircraft was recognisable: if you saw a plane flying in a triangular course and orbiting the points of the triangle two or three times, the chappie was lost. Eventually away in the distance I spied a plane doing this triangular course. I don't know who was on duty, but they phoned in and reported it. The centre came back and asked what kind of aircraft it was. It was about ten miles away! After studying it for a minute or two, I saw it banking, and it was a Hampden bomber (it had a distinctive outline like a wine-glass standing on end). We reported it. They came back and asked if we were sure. "Yes, we're sure." It was a Hampden that they lost, so they sent up a plane from Errol and guided it into Errol aerodrome. We got a phone call from the centre to say that it had landed safely and that it had just two minutes of fuel left. The next week, the Observer Post got a letter from the pilot, thanking us for spotting him.
Another thing that happened with the Observer Corps, they had Wings for Victory Week. As part of the publicity, Dunning was to get bombed by a Tiger Moth, dropping flour bags on the main street and on the roofs. The pilot came over for a rehearsal the previous week, He was actually flying up the street, lower than roof height. He made to go away, and then he saw the Royal Observer Post. He thought he'd give it a bit of a buzz, and he came down very low and made a beeline for the Observer post. Unfortunately, he caught his wheels in the fence, and the plane flipped and landed about ten feet from the door of the post. He got a broken ankle, and he sort of bent the plane a bit. I often wondered how the Observer made the official report "an Aircraft crashed, bearing...such and such, distance...ten feet from the Post door!" (laughs) As a matter of fact, if it had gone another ten feet into the Post, it probably would have caught fire and there might have been a fatality. They were really lucky.
Another hilarious episode was when there was to be an exercise for the Home Guard. We were to be attacked by the 'enemy'. I've forgotten whether the Royal Artillery which was stationed here was to be the 'enemy' or whether it was the Forteviot Home Guard. But they had one marvellous time. There were thunderflashes going off everywhere, and blank cartridges...and these thunderflashes make some bang! It was some battle. Ron Freeland and I were spotters and we were to find out where they were hiding and pass on the information. And if we could do anything to spoil it for them, we were to do it. I was watching the action, and this Home Guard soldier chucked his rifle over a wall, and I grabbed it and made off with it. And got a swift kick up the backside for my troubles!
We did a lot of work on the farms. There was a farm called Broadleys, I worked there in the summer and helped with the harvest. A farm manager is called a grieve. The grieve there was a man called Andrew Grieve. This tickled me, the grieve was a grieve. There was one particular field we were in, and I had a horse and cart. I had to put the sheaves on top of the cart. You came out of the gate, and there was a bridge with a low parapet. I was terrified this horse would fall over the bridge. I couldn't see where the wheel was because of the high load of barley I was riding on, and I kept hitting the gatepost. They lifted off the gate for me, but next time I still hit the gatepost. Eventually Andrew Grieve says to me "What are you playing at, laddie? Can ye no turn the corner?" I says "No." "Are ye frightened the horse will fall over the wall?" I says "Aye." "It's no got the slightest intention. When you come to that gate, just you drop the reins." And the horse went by, nice as you like, and I never touched the gatepost again. The horse did it itself, and I was mucking it up by turning too soon.
We worked at berry-picking. Along towards Forteviot, somebody had two fields of raspberries. You got a penny a pound for picking raspberries, and you'd be lucky if you made four shillings a day. Whereas at potatoes, you got ten shillings a day.
Not far from the Station, there was a farm where we worked the potatoes. There were two Italian prisoners working with us, and they were lazy. The farmer asked me and another boy if we could lift the creels into the cart, and we said we would try and he gave us another half crown a day. It finished up the other lad had an Italian prisoner and I had an Italian prisoner and after half an hour I discovered I was doing all the emptying of the baskets. He was walking at the back, talking to the ladies. So we fell out and...I couldn't have been any more than fourteen at the time...I took my jacket off and I was going to fight him. Fortunately for me, he just stood and laughed at me, and after that he helped.
When you went to potato picking, you were allowed to take a bag of potatoes home. So nobody in Dunning village grew potatoes. You went to the picking, there were my mother, Ella and myself , and we all had a bag of potatoes going home, and we put them in a pit we had made in the garden, a pit like the farmer used.
Wilf James persuaded me to get three days off school to help the shepherd dip the sheep at Keltie estate. The first day we rounded up the sheep and put them in the pens. The following day we dipped the lambs, which was easy. And the small ewes were easy. When it came to the rams, Wilf and I were getting hauled all over the place. We had to do one between us, we couldn't handle a ram on our own. And I don't know how many times it was us getting dipped and not the ram!
When they had a dance in Dunning, everybody went to the dance. Ten year olds to eighty year olds. It was Strip the Willows, eightsome reels, what have you. And the busiest man in the hall was a man called Jake Small. He stayed out on the Auchterarder Road in a wee cottage. Outside his house there was a pond where they used to curl. Jake Small danced every dance, and threw himself into the eightsome reel with great glee. He was a rabbit trapper by trade, and he was at least seventy-five years old.
Sometimes instead of a dance, they would have a basket whist. I was only thirteen, fourteen, but we all played the whist. There was a hostess at each table and she would provide the sandwiches and cakes and scones at the half-time break. The big thing at the basket whist wasn't the playing of the whist nor getting your supper provided, it was watching the ladies. They would come out, they would have a basket and from it they would set the table with the best linen, their best crockery and their best cutlery, and all their wee sandwiches. They almost couldn't do what they were supposed to do, because all their attention was on seeing what the woman next door had. "Hmmm, those pancakes don't look like much! Huh, that table cover's not so clean" They were all so jealous, trying to outdo each other. It was obvious even to a boy of thirteen that they couldn't do their own job for watching the others.
There were a lot of soldiers here of course and they were crazy for entertainment. They'd go to the dances, of course, and the basket whist. The Canadian soldiers here were crazy for playing quoits...horseshoes they called it. They got all the boys playing it. You'd go to Pharic Steven the blacksmith and get some old horseshoes and stick a pole up somewhere.
I used to go in and help Pharic Steven. It was a bellows-operated fire, and when Pharic was making whatever it was he was making somebody had to operate the bellows to keep the fire going.
Sometimes you'd be obliged to go to church, and there was a bellows to operate the organ. If you managed it, you could get assigned to the organ, and you would get down in the corner and do what you like until when they wanted a hymn played you had to go and work the bellows for the organ. It saved you sitting up straight during the sermon!
--Alex Steel, Dunoon, recorded in Dunning, July 1999
ANOTHER DUNNING SCENE BY HENRY HOEY...
...THIS TIME DATING BACK TO 1992
Just a note to say thanks for the always interesting newsletter. So pleased to read that the Society is flourishing. My fondest wishes go to you all with so many happy memories. I miss the friendliness of Dunning village life.
---Jamie Baker, Kirkcolm, Stranraer
I look forward with pleasure, and a tear in my eye, to reading "Here Come the Glasgow Keelies! I was one of those wee Glasgow keelies who were evacuated in 1939-40. I didn't go to Dunning, but to a place called Busby not too far from Glasgow. I have never forgotten the memories gathered there. I saw my first cow, sheep, etc, lots of new aunties and uncles. Despite the war it was a wonderful place. I had a grown-up gas mask, my sister had a mickey mouse one, and my younger brothers and sisters had the big ones that the babies sat inside. There are not so many of us evacuees left now. Today's kids don't understand how lucky they are in oh so many ways.
---Frank Duffy, London (and always a Glasgow keelie)
So many thanks are due to you all at the Society for organising such a memorable day on Friday, September 3, 1999. Such a lot of time and effort and expense was given so freely by everyone that this particular branch of the Glasgow keelies is at a loss for adequate words to express our appreciation.
Above all we valued the friendship and hospitality extended so generously on the strength of a link made sixty years ago. It was our first real visit since 1939 and we were able to see the charm of the village and the beauty of the counytryside in an entirely different light. For Jim Smith there must be a special thank you: in taking us back to the Old Parsonage. A few ghosts were laid and peace declared. The Tayside Big Band were terrific. And in the Pan Haggerty and Betty Falconer you have great Dunning ambassadors.
So on behalf of three evacuees and two spouses, I thank you all.
---Margaret Little, Bishopbriggs
With disappointment I found I wasn't able to attend the Evacuees' Reunion which you folk in Dunning so zealously maintain. As a teacher at Invermay, I did so enjoy meeting you generous and welcoming people five years ago. Please give my best wishes to all who have made the reunion possible, and I look forward to reading "Here Come the Glasgow Keelies!"
---Mrs. Barbara (Kaye) Peacock, Killin, Perthshire
I was just about to go to Australia to visit my last remaining aunt. Sitting at the breakfast table, I heard an item on Radio Scotland about the evacuees who went to Dunning. One of the teachers who went with them from Haghill School was this same aunt, then Miss Flora (Orma) Campbell. My aunt is 91, and I know she'll be delighted to hear about the reunion and the book.
---Dr. Dorothy Dennis, Port Ellen, Isle of Islay
After visiting Dunning in 1991, I realised I knew very little of my ancestors. The Fultons always considered Dunning as their ancestral home, though the family name seems to have spent such a little period resident there in the long history of this village. I have spent the last seven years in research and have already begun the draft of a book about my forebears. This year I returned to Scotland to finalise the finer details, allowing myself four and half months to discover as much as possible. I have been a member of the DPHS since its inception, and my trip this year has given me the additional pleasure of actual participation in some of its wonderful activities.
--Trevor Fulton, Napier, New Zealand
We thoroughly enjoyed the evacuees' reunion on September 3rd. Thanks to the Society for all the preparation that made it such a successful day.
--Marion and Bill Smith
I would just like to thank you all for being so kind to us evacuees, and for the work you put into making our day so memorable. As the youngest child of our evacuee family, I really enjoyed my day with the children of Dunning listening to my older brothers and sister telling them what they did when they were young. There were things I had never heard of before from them. Then to see where we lived and the school my brothers and sister went to really made me conscious of what I had missed being just an infant during our evacuation. I would once again just like to say thank you.
--Mrs. Jessie Dale (nee Forbes)
As one of the original "Glasgow Keelies" who spent six happy years in Dunning, I would like to order two more copies of "Here Come the Glasgow Keelies!" I intend to give a copy to each of my two sons, one of who resides in Glasgow, and the other in Australia, to give them a bit of their father's history. Thanks very much.
--Eric W. Smith. Paisley
We were disappointed not to be able to attend on 3rd September due to family worries but I have heard it was a great success. Our thanks and appreciation to all the voluntary work undertaken by the members of the Society and locals alike. We look forward to 2,000 and wish you all continued enjoyment and success in life.
--Marion and Bud Leah, Leeds
I found the book very interesting and it brought back a lot of happy memories of being in Dunning with my Gran and Grandad. Please send me another copy to send to my brother John Dunn in New Zealand.
--Mary (Dunn) Davis, Sutton, Surrey
It was interesting to visit Dunning again after 60 years. Of course it is bigger but it is not too built up. It is not just another 'Bungalowdom' but still has its own character. The people I met were so friendly and welcoming, just as they had been when we arrived as teachers with the Haghill pupils in '39, so some things do not change. Mrs. Kirsty Doig took me for a walk about the village, which was delightful. I had lots of memories of parents and people--Proustian memories sad and gay. Good wishes for a successful and interesting year for your Society.
--Miss Sydney Barr, Glasgow
The old cookery school, Dunning, where evacuee classes were held.
--linocut by Albie Sinclair from "Here Come the Glasgow Keelies!"
FROM WALTER PERRIE
The following poem will appear in a forthcoming volume
of poetry by
Walter Perrie, of Croft Place, Dunning
BURNING DUNNING (January, 1716)
Rumour arrived with the first faint flutter of snow
Auchterarder already burning and Blackford
staunch protestant villages. Towards daybreak
the snow relented; old Reid the minister died.
We buried him in a blanket, secret, shallow, quick.
His voice had always been strong against popery.
Come day the whole round sky shone duck-egg blue.
Those able to, trauchled what gear we could carry
driving the cattle beasts up to the Common
leaving only the very ancient or too sick.
Auld Soutar died and Roy, houses blazing as they lay
beside them. The bones of Dunning burned that day.
Some said the flames were protestant, some catholic.
The houses, filled with straw, burned anyway. Amen!
The pillar of fire could be seen from Forteviot.
A rag-tag rabble they were, Irish Macleans -
the enemy, we theirs, partners, aliens.
That spring flung a great spume of pink and white
on apple and gean and plum. The rebels
profited nothing, retreating northwards to their hells
of starving families, bitter, unyielding defeat.
A six month on I trauchled up the spiral stair
and rickety ladder to the bell-tower
parapet, shocking a flurry of bats. The ache
had eased, the dead were still beneath me and
columns of domesticity, blue smoke
at evening stood above the budding town.
I looked away into the west imagining
beyond Voirlich to Colm Cille's island
where so much of our common mystery began;
Colm Cille himself that fiery, vengeful man
and heard the stone sough and an airy piobaireachd
take up again the bone-clean cadence of the strath.
--Walter Perrie, Dunning, 1999
(Note to genealogists: the Soutar and Roy referred to in the second stanza are fictitious, but the minister William Reid and the story of his death and hasty burial are described in the history of Dunning by John Wilson, who says the story is confirmed in a church minute).
DECORATED DUNNING NATIVE DIES
The following obituary in The Daily Telegraph last May of Major John Miller was noted by a couple of our sharp-eyed members.
Major John Miller. - Officer who took 18 PoWs on his own
Major John "Dusty" Miller, who has died aged 91, was awarded a Military Medal (thought to be the first awarded on British soil in the Second World War) for shooting down an enemy aircraft over Kenley airfield on August 18, 1940.
At the time, Miller was a lance corporal in the Scots Guards. Kenly was attacked by 30 low flying aircraft, which came in successive waves and strafed the airfield with bombs and machine-gun firing, causing many casualties. When three aircraft dived down onto the Lewis gun which Miller was firing, he was undeterred and shot down one.
Later in the war, when serving in North Africa, Miller was nominated for an MC (or an even higher award), but the recommendation was invalidated on the grounds that he had not carried out his orders correctly. He had been commanded to take his troops and capture a party of 18 Germans in the vicinity, but his troops were exhausted from sorties the night before. Miller decided not to disturb them and set off by himself. He took the Germans prisoner and marched them into captivity.
The authorities decided that to endanger his own life by not obeying the order to take his troops with him should cancel the proposal for the award.
John Miller was born at Dunning, Perthshire, on April 17, 1907 and after leaving school began to work in London, where he enlisted in the Scots Guards. In 1941 he was one of the guards of Rudolf Hess, who after his mysterious flight to the Duke of Hamilton's estate in Scotland, had been brought to the Tower of London.
Soon afterwards, Miller was sent to Sandhurst for officer training.....In November, 1944, after the North African and Italian campaigns, Miller was appointed administrator of a district in Macedonia and Thrace, where he was charged with finding and arresting Communist agitators who were trying to topple the official government. The Greek Communist Party put a price on his head which they advertised in a series of posters displayed throughout the region.
After leaving the army, Miller worked for Smith's Industries in North London. He married, in 1935, Esther Martin, and they had a daughter.
--The Daily Telegraph
ST. SERF'S VISITORS
Each year, Society members volunteer as summer guides to St. Serf's Church. Here's a report from Ken Laing.
Another successful season has come and gone at the Visitor centre (St. Serf's session house) and although the weather was not all that good--in fact it was downright cold, wet and miserable at times--visitor numbers were up a little on 1998. Signing the book, June to September were 387 people (380 in 1998) and from September '98 to September '99, 474 (445). However if we take into account those who do not record their visit, the total would be around 550 to 600.
Apart from the usual European and Colonial visitors, South Americans appeared twice, from Brazil and Argentina, and Mauritius made its first appearance.
Hopefully, Historic Scotland will attend to the dampness problem which so mars the internal appearance of the church and perhaps the "promise" of the Dupplin Cross will inspire some action.
OVERSEAS REVIEWS OF "HERE COME THE GLASGOW KEELIES!"
Here are comments on our book by two Canadian reviewers:
"Here Come the Glasgow Keelies!" is a delightfully nostalgic record of children who, at the outbreak of World War II, were evacuated from Glasgow to a small Perthshire village. For many of the children it was their first experience of rural life. The dry toilets and the lack of electricity came as a shock even to those from the less affluent area of Glasgow. For many it was a rewarding, healthy time. For others, unfortunately not so. Scots everywhere will enjoy this fascinating segment of wartime history.
---Adam Laird, Winnipeg
Take heart Miss Haggart, wherever you are. Your pupils at the special school for wartime evacuees in Dunning may have called you "Haggie Bags" and Betty Robertson may claim that you made her sister Jean's life "a complete misery", but Nita Inglis, another evacuee to this little Perthshire village, thought you were "terrific" and said "I take my hat off to this teacher".
Mixed messages! Lorne Wallace's wonderful book is full of them, and it is a great credit to him that he has presented so objectively both the bright and the dark sides of the government project which saw some 300 Glasgow children arrive in Dunning on September 3, 1939, the day Britain declared war on Germany. "Here Come the Glasgow Keelies!" consists of over 50 interviews with some of the Glasgow evacuees of 1939, with a few who came later, and with some of the townspeople who received them into their homes.
"To me it was heart-rending because I was only five", says Lily Freeland. "I didn't know why I was going away. I was with my brother and sister who were to take care of me, but I had a funny feeling about leaving mum and dad. I think I cried most of the time. I had a feeling that I was being sent away because I had done something wrong. In no way did I connect being evacuated with a war." But for Bill Smith "being in Dunning was a tremendous experience...We'd a jolly good time here", and Walter Steel recalls "They were three happy years. There must have been bad times, but I forget them. I've no regret that I went there, none at all. Not one bit." John Dunn states simply "The time in Dunning was the happiest time of my life."
Jill Richards explains: "Some of them may look back with gratitude; they were happy, they had a nice comfortable home and they were well looked after. But some were not so fortunate, treated like slaves perhaps-some of the farms I think misused the children as free labour. Everybody has their own story, obviously, of how they were treated." Indeed, and now, thanks to the initiative of a Canadian of Scottish descent who knows Dunning well, they have all had their chance to tell those stories.
"We weren't just gathering details of local history", says Wallace. "We were gaining insights into the lives of participants in one of the great early dramas of World War II."
The book contains a useful (perhaps essential) glossary of Scottish words and expressions, and is profusely illustrated with strangely moving then-and-now photos of the participants in this event.
---Kenneth S. Murphy, Canmore, Alberta
Copies of "HERE COME THE GLASGOW KEELIES!" are at certain shops or may by ordered by sending a cheque for £9.95 plus £1.20 U.K. postage, to the DPHS, Old Schoolhouse, Newton of Pitcairns, Dunning PH2 0SL.
CAN YOU HELP SOLVE A MYSTERY?
Dunningites Miles and Babs Sneddon recently presented our archives with what turns out to be a letterpress block. It measures about 101/2 by 81/2 inches, and a reduced image from it appears on the opposite page.
The block had been picked up at Dens Road market in Dundee, and was given to the Historical Society because it includes at the bottom what is evidently an image of St. Serf's Church, The big question is: what is it we have, exactly? Society member and former art lecturer Colin Davidson of Aberfeldy, who kindly printed it out for us, observed that the lead-zinc faced block, backed in mahogany, is open at the centre to accommodate print, but the block never appears to have been used. Was it for an honour roll or other list of names, or a menu, or a charter or other document? From the dates on it, it obviously is post World War II, but letterpress printing went out of common use after about the fifties: when was this block made? If you have any suggestions as to what this mysterious block could be, please let us know.
THE DPHS 2000 WINTER/SPRING PROGRAMME
Thursday, January 20, 2000. Village Hall, 7.00 pm.
Our first meeting of the millennium takes the form of an informal Burns supper, without a lot of the traditional Burns Night trimmings. Instead there'll be an entertaining variety of music and words from some of our talented members and friends. To allow enough food, we're asking you to buy or reserve tickets in advance. Tickets at a modest price will be available starting in early January from Dunning shops or by calling in your reservation to David Halliday 01764 684 026 or Michael Barwick 684 149.
Wednesday, February 16, Village Hall, 7:30 pm.
Whisky! Iain Stothard is a Society member associated with a couple of historically notable names: his present home of Garvock in the north of Dunning Parish, and his work with Highland Distillers, makers of Famous Grouse. Iain talks, naturally, about whisky. Please note this is the one Wednesday evening which we schedule each season to accommodate people who can't make our usual Thursday meetings.
Thursday, March 16, Village Hall, 7:30 pm.
"History and Natural History". Another large-screen video night, featuring mostly locally made programmes, including the David Doig and Lorne Wallace collaboration 'Wildlife in a Village Garden", originally scheduled for last year.
Thursday, May 11, Village Hall, 7:30 pm.
Our Annual General Meeting, with guest speaker Ian Philip talking about his patch, "Leadketty, More than Just a Place to Barndance!".
Saturday, May 20.
Our annual bus trip will take off in the morning from Tron Square for a full day adventure. Details are still being finalised as we go to press, but Peter Duncan (01764 684 243) promises a trip as good as last year's much enjoyed outing, with costs kept as low as possible, and the price to include bus, admissions and high tea. As usual non-members will be welcomed, with members receiving a discount.