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Project Title: The Crofters And The Second World War

Exhibition: The War Effort / A’ cuideachadh a’ chogaidh

Engaging in the War Effort, entire communities were galvanised into conserving resources, fund-raising and boosting morale at home and at the Front. The increased productivity, in agriculture and industry, strengthened the notion of ‘pulling together’ and made civilians feel they, too, were fighting the enemy. This exhibition shows ways in which crofting communities supported the War Effort. Bha mòran dhaoine air an cumail trang a’ cuideachadh le feumalachdan a’ chogaidh. Rinn iad an dìcheall a bhith neo-eisimeileach agus, ged nach robh mòran aca, rinn iad a h-uile oidhirp taic a’ thoirt seachad. An seo cluinnear beagan mu dhèidhinn.

Assets in this exhibition:

Moss, Mitts and Metal / A h-uile sian ga chur a feum

Throughout this area every community was engaged in supporting the War Effort in some way. While those men who were ineligible to go to war joined the Home Guard and undertook other essential responsibilities, it was the women and children who mobilised in what can only be described as a stupendous effort to meet the needs of their communities, their country and their forces in the field. In the subsistence-based crofting communities of Scotland’s west coast, money was a scarce commodity and wages were low, yet vast funds were raised for a whole range of purposes. People were inspired by the thought that they could combine with others beyond their parish boundaries to raise money to build a Spitfire, a destroyer or a Catalina.
The opportunity to provide tokens of comfort, wound dressings and essential clothing for the troops absorbed a whole generation of women and children in knitting, collecting waste paper and parcelling gifts. People took seriously the calls to ‘Grow More Food’, ‘Dig for Victory’ and ‘Make-do-and-Mend’. In a society where excess and material wealth were not known and where nothing was wasted, the idea of doing without in order to help others came naturally, if not easily.


Armadale SWRI re-established

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Description

The minutes of Armadale SWRI dated 2 September 1939 record the revival of the branch as a reaction to the outbreak of war.

The first of the Scottish Women's Rural Institutes was established in East Lothian in 1917 and growth spread rapidly from there throughout Scotland. The Institute's motto was "For Home & Country".

Source

Date: 1939
Location: Armadale, Isle of Skye
Original Source: Museum of the Isles [MSL2]


SWRI meetings at the full moon

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Description

A second extract from the Armadale SWRI minutes of 2 September 1939.

For the duration of the blackout in wartime meetings were scheduled as close to the full moon as possible so that members could make their way to meetings and safely home again with the least possible use of torches, lanterns or car headlamps.

Source

Date: 1939
Location: Armadale, Isle of Skye
Original Source: Museum of the Isles [MSL2]


Sphagnum moss and rosehips

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Description

Alasdair Fraser recalls collecting sphagnum moss and rosehips as part of the war effort when he was a schoolboy. The moss was sent away to be used in wound dressings, while the rosehips were valued for their high vitamin C content.

Biography

Alasdair Fraser was born in Inverness in 1933 and raised in Kyle of Lochalsh which he recalls as being an extremely busy place when he was a boy during the war. He and his younger brother, William, attended the local school and share many memories of war time in the area. Like many other families theirs had naval personnel lodging with them during the war.

Transcript

I remember in school we had to … one project that we did at one time was gathering sphagnum moss, you see. This was supposed to be to help the treatment of injured servicemen. Sphagnum moss had beneficial qualities, as it could be used for that, and I remember being sent out to collect that from school. And also rosehips, you used to collect them. Don’t know that they were sent away or not, but we certainly had to collect them – collected bags of these things.

Source

Date: 194-
Contributor: Fraser, Alasdair
Location: Kyle of Lochalsh
Original Source: Alasdair Fraser Museum of the Isles Highland Council Archive Service (Skye and Lochalsh) TPYF Interview OH AF 11.9.09 Interviewed by Mary Carmichael


Dunan School Log Book 1939

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Description

Extract from the Log Book of Dunan School, Isle of Skye dated 18th Dec 1939. It records that the children were knitting squares for soldiers' blankets.

Transcript

‘The girls and boys are devoting their hand work periods to knitting gaily coloured squares for soldiers’ blankets. The first blanket has been completed’.

Source

Date: 18 Dec 1939
Location: Dunan, Isle of Skye
Original Source: C1/5/3/168c, Highland Council Archive Service (Skye & Lochalsh)


Bhiodh na boireannaich a' fighe / The women would knit

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Description

Lachie Gillies describes how many women of the community supported the war effort by knitting.

Biography

Lachlan (Lachie) Gillies was born and raised in Stenscholl, Staffin, Isle of Skye in the house where he still lives. He is a retired fisherman and crofter who has a passion for local history and the Gaelic language and culture. As a young teenager he met with an accident on the croft and spent time recuperating in the Naval Hospital based at Duncraig Castle near Plockton.

Transcript

Bhiodh na boireannaich a' fighe. Boireannaich a' fighe – bhiodh iad a' fighe mheatagan, 's bhiodh iad a' fighe balaclavas is rudan a bhiodh air na saighdearan nuair a bhiodh iad ann an dùthchannan far am biodh fuachd mòr, bhitheadh. O, cha robh càil nach robh dol air adhart airson cuideachadh mar sin.

Source

Date: 194-
Contributor: Gillies, Lachlan (Lachie)
Location: Isle of Skye
Original Source: Lachie Gillies Museum of the Isles Highland Council Archive Service (Skye and Lochalsh) TPYF Interview Gaelic OH LG 29.07.09 Interviewed by Mary Carmichael

Translation

Women would knit. They would knit gloves, they would knit balaclavas and other things for soldiers stationed in countries where winters were really cold. Everything imaginable was being done to help in the War effort.


Service Woollies for Air Land and Sea

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Description

Cover of a wartime book of knitting patterns for woollen garments for all three services. This pattern book was produced by the well-known supplier of yarns and knitting patterns, Patons & Baldwins, and cost sixpence. This copy belonged to Annie MacLean of Raasay who was a keen knitter.

Source

Date: 194-
Contributor: MacLean, Mrs Annie


"Everyone seemed to muck in and knit"

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Description

Rita Grant of Ellishadder talks about the various items which were knitted for sending away to the troops.

Biography

Rita Grant (nee Nicolson) was born in 1925 and raised on a croft in the township of Ellishadder close to Staffin on the north-east coast of Skye. She later worked for the Royal Observer Corps in Portree. She married Ian Grant of Carbost who was a piper in the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders during the war and they settled in his family home on a croft in Carbost where he worked in the nearby distillery at Talisker.

Transcript

We used to knit for the soldiers and navy, or whatever – the local bobbies. Everyone knitted socks and helmets, and mitts and scarves. Everyone seemed to muck in and knit and send parcels to the servicemen.

Source

Date: 194-
Contributor: Grant, Rachel S. (Rita)
Location: Isle of Skye
Original Source: Mrs Rita Grant Museum of the Isles Highland Council Archive Service (Skye and Lochalsh) TPYF Interview OH RG 01.10.09 Interviewed by Mary Carmichael with Dolina Munro


Knitted hats

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Description

An illustration of some of the balaclavas, helmets and hats which could be knitted from patterns in the book Service Woollies for Air Land and Sea

Source

Date: 194-
Contributor: Maclean, Mrs Annie


The 'Nifty Knitters'

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Description

Jetta Fraser talks about the 'nifty knitters', the group making Comforts for the troops.

Biography

Janet (Jetta) Fraser (1922-2010).
Janet, usually known as Jetta, and her sister Mairi were the daughters of Hugh Fraser (b 1862) and his wife Christina Macdonald. She was brought up in Duisdalebeag, Sleat, where the Macdonalds had a croft. Her father, then her sister Mairi, ran the Isle Ornsay post office. Jetta was at University in Glasgow at the beginning the war, but came home to Skye in the holidays. She qualified as a teacher. In the mid 1940s she was appointed teacher at Duisdale School. When Duisdale School closed she worked at the schools in Struan and Broadford.

Transcript

They did have a ‘Comforts Group’, which I of course, I wasn’t at, but Mairi used to go, and they used to knit socks and scarves and balaclavas for the troops, and I think they met in the Isle Ornsay Hotel. Now the women here were all very nifty knitters with the socks and that, but what they couldn’t do was read directions, so they couldn’t manage the balaclavas. So it ended up with Mairi turning all the balaclavas, because reading directions was no bother to her. But she wasn’t as quick with the socks, so that’s how it ended up.

Source

Date: 194-
Contributor: Fraser, Jetta
Location: Isle of Skye
Original Source: Jetta Fraser Museum of the Isles Highland Council Archive Service (Skye and Lochalsh) TPYF Interview OH JF 19.09.09 Interviewed by Maggie Macdonald


Patterns for woollie socks

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Description

Illustration of a range of socks that could be knitted from patterns in the book Service Woollies for Air, Land and Sea. These include hospital socks, bed socks, fishermen's sea-boot stockings and knee caps.

Source

Date: 194-
Contributor: MacLean, Annie


"Cast on 100 stitches" - Patons & Baldwins knitting patterns for hats

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Description

Knitting patterns for a ribbed helmet, a sports cap and a sleeping cap taken from the book Service Woollies for Air Land and Sea.

Source

Date: 194-
Contributor: MacLean, Annie


"I spent a winter knitting socks"

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Description

Mary Black describes keeping her grandmother company while knitting for the troops.

Biography

Mary Black (nee McCallum) was born in Glasgow, but her grandparents ran the family croft where she was raised during the war and which has always been home from home for her. She attended the local school at Breakish while helping her grandparents, Calum and Mary MacInnes, on the croft at 19 Breakish and she participated fully in all aspects of croft work. Her aunt, Morag MacInnes, was the Strath District Nurse. After secretarial training in Inverness Mary returned to Skye and worked for the Lochalsh-based Home Guard under the direction of Sir Torquil Matheson.

Transcript

She would be spinning the tweed and I would be sitting knitting. After we’d do my homework, I would be sitting knitting. And she would be spinning… aye, I had a go at the spinning myself. And the carding, the carding the wool. I spent a winter knitting socks and sent them to the local sailors.

Source

Date: 194-
Contributor: Black, Mrs Mary
Location: Breakish, Isle of Skye
Original Source: Mary Black Museum of the Isles Highland Council Archive Service (Skye and Lochalsh) TPYF Interview OH MB 07.10.09 Interviewed by Mary Carmichael


Cameron and Inverness County Comforts Association booklet

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Description

Cover of the Cameron and Inverness County Comforts Association booklet of knitting patterns for the troops.

Source

Date: 194-
Contributor: MacLeod, Una
Location: Inverness County, Scotland
Original Source: Museum of the Isles


Knitting instructions book - "How YOU can help!"

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Description

Inner cover of the Cameron and Inverness County Comforts Association knitting pattern book giving information on how individuals could help.

Source

Contributor: MacLeod, Una
Location: Inverness County, Scotland
Original Source: Museum of the Isles


Glasgow Skye Association - A token of good wishes / Gu ma slàn do na fearaibh

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Description

This small notice, bearing good wishes and hopes of a safe return, would have been enclosed with the comforts which were parcelled and sent off to the troops by the Glasgow Skye Association. The Gaelic phrase 'Gu ma slàn do na fearaibh' means 'Here's good health to the people' and comes from a popular emigrant song composed in the 19th century by Donald Campbell of Glen Garry, who worked as a shepherd in Badenoch. He was also known as 'The Kingussie Bard'. The song talks about the emigrants leaving to go overseas full of hope and one of the verses says "We'll get silk and ribbons, We'll get wool in abundance".

Source

Date: 194-
Location: Glasgow / isle of Skye
Original Source: Museum of the Isles Highland Council Archive Service (Skye and Lochalsh) TPYF Doc GR


"A start was realised with the knitting"

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Description

The Armadale SWRI minutes of November 1939 record knitting for the Navy League in Glasgow and for the Camerons (Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders).

Source

Date: 21 Nov 1939
Location: Armadale, Isle of Skye
Original Source: Museum of the Isles MSL2


Fundraising at Armadale

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Description

A second page of the minutes of the Armadale SWRI meeting in December 1940 records fund raising by the girls of Ardvasar School and other activities.

Source

Date: 16/12/1940
Location: Armadale, Isle of Skye
Original Source: Museum of the Isles MSL2


Armadale SWRI supports the Cameron Comforts Fund

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Description

Armadale SWRI minutes for May 1943 record the cost of wool and list the items knitted for the Cameron comforts fund.

Source

Date: 13 May 1943
Location: Armadale, Isle of Skye
Original Source: Museum of the Isles MSL2


Garments for the Camerons and the Navy League, Sphagnum moss for the Red Cross

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Description

Extract from the wartime diary of Miss Evelyn Loyd, Tormore, Ardvasar, Isle of Skye. This entry dated 14 December 1939 records the collection of sphagnum moss as well as the despatch of knitted garments.

Transcript

Dec 14 1939
[Armadale SWRI sent a good parcel of knitted] garments to the Cameron Rgt depot & the Navy League in Glasgow who are specially catering for W.C. defence forces trawlers & minesweepers.
I continued to dry the Sphagnum Moss & sent it in by boxes to Mrs Shaw’s Corry Red X work party who made up the bags & despatched to Inverness, a constant demand for it all the time.

Source

Date: Dec 1939
Contributor: Moore, Isabel
Location: Sleat, Isle of Skye
Original Source: Isabel Moore Museum of the Isles Highland Council Archive Service (Skye & Lochalsh)


Grow your own food

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Description

One of the Ministry of Information's iconic slogans. As food supplies to Britain were restricted during the war this campaign encouraged everyone to cultivate every available bit of land and to supply their own cookhouse.

Source

Date: 194-


Skye's food production and WRI parcels for local serving men

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Description

Isabel Moore reads extracts from the Wartime Diary of her aunt Evelyn Loyd, Tormore, Ardvasar, Isle of Skye. This extract is dated January 1941.

Transcript

Jan 1941
Skye is plodding quietly on, trying to do its best with food production, & general watchfulness – the authorities make the Special Areas regulations stricter and stricter, one can only imagine they consider it an invasion area.

Mrs Campbell & I had a busy time packing 20 of the WRI parcels for our local serving men, we sent 57 altogether, to everyone including Hamish and Alasdair. They all got a Woolley, ½ lb sweets, and some cigarettes. The few in hot countries got books and writing paper.

Source

Date: Jan 1941
Contributor: Moore, Isabel
Location: Isle of Skye
Original Source: Museum of the Isles Highland Council Archive Service (Skye & Lochalsh) TPYF Audio IM/EL


"Bha 'slogans' a' dol timcheall" / Dig for Victory

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Description

Lachie Gillies describes some of the government initiatives in agriculture to encourage everyone to become more independent in food production during wartime.

Biography

Lachlan (Lachie) Gillies was born and raised in Stenscholl, Staffin, Isle of Skye in the house where he still lives. He is a retired fisherman and crofter who has a passion for local history and the Gaelic language and culture. As a young teenager he met with an accident on the croft and spent time recuperating in the Naval Hospital based at Duncraig Castle near Plockton.

Transcript

Bha am Bòrd airson a h-uile cuideachadh a thoirt do dhaoine airson nam b’ urrainn dhaibh a chur ’s nach tigeadh orra a dhol an taing àiteachan eile oir bha … Aig àm a’ Chogaidh faodaidh tu ràdh ... ’s e eilean a bh’ ann am Breatainn agus bha e cho soirbh a ghearradh dheth, och [ach] cha deach aca air sin a dhèanamh. ’S bha sin air iarraidh. ’S bha slogans a’ dol timcheall mar a bha “Dig for Victory” is rudan dhen t-seòrsa sin.

Bha coirce ga chur ’s bha feur ga chur ’s … well … bha ... feur, buntàta is tuineap, is a h-uile nithean a bha sin, curranan, ’s a h-uile càil airson nach tigeadh ort a dhol an eisimeil, can, na rìoghachd airson cuideachadh.

Source

Date: 194-
Contributor: Gillies, Lachlan (Lachie)
Location: Staffin, Isle of Skye
Original Source: Lachlan (Lachie) Gillies Museum of the Isles Highland Council Archive Service (Skye and Lochalsh) TPYF Interview Gaelic OH LG (1) 29.07.09 Interviewed by Mary Carmichael

Translation

The Board of Agriculture gave every help to people to grow more so that Britain would be dependent on other places for food. Britain was only an island and in wartime it was easy to cut it off from supplies. Slogans such as “Dig for Victory” were used. Oats and grass were planted as well as things like turnips, potatoes and carrots so that the nation would be less dependent on outside supplies.


Dig for Victory

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Description

Dig for Victory was one of many wartime campaigns which were part of the Home Front. It is still one of the best remembered. Food supplies were restricted by the war and the German attacks on convoys, so civilians were encouraged to grow as much of their own food as possible, using their gardens and allotments. The campaign was well-known in the crofting communities where it was implemented with success in many areas.

Source

Date: 194-


Grow More Food

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Description

John MacKenzie talks about some of the government schemes encouraging people to till more land and grow more oats to increase food production during the war.

Biography

John MacKenzie was born at 5 Glenconon near Uig on the Isle of Skye on 16th July 1924. He was actively involved as a young teenager in all aspects of working the croft and caring for crops and livestock. He was also keen on fishing and the sea and became involved locally in salvage work after the outbreak of war. His experience took him much further afield when he was old enough. He lived in Australia for a number of years, but returned to Skye where he worked in the building trade until his retirement.

Transcript

When I left school, in 1939, I was fifteen then, left school, we came back here. And we had a horse. And we used to have our… my mother’s cousin… the other MacDonald's family, my grandparents, they lived in Number Nine, Glenconan. And they had a horse as well, so we worked together as a co-operative. But he was quite lame. And I used to do the ploughing with the horses which I really enjoyed and I was grown up then, you see. It was marv… I thought it was a marvellous experience. And then… that lasted up until the war started in 1939 and then the government or the Department of Agriculture started up a scheme where the… we had to till more of our land because of the war. They knew the war was going to be… and the war did come in 1939. They had to plant more oats and barley or whatever you did. Potatoes, you had… we had pigs, we had cows, we had sheep; and Muscovy ducks, geese, anything you could think of, we had it, simply because we had to raise most of our own food for the war. There were terrible scarcity, really. This country was terribly… backward as far as developing our own country. We were relying on bringing in all our oats and barley and that from countries abroad to make bread. We were terribly backward. It was only the war that really… farms opened up, and the crofters opened up, and they were ploughing ground everywhere. And we were ploughing… almost all of Glenconan was ploughed up.

Source

Date: 1939
Contributor: MacKenzie, John
Location: Glenconon, Isle of Skye
Original Source: John MacKenzie Museum of the Isles Highland Council Archive Service (Skye and Lochalsh) TPYF Interview OH JMK 22.10.09 Interviewed by Mary Carmichael with Dolina Munro


SWRI acitivities - "The use of remnants"

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Description

A lecture on Make Do and Mend by the SWRI organiser and other planned activities are recorded in the Armadale SWRI minutes of December 1940

Source

Date: 16 Dec 1940
Location: Isle of Skye
Original Source: Museum of the Isles MSL2


Make Do and Mend

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Description

Isabel Moore reads an extract from the wartime diary of her aunt Evelyn Loyd, Tormore, Ardvasar, Isle of Skye, relating to a local WRI meeting.

Transcript

Oct 20th, the Armadale W.R.I. in accordance with the wide spread call to the country had a meeting for ‘Make Do & Mend’, which was well attended, & Mrs Villiers Stuart was cutting out a blouse from a summer skirt, a frock from an overcoat, & a boy’s jacket from a pair of trousers.

Source

Date: 20 Oct 1943
Contributor: Moore, Isabel
Location: Armadale, Isle of Skye
Original Source: Museum of the Isles Highland Council Archive Service (Skye & Lochalsh) TPYF Audio IM/EL


Cookery demonstration at the SWRI

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Description

Armadale SWRI members enjoy a cookery demonstration by a representative of the Ministry of Food at Ardvasar Village Hall.

Source

Date: 2 Apr 1943
Location: Armadale and Ardvasar, Isle of Skye
Original Source: Museum of the Isles MSL2


Cookery demonstration at the SWRI part 2

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Description

Armadale SWRI were shown recipes to encourage the use of potatoes and cheese at their cookery demonstration by a Ministry of Food representative.

Source

Date: 2 Apr 1943
Location: Armadale and Ardvasar, Isle of Skye
Original Source: Museum of the Isles MSL2


Obair chogaidh / Women's war work

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Jonathan MacDonald talks about the various roles women played during the war and about the inequalities in pay they encountered in the factories and on the land.

Biography

Jonathan MacDonald was born in the Kilmuir area of Skye in 1932. He has maintained a life-long interest in the history and Gaelic culture of the island and has published on many topics relating to local history, place-names and historical figures and events of interest. He is a pioneer of the open-air museum in Scotland having established the Skye Museum of Island Life at Duntulm in the 1960s. As well as being an accomplished historian and Fellow of the Royal Society of Antiquaries (Scotland) he is a fine exponent of traditional Gaelic song and of Gaelic psalmody and precenting.

Transcript

Agus a’ bruidhinn air … air na …balaich a bhith a’ falbh, bha tòrr dhe na h-igheannan a’ falbh cuideachd. Bha iadsan a’ dol dha na … mar a chanadh iad riutha, an Land Army, agus bha iad a’ dol a dh’obair dha na taighean-obrach shìos mu dheas, feadhainn dhiubh ann am factories a bha a’ dèanamh munitions.

Agus bhiodh iad a’ faighinn obair ann a shin agus obair Cogaidh, dèanamh a … a h-uile seòrsa rud a bha ri dhèanamh agus ann a shin bhiodh iad a’ gearain cuideachd mar a bha an diofar cho mòr eadar tuarastal nam fear agus tuarastal nam mnathan.

Aig an àm ud ann am facataraidh ann an Glaschu ’s e ceithir puinnd ’s a ceithir tastan san t-seachdain a gheibheadh fireannach agus ’s e dà phunnd ’s a trì tastan san t-seachdain a gheibheadh boireannach.

Agus tha cuimhne mhath agam air fear dhe mo chuideachd a bha ag obair ann am factaraidh Beardmores ann an Glaschu agus ’s e seo an seòrsa duais a bh’ aige agus bhiodh na boireannaich a’ faicinn gun robh iadsan ag obair dòcha pìos na b’ fhaide na na fireannaich air a …anns an latha. Bha aca ri obair an taighe a dhèanamh mus fhalbhadh iad ’s bha iad an uair sin air an cumail, ma bha obair ri dhèanamh air dèidh àm, ’s ann air na boireannaich a thigeadh fuireach. ’S bha iad a’ faicinn cho beag ’s a bha iad a’ faighinn ach cha robh dòigh aca air sin a leasachadh.

’S bha an uair sin na boireannaich a bh’ anns sa …ann an Arm an Fhearainn, an Land Army, bha iadsan a’ dèanamh a h-uile sìon a bhiodh aig tuathanaich ri dhèanamh. Bha iad ag obrachadh nan tractaran ’s ag obrachadh a’…a’ chruidh agus a’ dèanamh obair an fhearainn ’s a h-uile h- obair a bhiodh ri dhèanamh air tuathanais far am biodh an tuathanach no a chuid luchd-obrach air falbh dhan Arm.

Source

Date: 194-
Contributor: MacDonald, Jonathan

Translation

Men went to the War but so also did many women. They went to what they called the Land Army, they went to work in factories in the south including munitions factories. They complained bitterly about the differences between wages paid to men and what women were earning. At the time wages in a factory in Glasgow were four pounds and four shilling per week for a man and for a woman it was two pounds and three shillings. One of my relations who worked in Beardmore’s factory in Glasgow told me this. Women were working much longer than men, because they had the housework to do as well, and if overtime was to be done that usually fell to the women but still their wages were poorer and nothing was being done to rectify this anomaly. The girls in the Land Army would do the same as the men – driving tractors, tending to stock, doing all the work on farms where the usual farm workers were away on War service.


Women's War Work: "There is nothing terrifying about machines."

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Description

A Ministry of Information photograph showing a woman operating a Capstan lathe in a factory making parts for aircraft and tanks. This was part of the campaign to encourage women into war work.
The original MoI caption for the image reads: "There is nothing terrifying about machines - they're quite easy when you get used to them." The woman pictured is quoted as saying, "I felt I'd like to do my bit as well as the rest of the family."

Source

Date: 1942


Raising money and War Savings

Throughout World War 2, there were periodic drives to raise money for particular aspects of the war effort. The first of these was War Weapons Week held in July 1941. It was followed by Warship Week in May 1942 and Wings for Victory Week in June 1943. Tanks for Attack was a savings effort spread over 3 months in 1942.

The money raised by individuals was put into War Savings Certificates. These were the forerunner of the modern National Savings Certificate. Savings Committees were set up and each area in Inverness-shire had set targets to meet. In October 1943, Skye was set the target of raising £30,000 to fund a replacement submarine for HMS Saracen. In fact, islanders raised an incredible £51,079.

By the end of the war, the people of Skye had contributed a staggering £427,721 to this aspect of the war effort. In Inverness-shire, excluding Inverness town, it was topped only by contributions from Kingussie burgh, which contributed £452,951.


Letter from Clementine Churchill 1942, page 1

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Description

Letter from Clementine Churchill, wife of the then Prime Minister Winston Churchill, to Miss Betsy MacLeod, the headteacher of Dunan School, near Broadford, Isle of Skye. Clementine Churchill thanks her for the school's contribution to her Aid for Russia Fund. During World War II she was Chairman of the Red Cross Aid to Russia Fund, the President of the Young Women's Christian Association War Time Appeal and the Chairman of Fulmer Chase Maternity Hospital for Wives of Junior Officers. The Clementine Churchill Hospital in Harrow, Middlesex is named after her.

Source

Date: 16 Feb 1942
Contributor: Museum of the Isles
Location: Dunan, Isle of Skye
Original Source: Museum of the Isles [MS.45]


Letter from Clementine Churchill 1942, page 2

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Description

Second page of the Letter from Clementina Churchill to Miss Betsy MacLeod, the headteacher of Dunan School, Isle of Skye, thanking her for the school's contribution to the Red Cross Aid for Russia fund.

Source

Date: 16 Feb 1942
Contributor: MacLeod, Una
Location: Dunan, Isle of Skye
Original Source: Museum of the Isles [MS.45]


Fund raising for Salute the Soldiers Week

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Description

Isabel Moore reads extracts from the Wartime Diary of Evelyn Loyd, Tormore, Ardvasar, Isle of Skye

Transcript

June 22nd was Salute the Soldiers week for Skye. I invested a modest £20, but 2 collectors in Breakish in one afternoon got £1000! Bath raised a million!

Source

Date: 22 Jun 1944
Contributor: Moore, Isabel
Location: Isle of Skye
Original Source: Museum of the Isles Highland Council Archive Service (Skye & Lochalsh) TPYF Audio IM/EL


"Tanks for Attack" Nov 1942

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Description

Donald Gillies's diary entry of November 1942 lists the money raised in the different areas of Skye for the "Tanks for Attack" campaign. Over £16,000 was raised in total.

Donald Gillies (1881-1973) was born at Peinmore, Isle of Skye. In 1925, he began a journal of news and events relating to his native island, mainly culled from contemporary newspaper sources. The diaries continue through the Second World War period and were kept up after Donald Gillies retired to Peinmore in 1946. The series closes in 1965.

Source

Date: Nov 1942
Contributor: Gillies, Donald
Location: Isle of Skye and Raasay
Original Source: Donald Gillies Diaries: The Annals of Skye, 1941-42 2002.1.8, Highland Council Archive Service (Skye & Lochalsh)


"Bring and Buy" for the Red Cross POW fund

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Description

Armadale WRI decide to hold a bring and buy sale to raise money for the POW fund, and to distribute American vegetable seeds.

Source

Date: 2 Apr 1943
Location: Armadale, Isle of Skye
Original Source: Museum of the Isles MSL2


Prisoners of War Week May 1943

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Description

In May 1943 Donald Gillies records in his diary the fund raising efforts made in Skye for the Inverness-shire Prisoners of War Week. Over £500 was raised. This fund was very important to the people of Skye. The 51st Highland Division, in which many men from Inverness-shire served, had been captured in 1940 after the defeat at St Valery, and the men were now POWs.

Donald Gillies (1881-1973) was born at Peinmore, Isle of Skye. In 1925, he began a journal of news and events relating to his native island, mainly culled from contemporary newspaper sources. The diaries continue through the Second World War period and were kept up after Donald Gillies retired to Peinmore in 1946. The series closes in 1965.

Source

Date: May 1943
Contributor: Gillies, Donald
Location: Isle of Skye
Original Source: Donald Gillies Diaries: The Annals of Skye, 1943-44 2002.1.9, Highland Council Archive Service (Skye & Lochalsh)


Ardvasar School Log Book 25th June 1943

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Description

Extract from the Ardvasar School Log Book 25th June 1943 recording the school's contribution to the Wings of Victory Week campaign.

Transcript

‘For Wings of Victory Week the savings of the School Savings Association amounted to £33.15’.

Source

Date: 25 Jun 1943
Location: Ardvasar, Isle of Skye
Original Source: CI/5/3/166d, Highland Council Archive Service (Skye & Lochalsh)


Wings for Victory

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Description

Newspaper advertisement promoting the Wings for Victory campaign in June 1943 and encouraging people to purchase saving certificates.

Source

Date: 1943
Contributor: Macdonald, Maggie


The Sky's the limit!

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Description

The launch of the Wings for Victory campaign in June 1943 is described in this extract from Donald Gillies's Diary. The campaign's slogan in Skye was " The Sky's the limit but there is no limit for Skye" and its aim was to raise enough money to buy a Catalina flying boat costing £20,000 for the RAF.

Donald Gillies (1881-1973) was born at Peinmore, Isle of Skye. In 1925, he began a journal of news and events relating to his native island, mainly culled from contemporary newspaper sources. The diaries continue through the Second World War period and were kept up after Donald Gillies retired to Peinmore in 1946. The series closes in 1965.

Source

Date: Jun 1943
Contributor: Gillies, Donald
Location: Isle of Skye
Original Source: Donald Gillies Diaries: The Annals of Skye, 1943-44 2000.1.9, Highland Council Archive Service (Skye & Lochalsh)


Catalina Flying Boat

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Description

Consolidated Model 28 Catalina Mark II AM 269 'BN-K'.
This was the type of aircraft that the people of Skye were raising money to buy in the campaign Wings for Victory in June 1943. This was an American aircraft in RAF service and was part of No 240 Squadron RAF based at Stranraer, Wigtownshire. It is pictured here moored on Loch Ryan.

The Catalina proved its worth in combat during World War Two. In the Atlantic it was successful in the battle against enemy U-boats. It was an RAF Catalina which located the German battleship, Bismarck, after it had temporarily escaped pursuit from British forces.

Source

Date: Mar 1941
Contributor: Tovey, P N F (Mr)
Location: Loch Ryan, Ayrshire
Original Source: IMW CH_002448, Imperial War Museum


Scarcity of paper

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Description

Jonathan MacDonald remembers the effects which wartime shortages had on schools.

Biography

Jonathan MacDonald was born in the Kilmuir area of Skye in 1932. He has maintained a life-long interest in the history and Gaelic culture of the island and has published on many topics relating to local history, place-names and historical figures and events of interest. He is a pioneer of the open-air museum in Scotland having established the Skye Museum of Island Life at Duntulm in the 1960s. As well as being an accomplished historian and Fellow of the Royal Society of Antiquaries (Scotland) he is a fine exponent of traditional Gaelic song and of Gaelic psalmody and precenting.

Transcript

Cha robh mòran anns an sgoil air atharrachadh ach gun robh, fad a' Chogaidh, gainne ann air pàipear, 's gainne ann air a h-uile càil airson a' Chogaidh. Bha teas na sgoile air a bheagachadh – ’s air a chumail sìos – agus bha na sgoiltean a' dèanamh an dìchill ri bhith a’ cumail cosgais sìos cho mòr 's a b' urrainn dhaibh. Bha rud ris an canadh iad “War Effort” ann, agus bhiodh tu feuchainn ri beagan ghnothaichean a chruinneachadh airson an cur air falbh gu na saighdearan. Agus chan eil teagamh sam bith nach robh sin a' dèanamh feum dhaibh, 's a' togail an inntinn, 's a' toirt misneachd dhaibh as ùr. Bha fear a' tighinn mu chuairt air na sgoiltean, a' misneachadh na cloinne, 's a' misneachadh dhaoine airson airgead a chruinneachadh – airgead sam bith a b' urrainn dhaibh a chruinneachadh.

Source

Date: 194-
Contributor: MacDonald, Jonathan
Location: Isle of Skye
Original Source: Jonathan MacDonald Museum of the Isles Highland Council Archive Service (Skye and Lochalsh) TPYF Interview Gaelic OH JMD 28.09.09 Interviewed by Mary Carmichael

Translation

School materials were scarce during the war; paper was in short supply; heating was reduced and schools did their best to keep costs of all sorts to a minimum.


Salvaging waste paper

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Description

This picture, taken aboard a battleship, shows seamen sorting through mail and other items in order to salvage the waste paper for the war effort. Such images were used to encourage everyone else to do likewise.

Source

Date: Sep 1942
Contributor: Tomlin, H.W. (Lt)


"Bha daoine a' dèanamh oidhirp is dìcheall" / Helping the war effort

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Description

Lachie Gillies describes how he and his school friends collected waste paper and scrap metal for recycling and collection in the Staffin area of Skye.

Biography

Lachie Gillies was born and raised in Stenscholl, Staffin, Isle of Skye in the house where he still lives. He is a retired fisherman and crofter who has a passion for local history and the Gaelic language and culture. As a young teenager he met with an accident on the croft and spent time recuperating in the Naval Hospital based at Duncraig Castle near Plockton.

Transcript

Bha sinn a’ dèanamh corra rud, mar a bhiodh cruinneachadh pàipearan ’s leabhraichean ’s rudan dhen t-seòrsa sin, ruith air na taighean. Na pàipearan naidheachd, bhiomaid ag ràdh ris, can muinntir a’ bhaile againn fhìn, a h-uile pàipear naidheachd a chur air leth ’s gun tigeamaid timcheall aig a h-uile ceann tìde gan cruinneachadh. Bhiomaid a’ falbh … gan cur ann am poca ’s bhiomaid gan toirt leinn a-null gu na sgoil an uair sin ’s bha na bailtean an siud ’s an seo a’ dèanamh an aon rud. Maighstir sgoile gar cuideachadh ’s a h-uile ceann – dòcha mìos – thigeadh làraidh mhòr timcheall ’s bhiodh iad a’ cruinneachadh a h-uile càil a bha sin ’s ga thoirt leotha.
Bhiomaid a-rithist a’ cruinneachadh pìosan iarainn an siud ’s an seo ’s a’ dèanamh torran beaga dheth siud ri taobh an rathaid ’s thigeadh làraidh timcheall ’s bheireadh iad … bheireadh iad leotha e ’s bha iad ga leaghadh sìos.
Bha daoine dèanamh oidhirp is dìcheall an uair sin airson …bha, mar gun canadh tu, bha iad airson buaidh fhaighinn air a’ ghnothach. Bha cuideachadh air a thoirt seachad agus bha iad airson na saighdearan ’s na gillean ’s na h-igheannan a bhiodh air falbh, gum biodh a h-uile cuideachadh a’ tighinn gan ionnsaigh o na taighean.

Source

Date: 194-
Contributor: Gillies, Lachlan (Lachie)
Location: Isle of Skye
Original Source: Lachlan (Lachie) Gillies Museum of the Isles Highland Council Archive Service (Skye and Lochalsh) TPYF Interview OH LG 16.09.09 Interviewed by pupils of Staffin Primary School with Mary Carmichael and Dolina Munro

Translation

We did a variety of things such as collecting papers, books and such things, calling on every house for newspapers and gathering them together for collection at a later date, say from our own township. They would be put in a bag and taken to the school then. Other townships here and there would do the same thing, helped by the schoolmaster. And perhaps every month a big lorry would come round and call to take all the stuff away. We also collected bits of iron and piled it up beside the road and this would be picked up by lorry and taken for re-smelting. People did their best and made a determined effort then because they wanted to make a difference, to help and to make sure that the lads and the lassies who were away would get every help from home.


Saucepans to Spitfires

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Description

As part of the war effort saucepans were melted down for their aluminium content. This was used to make aeroplanes, hence the slogan Saucepans for Spitfires. This image shows two men adding a variety of scrap items to the smelter.

Source

Date: 1940


Paper and metal

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Description

Lachie Gillies describes (in English) how he and his fellow pupils at school would play their part in the war effort.

Biography

Lachie Gillies was born and raised in Stenscholl, Staffin, Isle of Skye in the house where he still lives. He is a retired fisherman and crofter who has a passion for local history and the Gaelic language and culture. As a young teenager he met with an accident on the croft and spent time recuperating in the Naval Hospital based at Duncraig Castle near Plockton.

Transcript

Paper was really scarce in those days. We as children – you used to go around collecting waste paper; old newspapers - newspapers, books - old books, and we would be taking them to school in bags on our back, helping the war effort. After collecting so much, say once a month, a lorry would come round and all that would be piled onto the lorry. It would call at all the schools round about the area, and a lorry load of paper would go off to the mainland to be recycled. So, lots of other things we were doing during the war, helping the war effort, we were also collecting scrap metal, we were making… och we were going here and there and looking round about old buildings and making wee heapies at the roadside, again, of all that, and a lorry would come round and collect it, and it would be melted and used for the war effort.

Source

Date: 194-
Contributor: Lachlan MacGilliosa / Lachie Gillies
Location: Isle of Skye
Original Source: Lachlan (Lachie) Gillies Museum of the Isles Highland Council Archive Service (Skye and Lochalsh) TPYF Interview English OH LG 16.09.09 Interviewed by pupils of Staffin Primary School with Mary Carmichael and Dolina Munro


Aluminium salvage - Saucepans to Spitfires

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Description

Processing salvaged aluminium, a photograph used by the Ministry of Information as part of the campaign to encourage collection and recycling of metal. This image shows the processed scrap metal, now in the form of ingots, being wheeled along in large 'bogies'.

Source

Date: 1940


Cemetery railings for scrap iron

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Description

Donald Gillies records in his diary in November 1942 that the removal of churchyard railings to be used for scrap iron in the war effort was to due begin in Skye.

Donald Gillies (1881-1973) was born at Peinmore, Isle of Skye. In 1925, he began a journal of news and events relating to his native island, mainly culled from contemporary newspaper sources. The diaries continue through the Second World War period and were kept up after Donald Gillies retired to Peinmore in 1946. The series closes in 1965.

Source

Date: Nov 1942
Contributor: Gillies, Donald
Location: Isle of Skye and Inverness-shire
Original Source: Donald Gillies Diaries: The Annals of Skye, 1941-42 2002.1.8, Highland Council Archive Service (Skye & Lochalsh)


"I remember the noise of the wagons . . . terrible noise!"

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Description

Annie MacLean of Raasay remembers the dismantling of the old Raasay iron mine installations at Suisnish and the scrap iron and remaining ore being taken away from the mine workings to be used in the war effort.

Biography

Annie MacLean was born in Raasay in 1928 and raised on a croft near the pier. The family moved to Inverarish in 1939. She was the only girl in the family and had an older brother in the Royal Artillery and another in the Driver's Corps. After her mother died Annie remained at home on Raasay and has many recollections of the changes that occurred there during the war.

Transcript

They were taking away the scrap iron. See, the kilns there, they were iron kilns and all this iron. And the railway going up to the mine. And they even took away the rails the bogies were running on. They took away all the scrap iron. That was a power house and engines and that, they took all that away. And I remember when they were taking away the scrap iron. I still remember the noise of the wagons running through that railway which was leading onto the pier. And there was a puffer and it’s the noise of them putting the scrap iron and all that onto the puffer. Terrible noise! When the mines stopped, the bogies were still lying along with the ore in them. And they took that away first. They emptied all those iron bogies they had and they took that away, and then took all the scrap iron.

Source

Date: 194-
Contributor: MacLean, Mrs Annie
Location: Isle of Raasay
Original Source: Mrs Annie MacLean Museum of the Isles Highland Council Archive Service (Skye and Lochalsh) TPYF Interview OH AML (2) 08.10.09 Interviewed by Mary Carmichael


Raasay Iron Mine

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Description

This view taken from the head of the pier at Suisnish in Raasay gives only some idea of the Raasay Iron Mine when it was in full production and sending off regular cargoes of local iron ore. Originally, a rail line terminated at a calcinating or crushing plant at Suisnish; this was connected to the pierhead by conveyor which transported the ore to a series of hoppers or bunkers located at the pierhead. The mine was worked up until the end of the First World War after which iron-ore production ceased. Although everything was maintained in full working order, almost the only iron to be extracted in the Second World War was scrap from the dismantled installation itself.

Source

Contributor: MacLean, Mrs Annie
Location: Isle of Raasay
Original Source: Museum of the Isles Highland Council Archive Service (Skye and Lochalsh)


The iron works, Suisnish, Isle of Raasay

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Description

The plant complex at the Raasay iron works prior to being dismantled. The iron mines and associated railways were in working order between 1912 and 1942 though iron ore production had ceased within a few months of the end of the First World War. The mine was operated by William Baird & Co.
A 1.5 mile railway line connected the Iron mines above Inverarish to a plant and the pierhead at Suisnish. The line was cable hauled because of the steep gradients. At one time there was a concrete and girder viaduct of which only the concrete piers can be seen today.

Source

Location: Isle of Raasay
Original Source: Museum of the Isles Highland Council Archive Service (Skye and Lochalsh)