Monday, 30 May 2016

Orkney at War - Wartime Visitors

As part of our Orkney at War exhibition we have a few original items on show in the Archive Searchroom.

One gift we received a couple of years ago which we are quite excited about is a Visitor's Book from the Y.M.C.A. in Longhope.

"Long Hope Bay during the war was the headquarters of the auxiliaries of the Grand Fleet, and never in its history were so many vessels of such varied types assembled in the harbour. The village of Long Hope, where there is a good pier, naturally became much frequented by officers and men from the ships, and eventually a commodious Y.M.C.A. was erected, which did much useful work. Tea on the beach was always a pleasant change from ship life (and tinned milk!), and the Post Office at Long Hope became a favourite rendezvous for informal tea-parties."

Quote from Scapa and a Camera by C W Burrows, p51. Orkney Room reference 941.09 Y

The book records many visitors and volunteers to the Y M C A from August 1916 - 1939. The first page contains some well-known names:

It is signed on 1st August 1916 by Admiral John Jellicoe, Commander in Chief. It is also signed by his wife Gwendoline Jellicoe and her sister, Freda Cayzer from Tarbert House, Ross-shire. I do hope they enjoyed their cup of tea.
Archive reference: D1/1207
Other items on show are:
John Fraser's record of Orcadians service in the 1914-1918 war which is an indexed scrapbook of soldiers deaths and officer ranks of Orcadians in WW1 containing mostly press cuttings, which include photographs of soldiers and officers from all the parishes of Orkney who served and died.
Archive reference: D1/692
Lily Gunn's Souvenir and Autograph book which contains drawings, poems, photographs and messages from patients of the British Farmers Hospital and the Number 2 Anglo-Belgian Hospital, Calais, France from 1916-1918.
Archive reference: D1/983
An extract of Military Tribunal Register of Cases
A Technical Instruction Committee of the Secondary Education Committee was formed in 1910, which in the following year became the Advisory Committee concerned with extension work in Orkney of the Aberdeen and North of Scotland College of Agriculture. On account of its links with agriculture this Advisory Committee was in turn metamorphosed into the District Agricultural Committee on Food Production in 1916, and had thrust upon its various functions far removed from secondary education, including matters pertaining to military recruitment and the supply of labour for farms. By an extension of this aspect of its work the committee was used, according to the Agricultural Military Service Act , 1916, for the hearing of appeals for exemption from military service on grounds of agricultural necessity.
Two men mentioned in this particular extract are:
John Sabiston, aged 19 from Northbigging, Swona, a ploughman, fisherman and boatman was refused exemption from military service on 28th April 1916. He appealed on 19th May 1916, but his appeal was dismissed on 2nd June 1916.
Peter S Garrioch, aged 40, from Grindally, Orphir, a farmer, was granted conditional exemption on 11th April 1916.
This extract contains about 25 names and we have about 20 pages of names in the whole register. Our friends at the Orkney Family History Society have kindly volunteered to transcribe all the pages for us.
Archive reference: CO5/3/8
This small exhibition of original items will stay on display until the end of August 2016.  

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