Poor Willie Macleod has been killed in France. Dina was sent for on Friday just after she had gone to school. Isn’t it tragic! Poor Annie has been bad with asthma lately and Mrs. Macleod not at all well, so they are ill prepared for such a blow… Stornoway, 27th May. 1917

Extract from letter from Mrs Gibson to Jean Gibson, 23 May 1917

Mrs Gibson’s letter to Jean this week reports on the sad news of the death of a local lad killed in France, and an interesting reference to a Mr Keard at Dartmoor Prison. During World War One, Dartmoor was used to house Conscientious Objectors. The next in our series of letters from the W.J. Gibson collection held by Museum nan Eilean. Please get in touch if you have any comments: archives@cne-siar.gov.uk

Dear Sheann,

We got your letter at the right time this week and were glad to get all your news.  I can see Maud in her salmon pink coat, and am sure it looks nice.  It may be all right to have darney(?) jersey coats at the Residence but it is well to have a decent one in reserve.  Be sure you get a new one before you come home.  Get a pretty one and you can get it dyed later.  Had you got a decent hat.  But where are my gloves etc.?  I have no gloves at all and have lately been wearing Papa’s.  So do not delay.

Hope you got the cakes all right.  They should have reached you yesterday.

Poor Willie Macleod has been killed in France.  Dina was sent for on Friday just after she had gone to school.  Isn’t it tragic!  Poor Annie has been bad with asthma lately and Mrs. Macleod not at all well, so they are ill prepared for such a blow.  He was killed instantaneously.  Archie Craig is reported wounded and missing, and they are in grief and anxiety too.  Charlie Anderson has been mentioned in dispatches.

It will be nice if Maud’s teacher comes to Sy. and of course we would all go to hear her.  Tell Maud there are very numerous applications for Miss Harper’s place.  I don’t know when they are to make the appointment.

The school concert on Friday night was very good but the sketches suffered from being done in broad day light.

Miss Smith was in one afternoon last week.  She said she had written to you.

Mr. & Mrs. Anderson are here.  They came last Thursday.  We haven’t seen the baby yet.

I was calling on Mrs. Firth Maciver one day and she gave me the enclosed prints.  Please return them in your next.   Papa says that in one you look very sure that he is manipulating the camera all wrong.

We have had thunder storms here and quite tropical rain yesterday and today.  It is still heavy and dull but close and warm.  Things should grow greatly after it.

Miss Miller and Mr. H. were here on Wednesday. I was not much taken with him, but Annie was bright in manner and looking very nice and very young.  Hope it will turn out well.

As I write I see the barrow going round for some one’s luggage.  Glad I’m not the one going.

I hear that Maud’s father and mother have left the parish church.  It seems Mr. W. A. Ross failed to send Mr. M. notice of some session meeting – hence the offence taken.  Perhaps it may yet be overlooked.  I haven’t seen Mrs. M for ages.

Mr. Clark Laxdale was in after church today for a smoke.  Mrs. C. has had a bad cold.  You know she is teaching in school till the holidays.

Miss Littlejohn was enquiring for you and Maud.  She is sorry not to have seen anything of you but she has been very little in Aberdeen.  She is still full of energy and cheerfulness.

Mr. C. J. Maciver has had a long letter from Mr. Keard(?).  He is now at Princetown Dartmoor, lodged in the prison engaged in reclaiming part of the moor.  Has not changed his point of view at all and is glad of all his very varied experiences.

Hope you got on well on Friday.

Love from us both to Sheann.

Your loving Ma

*Dartmoor Prison was one of those used as a First World War Home Office Work Camp after compulsory conscription was introduced in 1916, to house Conscientious Objectors (COs) who had been sentenced to imprisonment for refusing to obey military orders. Keard may be an Anglicised form of the Gaelic ‘ceard’ indicating that the person referred to in the letter was from a Scottish Gypsy Traveller family.

Ref: 1992.50.64i/L50

Transcribed by Vivienne Parish, Museum Visitor Assistant

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.