Mamma has already told you the sad news of John Munro’s death. Lachlan Macleod of the 1914 class had been reported missing and was believed killed, but word has come that he is a prisoner of war. Terrible fighting is still going on, and folk who have boys in it are very anxious. Roddie Fraser has already been in the front line. Mr. Jas. P. Anderson is wounded and in hospital at Stockport. It is in the leg, not bad, he says & he expects to be soon sent out again… Stornoway, 28th April. 1918

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson 28th April 1918

In his letter to Jean this week, Mr Gibson has further sad news regarding the local lads away at war, including news that one lad has been taken captive as a prisoner of war. He also, interestingly, explains his potato growing experiments to Jean, and delivers a short verse to her regarding her letter writing. 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

Jean dear,

Behold us starting forth for church at 11 o’clock, Mamma in her new frock, not before worn but already of a fashion a year old, and Papa in his grey suit and long beard!  The weather continues choice – for a week it has been ideal. 

Got your letter yesterday on which the family versifier offered the following :

“There was a lass called Jean

Who wrote a letter lean

And sent it to her parients (?) across the sea;

On Saturday it came,

And was it not a shame

So little news should hide beneath a penny fee?”

Suggestions by Mamma to fill up future letters – we have heard nothing of the inmates, of Gladys, of the new room-mate; I have not even had the receipt of the bank-book acknowledged, spite of all my endeavours to establish the priority of things financial in all “proply” conducted correspondence.

Much relief that the Nat. Phil. is not to be fastened on to you; it wd. have been a bother.  Your Zoo sounds very interesting, and it did surprise us to hear you anticipating that a shore excursion wd. be “boring” under any kind of conductor – Mr. Flattely or another!

I am glad to know that you are getting some practical work in the Embryology.  Mamma was glad to hear again about the garden and its possibilities of fresh air.

Yesterday (Saturday) Mr. Ewen and I had quite a day among the potatoes.  With the help of three boys (who shd. have been a dozen if zeal had not fallen off sadly) we got all the experimental portion of our allotment planted.  It is to answer the follg. questions:-

  1. Does wide or narrow drilling give most produce for same area?
  2. Wide or narrow sets ditto?
  3. Deep or shallow cultivation?
  4. Deep, medium or shallow planting?
  5. Small whole pots. or cut big ones?
  6. Sprayed or unsprayed plots?

A good part of the rest of the allotment is still to plant.  If the good weather still holds we must try to have a rally in force to-morrow evening.  On our own patch in Mr. M’s garden we still have some planting to do.

Mr. John Anderson is now here and has been busy among the bees.  He expects to go away to-night.  He is to be up this afternoon to give us the Abd. News.

We were interested to hear about your and Maud’s visit to Mrs. Lumsden.  You must have been proud of yourselves to be able to give Stornoway news that was new to them.

— Mamma has already told you the sad news of John Munro’s death.   Lachlan Macleod of the 1914 class had been reported missing and was believed killed, but word has come that he is a prisoner of war.  Terrible fighting is still going on, and folk who have boys in it are very anxious.  Roddie Fraser has already been in the front line.  Mr. Jas. P. Anderson is wounded and in hospital at Stockport.  It is in the leg, not bad, he says & he expects to be soon sent out again.

Donald Thomson is to preach in our church to-night.  He was licensed by the Presbytery about a week ago.

We were glad to hear that Miss Muriel was gradually getting better.  A stay out at Cults shd. help.  When does Miss Templeton go away?  Jean I see is as usual busy.  Mamma delighted to hear of your domestic industry art the C.U. rooms.

Best love Papa

Ref: 1992.50.64ii/L49

Transcribed by Vivienne Parish, Museum Visitor Assistant

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