On Monday shortly after 11 o’clock the sirens and hooters began to blow, proclaiming the armistice. Tuesday was intimated as a Town holiday, so after the Bible lesson on Tues. morning we were off for the day. On the Monday evening there was a tea for the naval men at the hut. Mamma and I were down. Mr. Murray got me to say a few words on the occasion to the men. Then there was a sing-song and I believe they enjoyed themselves till eleven… Stornoway 14th Nov. 1918

Mr Gibson relays accounts of the historic armistice, in both Stornoway, and as experienced in London by Jean’s cousin George. In sadder news, the Nicolson Institute has been closed in response to increasing influenza deaths. In lighter mood, Mr Gibson has a new and terrible “Dad” joke, and misquotes Milton’s Lycidas in a fond reference to Barrie the cat. 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

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson, 14th November 1918

Jean dear,

Behold!  George has come; arrived on Tuesday night.  I found him at the gangway and recognised him by his likeness to Joe and his father.  He had had a good crossing.  Was in London when the armistice was declared and got close to the balcony at Buckingham Palace when the King and Queen appeared.  Was greatly impressed by the sight of London off its head with news.

He has been in hospital for quite a time and is still not quite well.  He is getting three weeks’ leave.  We have been telling him that when he goes south again, he must go by Aberdeen and see you.  You will find him quite an interesting addition to your very short list of known cousins.

By-the-way, he met in London a Mrs. Smith, niece of the Principal.  Do you know about her?  Her husband is some kind of Governor, or something, abroad.

Major Alfred L. Robertson is home on leave.  He was in seeing us to-night and was telling us something about the liberated regions of Belgium.  The influenza has reached Story now.  It has been pretty bad in the country for some time now, and there have been a number of deaths.  The first death in Story was that of Jo Maclennan, of which I think I told you on Sunday.  To-day Dr. Murray has closed the School (including the Secondary Dept.) for three weeks.

On Monday shortly after 11 o’clock the sirens and hooters began to blow, proclaiming the armistice.  Tuesday was intimated as a Town holiday, so after the Bible lesson on Tues. morning we were off for the day.  On the Monday evening there was a tea for the naval men at the hut.  Mamma and I were down.  Mr. Murray got me to say a few words on the occasion to the men.  Then there was a sing-song and I believe they enjoyed themselves till eleven.  Mamma and I came off about nine.

Four mice caught in the scullery on Sunday evening!  They were duly consigned to the mousoleum.

We heard with regret of the sad way in which the Abd. students had – some of them – celebrated the close of the fighting.  What a pity that we should still be at that stage, spite of all our national effort and sacrifice.  What can be done to put it right?  And they are the educated part of the community!   What a pity it all is!

We got a gift of pictures – reproductions in colour of some of the great pictures – from Lord Leverhulme, some sixteen, for school decoration.  They are quite good, and will prove an acquisition.

We are sitting in the parlour.  George is writing home, Mamma reading the newspaper, Barrie lying on the hearthrug, to whom I have just told that I am sending his love to you, and “touched his trembling ears.”  He looked up, so you see he agrees.

Best love.

Papa

Ref: 1992.50.64iii/L11

Transcribed by Dawn MacDonald, Archives Collection Assistant

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.