The jury enquiry into the loss of the “Iolaire”, which has been ordered, opens on Monday. The Crown is sending down a special law agent, and the Sheriff Principal is to preside… Stornoway 6th Feb. 1919

Extract from letter from Mr Gibson to Jean Gibson, 6th February 1919

Mr Gibson reminisces about Jean’s girlhood, whilst Barrie the cat has been out of sorts. Local servicemen are returning from the Balkans, whilst the enquiry into the Iolaire disaster is imminent. 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:

Jean dear,

We have been having very cold frosty weather here for a few days – quite an improvement on the previous mild damp days.  Mamma is busy to-night ironing, and she has had a cold for some days, so I am writing so that she may not need to do it when so tired.  Mine of course don’t make up to you for Mamma’s, but you’ll put up with it in the circumstances.

Barrie has not been very well for a day or so and we were somewhat concerned about him; but he is more like himself and had a piece of sausage meat to-day – “just a li’l small”, which he seemed to enjoy.

I started this letter last night but had to stop to attend a Library Committee meeting.  We have missed your letter this week, but perhaps there will be one to-morrow morning.  Things keep very quiet here, with little to interest or amuse.  Mamma and Mrs. Clark went out to the Manse on Tuesday afternoon to see Mrs. Menzies.  She keeps well.  When they came back I went with them as convoy and we saw Mrs. C. as far as the hollow at the crossroads.  Mr. C. was to go south that night to an Edinburgh meeting, so he’ll be seeing Bessie.  She is working very hard.  We hope she’ll get through her exams. successfully.  If hard work merits success I think she is entitled to some.

Mamma has been mending my underwear all afternoon and evening and has been finding the time long.  It certainly is not a cheering form of work.

I had a letter this morning from Miss Henry and she was asking for you.  She was reminding us of a school concert when you were a very small girl and had delighted her by putting one of your little comrade’s feet right when you were all being drawn up on the platform.  You were an earnest little soul.  Mamma says it was on that occasion that you proudly showed some of the teachers a piece of lace you had on your petticoat that, you were delighted to tell them, had come off your Mamma’s wedding dress.

Some of the old boys were in this afternoon, among them Aleck Macleod (“Blind Harry”).  Unfortunately he had been demobilised too late to take up the present Term’s work as John Macdonald did.  They say that over a score of the old boys are on their way home from Salonika, so there will probably be some of them up with you at Easter to begin Medicine.  I do not think that you took up quite what I meant about the Old Nicolsonians in Aberdeen.  I was not contemplating an Assocn of them to have regular meetings; I was thinking only of one gathering during the Term of a social character.  But unless there was a general wish for it it wd not do to push it in any way.  The value of these things lies in their spontaneity.

The jury enquiry into the loss of the “Iolaire”, which has been ordered, opens on Monday.  The Crown is sending down a special law agent, and the Sheriff Principal is to preside.

Dr. Murray went away last night.  He expects to be in London for the King’s Speech.  He was taking Aleen with him to Aberdeen; she hasn’t been very well.  There is a great deal of sickness in Stornoway just now.

Our best love.


Transcribed by Dawn MacDonald, Archives Collection Assistant

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