Dr John Holliday, Charles MacDonell, Donald
Meek, Bob Chalmers and
‘The Secret Island’ is a real first for Tiree.
In a book containing 20 chapters launched last week, in which 18 authors discuss different aspects of the history of the island since 1745 a fascinating story of the past unfolds.
Our very own Gordon Scott, Iain Smith, Iona Brown and John Bowler contribute chapters on the church, the Balephuil fishing disaster, Tiree gaelic and history of birds and their habitats. Professor Donald Meek has written four chapters, on the land struggle, transport, Non -Conformist churches and the Rev John Gregorson Campbell, and Lesley Ferguson discusses the work of the archaeologist Erskine Beveridge on Coll and Tiree.
The book is a real treasure house for those seeking historical knowledge of the island and varied perspectives on its past. The book was born after the huge success of the Secret Island history conference last year. Up until the publication and launch of ‘Secret Island’ last week, Tiree was one of the very few Hebridean islands without a full-length recent book which covered its remarkable history.
Dr John Holliday, chair of An Iodhlann, which organised last year’s conference said ,”It is really wonderful to have this book as a permanent record of so many aspects of the island’s past and it is a real step forward in trying to understand the secrets of this very special place.”
The 425 page book is priced at £12 and is available at An Iodhlann, the Tiree Business Centre and also may be bought in all good bookshops. It makes a wonderful read !
Cornaigmore School ca 1915, Headmaster Mr Ewan on right. The school mistress may be Betty Ann MacDonald of Cornaigbeg.
We have a number of school and form photographs –135 to be exact – but we are very keen to copy more,from long ago to last year.
If you have some, please let us know. We can copy it and get it back to you in a few days, and telling us who is in them is just as important.
Ruaig School 1925-6. L-R: (back row) Robert MacLeod, teacher; Neil MacDonald, Brock; ?; ? ; Archie Falls; Charlie Lamont; Archie MacFadyen, Ardeas; Lachie MacLean, Vaul;
(2nd back row) Donald MacDonald, Brock; Mary Donnelly *; Morag Lamont; Peggy Nicholson *; Kate MacGill *; Annie MacLean (now in Africa); Chrissie MacInnes, Salum; Flora MacKinnon, Dunmore; Mary MacKinnon, Seaside, Vaul; Ina Anderson *; Donald MacArthur, Milton; Donald Archie Cameron; Miss MacKinnon, teacher from Mull;
(middle row) Hughina MacDonald; Flora MacLean, Caoles;
(2nd front row) Jessie MacGill *; Elsie MacKinnon, Lodge Farm, Kirkapol *; Lizzie MacGill *; Lizzie Barr *; Ina Falls *; Annie Lamont, Ruaig; Maggie MacKinnon; Lizzie Hobbins (cousin of Lachaidh Sheumais); Effie MacArthur, Roisgeal;
(front row) Neil MacLean, Carnan; Angus Lamont; Lamont twin; Lamont twin; John Falls *; Mark Hare *; David MacLean; John MacFadyen, Ardeas; Effie Berry (Donald Berry’s mother); Lachie MacFadyen; Ruby MacDougall *; 44 Willie MacIntosh.
(* boarded out)
If you can recognise anyone in this photo check to see if we’ve got it right!
H. M.S. Sturdy The Final installment
Once all of the 105 crew were accounted for, the captain’s priority was to remove all the secret papers from the vessel. Most of the crew, including the injured, were taken to Oban that evening on HMS Rhododendron, leaving a salvage party of 22 on the island.
The wreck held provisions that were too tempting to ignore for warhungry Tiree.
Angus MacLean, Scarinish recalled “I never saw so much tea in my life.”
He saw an old man from West Hynish wearing an old tweed coat with patch pockets at the Sturdy wreck. He held the pockets open and someone literally poured the loose tea into them.
“It would have done him for a year!”
“The first ‘Crunchie’ bar I had to eat was from the Sturdy”. Mairi Campbell, Corrairigh.
“It wasn’t very safe. It’s a wonder to me no one was hurt or even drowned. I was there myself looking for souvenirs, and I’ve got one of the clasp knives out there in the workshop. And as for tobacco! My goodness, tobacco! Cigarettes by the million! Rum if you wanted it, plenty of rum too. And some of the boys [the Navy salvage party]would pinch a drop for a person, too”. Hugh MacLean, Barrapol.
Willie MacLean, Balinoe, watched another old islander searching on the beach afterwards. There were piles of oilskins and boots tangled up in the seaweed and he stripped off his old trousers and put on the new Navy oilskin trousers. The Sturdy’s chief engineer had fractured his knee during the evacuation of the boat. His son, Mike Gibson, was sent to Tiree to collect what personal possessions he could:
The preceding was extracted from the paper version of An Tirisdeach.