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Lockerbie Garden of Remembrance

The memorial to those who died as a result of the blowing-up of Pan-Am Flight 103 lies in Lockerbie Cemetery.

Viewed from the cemetery:-

Lockerbie Garden of Remembrance

Remembrance plaque:-

Lockerbie, Garden of Remembrance Plaque

Garden of remembrance:-

Lockerbie, Garden of Remembrance

Closer view. The centre stone of the three in the middle ground is inscribed, “In remembrance of all victims of Lockerbie Air Disaster who died on 21st December 1988.”

Lockerbie,Garden of Remembrance, Closer View

Memorial Wall:-

Lockerbie, Garden of Remembrance Memorial Wall

Wigtown, Dumfries and Galloway

Wigtown formerly in Wigtownshire and then Wigtown and Kircudbright and now Dumfries and Galloway is in deepest southwest Scotland.

Main Street looking south:-

Main Street, Wigtown

Main Street looking north, town hall to centre right:-

Main Street, Wigtown, Reverse View

Looking north past town hall, War Memorial in middle distance:-

Wigtown Street 3

Wigtown sells itself as Scotland’s book town, its Hay-on-Wye if you like. Unlike in Hay-on-Wye I actually bought a book. The bookseller was much taken when I told him the tale.

THE Bookshop:-

bookshop 1


The Scottish room:-

THE Bookshop, Wigtown

There are several shops selling books but not much else there apart from coffeshops and the like.

We took a walk down a path leading to the Martyr’s Stake.

In southeast Scotland they had a particularly innovative method of execution in those parts back in the day. Tying the victims to stakes and letting the tide rise to drown them. This is a memorial (now well away from the sea) to people martyred in such a way for their beliefs:-

Martyrs' Stake, Wigtown

The Golden Bough by James George Frazer

A Study in Magic and Religion.

Abridged Edition. Macmillan and Company, 1949, 759 p, including 42 p Index. Plus iii p Preface, vi p Contents. Abridged edition first published in 1922. One of the 100 best Scottish Books.

The Golden Bough cover

I would not have read this had it not been on the 100 Best Scottish Books list and also available from my local Council’s library service. Nevertheless it provided an interesting overview of its subjects. This abridged version – of 759 pages! – has been distilled down from no fewer than twelve volumes. The original must have been a prodigious feat of research and scholarship.

In his preface Frazer states the book’s primary aim was to explain the “remarkable rule which regulated the succession to the priesthood of Diana at Aricia”. His examination shows this rule was not in any way unusual as he presents countless examples of similar practices and expands his investigation into various religious rites from around the world which have a bearing on the matter.

He considers the evolution of human thought on the way in which the world works as a progression through magic into religion and then science, with both magic and science seeing a set of rules as governing natural phenomena (though belief in magic is of course misplaced) and religion as a case of the rules being alterable by the relevant deities who must therefore be propitiated or supplicated. What he calls “primitive” humans envisioned that similar objects could each be affected alike by treating one of them in a certain way and also that things that had been in contact thereafter somehow bore the essence of what they had touched; hence the belief in sympathetic magic. Magicians developed into priests when those who knew quite well that magic was ineffective took to faking its supposed effects. The power that priests enjoyed eventually mutated into kingship and the priestly functions became divorced from the ceremonial ones. The protection kings’ subjects enjoyed could only be provided by the king being strong hence arose the custom of their being replaced before their faculties eroded, either ritually or by combat. Out of all this came the actual (and later symbolic) killings of kings, their resurrections, and consumption of kings/gods in the form either of vegetable matter shaped in the desired way or of animals which embodied the god’s spirit.

Frazer provides numerous examples of customs from many cultures all of which he asserts point to a common origin or at least to common apprehensions of the same kind.

His frequent references to savages (Australian Aborigines for example) read distressingly to modern tastes. Indigenous peoples living with and respecting the land (and its spirits) are arguably less deserving of such a term than the colonialists who treated them and their ways of life as backward and disposable.

Our long journey through the ways and beliefs of the world via kings of the wood, sympathetic magic, magical control of the weather, magicians as kings, incarnate human gods, the worship of trees, taboos, myths of varying god(desses), sacrifices, corn-spirits, those consumptions of gods, scapegoating and fire-festivals seems to have for Frazer a crucial link in the tale of the Norse god Balder, killed by a sprig of mistletoe. The resemblance to the plucking of the Golden Bough with which the priest of Diana at Aricia was killed and replaced cannot be missed.

Despite the abridgement there are still longueurs and arguably too many examples of instances of the behaviours which Frazer discusses along with too frequent repetitions of the points he is making but this is still a remarkable survey of the practices with which humans have attempted to understand and to control the world.

Aside:- Frazer notes that in the north-east of Scotland the Beltane fires in which witches were symbolically burned were called bone-fires. Bone-fires such as these are indeed from where the modern term is derived. In his discussion of fire festivals Frazer notes people, especially children, going round the neighbourhood to collect items of wood and the like to be burned in the fire. He does not, however, mention the similar long-established Halloween custom in Scotland of guising (adapted in the US – and Canada? – to trick-or-treat) nor indeed the penny-for-the-guy collections which used to precede Bonfire Night, a festival which it strikes me must have been handily co-opted for secular (well, sectarian) purposes from the All Hallows Eve fire ceremonies he describes, albeit shifted by five days. The apparently non-religious purposes of these customs may be the reason for that omission. They certainly don’t relate as easily to the Golden Bough as others in the book.

Pedant’s corner:- There were several examples of usages which have since altered- wrapt (wrapped,) blent (blended,) Hindoostan, Hindoos, Hindoo Koosh (all now spelled Hindu, plus Kush) connexion (connection,) Hallow E’en (though Hallowe’en is used later,) deas-sail and dessil (deasil,) bark (barque.) Otherwise: “the reason why a clan revere a particular species” (why a clan reveres.)

Lyness Naval Museum, Hoy, Orkney (iv)

The big former oil tank at Lyness now houses a large video screen showing films about Scapa Flow and the ships which once used it, plus several exhibits of large(ish) military machinery.

A troop carrier with US markings and searchlight in background:-

Troop Carrier, Lyness Naval Museum, Hoy, Orkney

A DUKW (or Duck) + Crane:-

DUKW + Crane, Lyness Naval Museum, Hoy, Orkney

Wheeled anti-aircraft gun. Not the best photo I’ve ever taken:-

Anti-aircraft Gun, Lyness Naval Museum, Hoy, Orkney

Signs outside pointed to an air-raid shelter. We followed them to the entrance:-

Emtrance to Air-raid Shelter, Lyness Naval Museum, Hoy, Orkney

It was quite extensive inside. This is a view of the corridor:-

Air-raid Shelter Corridor, Lyness Naval Museum, Hoy, Orkney

I suppose the rooms may have been furnished with chairs or bunks but they don’t look very prepossessing now:-

Air-raid Shelter "Room", Lyness Naval Museum, Hoy, Orkney

Lyness Naval Museum, Hoy, Orkney (iii)

Interior exhibits. On entering there is a display of photographs of ships in Scapa Flow and pieces of naval equipment/relics from both World Wars.

There was also a model of Scapa Flow showing dispositions of the interned German High Seas Fleet ships after WW1 but before the Grand Scuttle.

Island of Hoy to right, Fara left middle, Flotta towards top:-

Model of Scapa Flow, Lyness Naval Museum

Island of Hoy to bottom left, Rysa Little to bottom right, Fara top middle:-

More of Model of Scapa Flow, Lyness Naval Museum

Island of Hoy to bottom (Lyness to right,) Fara in middle ground, Rysa Little to left. Flotta top right:-

Model of Scapa Flow, Lyness Naval Museum

A naval torpedo, part cutaway:-

Torpedo, Lyness Naval Museum, Hoy

A typical 1930s room:-

1930s room

Compton Mackenzie‘s battledress! Apparently he owned a couple of the Orkney islands, was stationed there and donated this uniform:-

Comptom Mackenzie's Battle-dress

Church Army Rest Hut sign. This was above the present day café inside which we had a very nice cake and coffee. It was done out in 1940s style. Unfortunately it was so well patronised I felt unable to take a photo. I had meant to go back for one but the ferry departure time crept up on us before I could:-

Church Army Sign

Lyness Naval Museum, Hoy, Orkney (ii)

More external exhibits at Lyness Naval Museum, Hoy, Orkney.

A naval mine:-

Naval Mine, Lyness Naval Museum, Hoy, Orkney

Oil pipes:-

Oil Pipes, Lyness Naval Museum, Hoy, Orkney

A propeller from HMS Hampshire:-

Propeller HMS Hampshire

The last remaining oil tank at Lyness. Now houses museum exhibits:-

Oil Tank, Lyness Naval Museum, Hoy, Orkney

Lyness Naval Museum, Hoy, Orkney (i)

The Scapa Flow Visitor Centre and Museum is almost directly ahead of you as you disembark from the ferry at Lyness, Hoy.

It’s not very prepossessing from the outside but is packed with exhibits relating to the miltary use of Scapa Flow in the two World Wars.

Scapa Flow Visitor Centre

Several naval guns lie in the forecourt:-

Naval Gun , Lyness Naval Museum, Hoy

Gun, Lyness Naval Museum, Hoy

Third Gun, Lyness Naval Museum, Hoy, Orkney.

Fourth Gun, Lyness Naval Museum, Hoy, Orkney.

Fifth Gun,Lyness Naval Museum, Hoy, Orkney.

You’ll see in the first picture two information boards. This board relates to the complex as a whole:-

Information Board,Lyness Naval Museum, Hoy, Orkney.

Also exterior to the main museum is this example of anti-torpedo netting:-

Anti-Torpedo Netting, Lyness Naval Museum, Hoy, Orkney

Scapa by James Miller

Britain’s Famous Wartime Naval Base

Birlinn, 2000, 191 p.

 Scapa cover

As its subtitle implies this is a short history of the use of Scapa Flow in Orkney as a base for British naval operations. These had marginal beginnings in the Napoleonic Wars but the emergence of Germany as a potential enemy and a threat to North Sea and Atlantic shipping during the run up to the Great War led to proposals for the main British fleet to be stationed there. The outbreak of war saw these brought to fruition and Scapa and Orkney quickly became a home to thousands of men – and in World War 2 many women, who on their nights out were apparently strictly chaperoned. The locals were also in great demand for dances and such. Unlike in the rest of the UK in wartime food was reasonably plentiful on Orkney due to its fertility. Eggs were in good supply and there was never a shortage of mutton!

The book is replete with photographs, with a readily accessible text. The caption to a photo of the men of the Ness Battery in front of a hut mentions the strap designed to hold the hut down during strong winds.

The main incidents are all here; the HMS Vanguard explosion, the loss of HMS Hampshire, the collision of HMS Opal and HMS Narborough, the internment of the German High Seas Fleet in 1918, its Grand Scuttle in 1919, the sinking of HMS Royal Oak, the building of the Churchill Barriers and the Italian Chapel. A quick, easy history of the UK naval presence in Orkney.

Pedant’s corner:- fiand (find – all five instances of this word in this book were spelled in that odd way,) Grand Fleet commander Admiral Sir George Callaghan (is referred to thereafter as Cunningham,) stripped the ships off anything of use (stripped the ships of anything of use.)

Barony Mill, near Birsay, Orkney

This is the last working mill in Orkney but it isn’t commercially viable. It opens in the summer for tourists but does grind grain in winter – the local bere barley etc – for some local consumption and to keep the tradition going.

The young lad that showed us round (off to University later this year) said it was his grandmothe who was the last full-time miller there. Pictures of her at work were on the walls. Quite a thing back then for a woman to be in a job like that.

Barony Mill, near Birsay, Orkney

Old water wheels. They may get round to recommissioning these one day:-

Old mill wheels, Barony Mill

I took four videos. Click on each picture to get to its video.

Water Wheel:-

Barony Wheel Driving Wheel


Gearing, Barony Mill

Lower level workings:-

Barony Mill, Lower Level Workings

Upper level workings:-

Barony Mill Upper Level Workings

Ness Battery, Stromness

The main World War 2 defence artillery battery for the Sound of Hoy was the Ness Battery. A few buildings remain. They have that vaguely Deco style of a lot of World War 2 fortifications. We missed the guided tour so didn’t get the full access. We’d only gone out for an evening stroll.

Ness Battery, Stromness

Ness Battery, Stromness  2

Ness Battery, Stromness 3

Shore Battery. Atlantic/Pentland Firth beyond:-

Shore Battery, Ness Battery, Stromness

Graemsay and Hoy from Ness Battery:-

Graemsay and Hoy from Ness Battery

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