Wednesday, 30 May 2012

War Grave on Ben More

Crash site and war grave Wreckage from the Avro Anson near to the  cairn on Ben More that marks the war grave

Efforts are being made to contact the families of six airmen buried at one of the most remote war graves in the UK.  The crew from Scotland, England and South Africa died when their Avro Anson crashed on Ben More, a mountain in the north west Highlands, in April 1941.
It was almost a month before their bodies were found.

The crew were flying their twin-engined aircraft on a night-time cross country navigation exercise out of RAF Kinloss in Moray on 13 April.  They crashed at 701m (2,300ft) on Ben More, a Munro near Inchnadamph, in Sutherland.  Because of bad weather and the remoteness of the area, their bodies were not discovered until 25 May.
Those who died were: Pilot Officer William Drew, from Barrow in Furness in Lancashire; Sgt Jack Emery, of Trowbridge in Wiltshire; Flt Sgt Thomas Kenny, from Barnsley in Yorkshire; Sgt Charles Mitchell, of Aberdeen; Flying Officer James Steyn, from Johannesburg; and Sgt Harold Tompsett, of Croydon in Surrey.

The CWGC is writing to the last known addresses of the airmen's next of kin to try to let the families know that a granite memorial is to be placed at the war grave.  A stone slab for the memorial has been ordered. It will be placed over the grave to preserve its integrity.

At present he burial site is marked by a cairn and pieces of the wrecked aircraft can still be found nearby

Sunday, 27 May 2012

New Book about Kilmarnock by Frank Beattie

Frank Beattie has recently had a new book about Kilmarnock published.  Entitled "Kilmarnock Through Time", it costs £14.99 and can be obtained from Kev's Kards, Marco Sinforiani in the Railway Cafe and W H Smith's. "Kilmarnock Through Time" takes an affectionate and nostalgic look at the people and events which have made the town what it is today.  It contains loads of previously unpublished photographs of the town.

For centuries Kilmarnock was little more than a large village, a market town for a large rural area. It was an area rich in resources and the enterprising people of the town made the best of what they had. Stone for building was quarried locally as was coal and ironstone. Coal mining led to engineering works and those engineers established businesses like Barclays, which went on to sell locomotives all over the world, and Glenfield & Kennedy, which exported hydraulic products. Cottage craft woollen industries evolved into carpet making and BMK carpets; leather crafts and shoe making led to the formation of Saxone. Whisky became important with one firm eventually dominating world sales. Johnnie Walker was founded in Kilmarnock in 1820, but was spirited away in 2012.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Spanish Civil War Digital Archive

After a year-long digitisation project, more than 4,000 documents relating to the Spanish Civil War have been put online by the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick, at
The project has resulted in the full digitisation of 46 files from the Trades Union Congress archive, along with more than 100 (mostly revolutionary socialist or anarchist) publications from other collections. The files contain key sources on the conflict, including material on the response of British and international labour, the policy of non-intervention, the ‘Aid Spain’ movement in Britain, the attitudes of the British and French governments, and intervention by Germany and Italy. There are also files on related subjects, including the 1934 uprising in Asturias and Catalonia, and the 1936 Barcelona People’s Olympiad. Full transcriptions are given for all documents, allowing keyword searches across the collection. Background information, including a timeline and maps, has also been included to help researchers understand the context of the documents.

This archive will be invaluable to anybody interested in the Spanish Civil War.

Campaign for Arctic Convoy Medal

Campaign to recognise WWII Arctic convoy veterans

Russian veterans Winston Churchill said the arctic convoy mission was "the most dangerous journey in the world"

Related Stories

Veterans Minister Keith Brown has joined calls for official recognition for sailors who took part in Arctic convoys during the Second World War.

He is due to meet some of the surviving Scottish sailors who risked their lives delivering vital supplies to Russia.

Their ships sailed from Loch Ewe in the north west Highlands to re-supply the Soviet ports of Murmansk and Archangel.

Men involved in the campaign are trying to persuade the UK government to award them a special medal.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Arctic Convoy Medal Proposed

This news should please David Craig and all who served on the Arctic Convoys.  David spoke to us in October 2011. (See earlier post)

Scottish minister calls for Arctic veterans medal

Arctic Convoy ships More than 3,000 men serving on the convoys were killed

Related Stories

World War II veterans who served on Arctic convoys should be given a dedicated campaign medal, Scottish government minister Keith Brown said.

The transport and housing minister described the current situation as a "scandal".

More than 3,000 seamen died in Operation Dervish, which saw supplies delivered to the Soviet ports of Murmansk and Archangel.

The UK government is looking into calls for a special medal.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

New Blog on Local and Family History

Family and local history blog
A new Family and Local History blog has been launched on the National Library of Scotland website.     
Written by staff in the Reference Services team, the blog will highlight Scottish material in the collection which may be of interest to local and family historians.
With frequent updates, it will also provide links to external resources which have interesting information on this subject. Current posts provide information as diverse as details of readers' workshops, the 'Statistical Account for Scotland', mining deaths and Scots in Argentina and Patagonia.