Craigie James Bell Salmond
“I was particularly interested in a recent reference (by the Man with Two Dogs) to the writer and journalist, James Bell Salmond,” writes Helen Lawrenson of Wormit.
“As the article recorded, Salmond fought on the Somme, and his war poems are especially moving. Although he was an officer in the Black Watch, Salmond speaks in his poems with the voice of an ordinary soldier. In 1917 he became a patient at Craiglockhart Officers’ Hospital, at the same time as Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon; he succeeded Owen as editor of ‘Hydra’, the hospital magazine.
“After the war, Salmond became editor of the Scots Magazine, which moved to Dundee in 1927, and it was here that he did great service to literature – encouraging writers such as Neil Gunn, Hugh MacDiarmid and Lewis Grassic Gibbon.
“He was a great promoter not only of literature, but of the city of Dundee itself. As I have written in my account of Scottish country dancing in Dundee (‘Petronella to the Prince of Wales’), Salmond became a popular President of the Dundee Branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, whose meetings he attended whenever he could.”
“About half an hour ago, I developed a persistent ‘ringing’ in my left ear in which I wear a hearing aid,” writes Mary Smith, of Maryburgh. “I decided it must be the battery so changed it. No improvement. I tried another. Still no improvement. Had I developed tinnitus?
“Oh dear, why do these things always happen at the weekend when only emergency services operate? How would I be able to enjoy TV programmes until I could get help on Monday morning?
“I cleaned the hearing aid and resigned myself to a noisy uncomfortable weekend. After about 15 minutes I went to another room and, in the passage, the noise was even louder. Perhaps it wasn’t my hearing after all. My first thought was the smoke alarm which I took off the wall. Then I went into my bedroom and, guess what, it was an alarm clock. Problem solved!”
A deluxe “piler”
“Patrick Mitchell recently questioned the spelling of a word for a child’s fourwheeled cart. He asked if it should be ‘piller’” writes a Craigie regular. “I had such an advanced form of transport from the age of nine in Dundee. It went everywhere with me.
“I have no idea what the official spelling was, but we pronounced that particular word ‘piler’ as in ‘pile of stones’.
“These home-made vehicles also rejoiced in the names of ‘cairties’ or ‘buggies’. My first effort had the bodywork of a wooden John West salmon box with a wooden plank down the middle underneath and running the length of the box, with one end extended to support the steering front axle. The rear axle was bolted to the bottom of the salmon box.
“The wooden wheels came from a sawmill in Loons Road and the axles were made by a blacksmith with his forge opposite Coldside Primary School. I had no drill and bored the holes for the bolts for the axles using a red-hot poker heated on the fire.”
Talks on Great War
The Abertay Historical Society’s evening lecture series continues on November 9 with three short talks looking at aspects of Dundee’s experience in the Great War. Speakers are University of Dundee History graduate David Wilkinson and Great War Dundee steering group members Linda Nicol and Matthew Jarron.
Linda Nicol’s talk, ‘Children in Wartime: the impact of the Great War on their young lives’, will look at the activities pursued by schools to assist the war effort, the social impacts brought about by the separation of families and the daily hardships facing many.
David Wilkinson’s talk is entitled ‘Conscientious Objection: Press, propaganda and public opinion following the introduction of Military Service Act, 1916’. While Dundee gave nearly two thirds of its eligible men to the armed forces in support of the war effort, David will explore what happened to those who stayed behind on the grounds of their conscience.
Matthew Jarron’s talk is entitled ‘“Splendour and Sorrow”: Dundee’s newspapers artists at war’. His talk will explore the ways that artists began to respond to the war in print, and look at the fortunes of some of the many artists who signed up for the front.
The event takes place in Lecture Theatre 1 in the Dalhousie Building at the University of Dundee. The talks start at 6.30 pm, with the doors open from 6pm.
The hole truth
The reader who asked the question about stones he found at Elliot, Arbroath, is delighted to learn that the holes drilled through them were made by molluscs, and thanks all those who supplied the answer.
He adds: “Sea creatures drilling holes in stones! And I thought woodpeckers were daft!”
Today’s photograph, taken from our files, shows the new clubhouse at Carnoustie in 1968.
Writer and journalist James Bell Salmond. See story above.