Somme 100 Anniversary and Moray

Moray Memories Project worked with local schools to research their local war memorials including Burghead Primary School who researched their local war memorial in Burghead. They found out about the soldiers listed on the local memorial on the main road through the village and in the local churches. There were a number of soldiers who died on or near the Somme area including John Main Cormie, David Main, Alexander Mackenzie and Daniel Main. Pilmuir Primary School and Aberlour Primary Schools also did their own research on their memorials, some of which is shown here.

More information on the Burghead Primary School project can be found here. 

The children of Burghead Primary created posters for the soldiers listed. Here are their posters for those who lost their lives at the Somme. There may be more but it was not clear from the Moray memorial book where they had died.

John Cormie died on the Somme David Main died on the Somme Daniel Main died on the Somme


Alexander Main died on the Somme















Are you researching World War One (or World War Two)?  Look here for useful links.(see tab at the top of the page too)


RCAHMS add new resource links on WW1 in Scotland

RCAHMS WW1 resourcesRoyal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) website has updated its database on buildings and structures established as part of the nations’ defence in World War One as the result of an extensive audit. The records feature modern and historic photographs along with extensive new information on hospitals, prisoner of war camps, air stations, anti-aircraft defence, firing ranges, barracks, naval yards etc…

Home front heritage revealed in new study of WWI Scotland
Browse hundreds of records of sites and structures established for the defence of Scotland during the First World War.

Moray-specific information is revealed in this RCAHMS Built Heritage Report
pg 62 Moray’s drill halls, pg 47 Table 22 Auxilliary hospitals and p67 Firing ranges.

Moray’s War- World War One Commemorations Meeting

Moray will be creating a page on a National website related to WW1. Currently there is an Edinburgh’s War page and the Moray’s War will follow a similar format. Moray's war meeting January 28 2014

Useful links pages on this website for people and schools involved in WW1 research related to the anniversary.

Moray    Useful links for WW1
Scotland  Useful links for WW1 and WW2
General Useful links for WW1 and WW2

Working as a table maid at Leuchars house by Sheila McGregor

Leuchars House Attibution Anne Burgess This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.Sheila attended Elgin Technical College where she learnt cookery, sewing, knitting and housework. She left at the age of 16 and went to work at Leuchers House situated in a farming area near Elgin. Her employer was Colonel Black who by then was in his 90s and childless. Her room was in the attic. In addition to Sheila there was a housekeeper and a gardener. Each day the housekeeper, Nurse Grant woke her up. Nurse Grant had previously looked after the Colonel’s late wife and stayed on.

Sheila woke the Colonel at 7.30 a.m. setting his breakfast table in the dining room and then moving on to clean his shoes. She was then able to have her own breakfast in the kitchen with the housekeeper. Breakfast always consisted of porridge, toast, home-made butter, jam and marmalade.

The Colonel dressed himself and then went to work every day, even though he was advanced in years, until well into his 80s. He worked for the partnership of Allan, Black and McCaskie in Elgin as a solicitor. While he was out Sheila cleaned the house and helped to prepare lunch. He returned for lunch driving himself home in his Rover car. In the afternoon both she and the Housekeeper were free and sometimes they would cycle to Lochhills, where Nurse Grant owned a cottage. Sheila’s parents lived in Birnie but it was too far to go for just an afternoon. Each Friday and every 2nd Saturday she had a day off. On those days she would cycle from Leuchars House to Birnie to see her parents. She did not take her washing as she was able to do that at Leuchars House.

In the evening Sheila and the House keeper sat in the kitchen and knitted or sewed. The Gardener went home. He did not live in as he had lived a cottage with his family. The cottage was on and belonged to the estate.

On occasion the colonel would entertain neighbours with a dinner party. Regular guests included the Laird of Pitgaveny and Captain Iain and Lady Margaret Tennant from Innes House.

Additional Information

More information about Lieutenant Colonel William Rose Black can be found on Libindx database. Select People search on the left and then click on the blue full information icon on the right (see screenshot below).
Link to the Libindx database which has information about Colonel Black

Leuchars House is a British Listed Building. There is a lot of information about the hosue including a map of its location and photographs of the house. Libindx also has information about Leuchars House under a Place Search including details of a fire which destroyed part of the house in 1948 and the addition of a garage by Colonel Rose Black in 1953 around when Sheila worked there.

An 1870-1 map of the area showing where Leuchars House is. It is in the left third of the map about halfway up.

Plan of Loch spynie and adjacent grounds on the Scotland Places' websiteScotland’s Places website has a wonderful map of the area called a Plan of Loch Spynie and adjacent grounds. It shows the Mill of Leuchars around where the main house is now. The mill run is shown running south from the Loch of Coates and over the Lands of Leuchars. There is also an old channel shown linking the River Lossie to the Loch of Coates which ran across the Leuchars land. The map was drawn up for the Court of Sessions in 1783 as part a dispute between Sir William Gordon of Gordonstoun and the Branders of Kinneddar (Alex Brander) and Pitgaveny Estate (John Brander).

Testing Steel at Lanarkshire Steel Works by Frank Waugh

LightningVolt Iron Ore Pellets This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 1.0 Generic license.

LightningVolt Iron Ore Pellets  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 1.0 Generic license.

Frank started work at the age of 14 in 1957 at Lanarkshire Steel Works (Colvilles). His Uncle worked there and Frank was spoken for so he could get a job there. he worked a Monday to Friday week but when he truned 16 he started shift work. There were three shift patterns:-

Week 1- Monday to Friday- Day shift  6 a.m.- 2 p.m
Week 2- Sunday- Friday -Night shift 10 p.m. – 6 a.m.
Week 3- Monday to Friday- Back Shift  2 p.m. – 10 p.m.
and then repeat.

Frank’s job was in the testing department. Each day they received samples off the steel plates. They had to test how it bent and how it stretched. Mild Steel was used for ship plates and Brazil Steel was very hard and with little stretch. the company had a number of contracts with shipyards. Thousands of men worked at the steelworks and it had its own ambulance station. One of Frank’s other jobs was as an ambulance driver.  Health and Safety was important , for example there was a designated path through the plate mill marked by a pair of yellow lines. Crossing those lines while passing through the area was a reason for instant dismissal. Frank wore a helmet, leather gloves and steel-toed footwear. He only left the testing section to collect samples. Even so accidents were a part of the working life at the works, some of them fatal.

The steel process involved steel ingots of approximately 3 foot square by 7 foot being sent through a mangle and lain on a rolling mill. The steel was rolled thin to 1 1/2 ” – 3″ thick. cranes with magnetic left moved the steel around the workplace. Steel was also recycled from scrapyards.

Memory contributed by Frank Waugh, Keith

Additional information

Lanarkshire Steel Works memories websiteLanarkshire Steelworks- memories website 
BBC Bitesize- Introduction to Steel – describes how steel is made from molten iron.
History of the British Steel Industry

Chemist Shop assistant at McConachie of Keith by George Watt

The location of Kate and Francis McConachie's Chemist shop in Keith

The location of Kate and Francis McConachie’s Chemist shop in Keith

His sister worked at the chemist and when his sister left then George got her job. She worked for them for five years until 1942 when she left as George started there at the age of 14. George earned 14 /- a week or 4d. an hour. The shop was run by two old maids called Kate and Francis McConachie. Kate in particular was well thought of in Keith. It was a lovely shop to look at with many coloured glass bottles filled with potions and powders. Green glass bottles were reserved by poisonous substances such as Lysol and acids. Prescriptions were written by the doctor and the chemists were paid to make them up.
Tablets were made in the back of the shop using powders that were put into trays which were then rolled up to compress them. Hair lotions were also made up in the back room. They contained oils. Ingredients were crushed in a mortar and pestle. The shop also made face and hand creams.

George also worked as a delivery boy on a bike. He was called up for National Service in the RAF from 1946-1948, where he was based at Boyndie Airfieldnear Banff.

Memory contributed by George Watt of Aberlour

Additional Information

Related memory on this website
Margaret Lloyd was related to Kate and Franis through her mother. They were her Great Aunts. She spoke about them when she was interviewed for this project in April 2014.
Read it here.

Link to more information about the McConachie family in Keith.

Libindx had information about Kate- born in 1894 and died in 1977 aged 84. Her occupation is a pharmacist. Search Libindx under a people search or surname explorer.
Her sister, Francis was born in 1894 and died in 1975 at the age of 81. No profession is given for her. As they were born in the same year they could be twins.

More information about tablets are made from a powder and a dye.

The History of Chemist Shops- Science museum

Image of Chemist Shop bottles from the 1940s in New Orleans

Images of poison bottles from the Operating Museum collection

General memories from Aigan Court in Dufftown

Aigan Court used to be the private home of Mrs Duncan.

Whisky industry- Billings is the liquid which accumulates in the bottom of a recently emptied whisky cask. It evaporates from the walls the wooden walls of the cask once it is empty. It is illegal to sieve the liquid and remove it from the cask. The clearit is 120 proof unlike the cask whisky which is 100-109 proof. When dramming still occured in the distilleries the workers got the clearit whisky unless they worked in the warehouses where they got the aged whisky as no new whisky was distilled there.

A common candy of the past was chocolate sweeties with bits of sugar candy on it like hundreds and thousands. They also remember treacle and sulphur in Springtime.

Memories contributed during a Reminiscence group at Aigan Court, Dufftown

Additional information

Treacle and sulphur (Brimstone and Treacle) was a common remedy. There are many links to it in literature and on the web.
medical site
Charles Dickins refers to it in Nicolas Nickleby when Mrs Squeers dispenses it to the boys in her “care”.

Working as a Nanny by Alice Young

Alice’s first job was working at Allarride Farm Farm, Glenrinnes. She started the job in 1954 when she was 16 years old. Mrs Strathdeen knew Alice’s mother. There were four children to look after. She left when one of the children, Isobel was 6 years old.

One of the stories she remembers from her childhood is of her mother being very sick and a man coming from the dole and pleading with her mother to take money to support the children. She would not take it.

Alice’s Father was a fisherman. He had been sick with Rheumatic fever. One day he came back from the fishing and his bed. He died later that same week.

When she was born 75 years ago she had two fingers and also two toes joined together by skin. The next day they were being separated on the kitchen table and the great granny from next door came in. The fingers had been done and she stopped the operation on the toes declaring “It was unlucky to separate webbed feet and it you do someone in the family will die at sea”. Alice’s toes are joined to this day and she had not had them separated even though the doctor has suggested it would be a good idea.

Memory contributed by Alice Young from Dufftown