Mr Tom Cumming-Memories from 1930s and 40s

Tom Cumming's visit to Burghead Primary SchoolLocal resident Tom Cumming came into school to talk to the children about his early life in Burghead and how he started his first job. The class wrote up the answers to the questions they had asked Tom. In 2004 he had contributed some memories to the school. These are included below. The children really appreciated Tom coming into the school.

Written work about Tom Cumming’s memories completed by the pupils after Tom’s visit.
Additional Language work about the Mousehole Cat Story

“Last Tuesday a man named Tom Cumming came in to talk to our class. I really liked it because it was interesting and amazing. I learnt that when Mr Cumming was our age there were only three cars in the whole of Burghead.” Rachel P5/6

Below are links to a series of memories given to Burghead Primary School by Tom Cumming, a local resident, in 2004 when he was 75 years old. They are type written.

Schooldays in the 1930s
This memory mentions spelling, honesty pays, and getting his first job. There is also an interesting anecdote about what appears to be a horrific story but turned out quite differently. He also talks about the struggle to get work or an apprenticeship towards the end of the war when the men were expected to return to their jobs after the war ended (an unknown date at that time).

RAF anecdotes
These memories relate to Tom’s voluntary work for the RAF

Burghead in the 1930s
Tom describes shops in Grant Street, Granary Street and Dunbar Street. He also talks about the harbour area with the numerous fishing boats, the transmitter station, and the railway which ran to Burghead at that time. Burghead was a busy place in the summer with regular visitors from Glasgow during their Fair Week. There is also a description of children’s toys and how people used the Chemist shop.

The Dustman or Scaffie’s (Doric) work
The dustman’s job was hard work carried out in all weathers. In the afternoons he had additional duties in the burgh including the street lighting, water drainage and road repairs. His work was not always financially beneficial as is clear from the anecdotes at the end of this memory. Tom knew the dustman’s job well as it was his father doing it.

Burghead during the war years 1939-45
Here the life in Burghead is described during those six war years. Tales of Rationing, air raids, the mobile cinema and the local RAF stations of Lossiemouth and Kinloss are also written about. Those too old for conscription volunteered for auxiliary services and were used for a wide variety of community work e.g. firemen, air raid wardens and nurses. There are stories of military exercises, the blackout, the drill hall, the Italian prisoners of war, Norweigan Navy Commandoes and RAF air-sea rescues.


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