Iona Kielhorn’s first job as a P.E. Teacher in Reading

James Ramsey MacDonald in his PM's office

Iona’s Grandfather, James Ramsey MacDonald in his PM’s office

Iona chose to become a P.E. teacher as she was good at sport. Iona enjoyed her teacher training course at Dartford P.E. College. It was a three-year course. The course included Tennis, Athletics, Hockey, Netball, Rounders and Swimming. There were also courses in Physiology, Physiotherapy and Anatomy. The course counted 1 1/2 years towards a medical degree at London medical School.

Iona with one of her Great grandmother Annie Ramsay's dresses.
Iona with one of her Great grandmother Annie Ramsay’s dresses.

After Iona began working as a P.E.teacher she still participated in sporting activities herself. She was a member of the Anglo-Scots Club, which was based in London. The club was developed for Scots who lived in England. Iona competed at an Anglo-Scots Event where she became Scottish Discus Champion. Her next school post was at a mixed school, Cedar Grammar School in Leighton Buzzard. She met her husband when he was an exchange student in the UK travelling from North Germany. He was attending Wurzberg University. They married and Iona moved to Germany, where she settled for the next forty years. They had two sons.

Pathe news Joan MacDonald wedding

Pathe news reel footage of Joan MacDonald and Alistair MacKinnon’s wedding in 1932

Both of Iona’s parents were doctors. Her Father, Alistair MacKinnon was born in South Africa. Her mother was Dr. Joan MacDonald. Her grandmother was Margaret Gladstone MacDonald and her grandfather was James Ramsay MacDonald, the first Labour Prime Minister.

James Ramsay MacDonald was born in Lossiemouth, Moray. He had wanted to a teacher of Science.

Ramsay MacDonald on a Gordonstoun School boat

Ramsay MacDonald on a Gordonstoun School boat in the mid 1930s

He wrote poetry when he was as young as sixteen. Having held the post of Student Teacher at Drainie Primary School for a number of years he moved to Bristol and worked on his Science degree.  James helped his friend Kurt Hahn, former Headmaster of Salem School in Germany, to leave imprisonment in 1932. The letter James wrote is still on display at the school he founded, Gordonstoun in Moray. He also founded the Outward Bound Association, United World Colleges and Duke of Ediinburgh Award Scheme.

Memory contributed by Iona Keilhorn from Lossiemouth

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Additional information

Ramsey MacDonald Heritage trail brochureRamsay MacDonald Heritage Trail
There is a colourful brochure which accompanies an informative walk through the streets of Lossiemouth, his home town and beyond.

Picture library about Ramsey MacDonald

Picture library about Ramsey MacDonald. There are number of pages on this website which relate to the story of Ramsey MacDonald and his links to Lossiemouth.

Moray Connections- James Ramsay MacDonald

Ramsey MacDonald’s Family plot is in Spynie Churchyard

Here is some information which Iona wrote about her Grandfather and one of her Aunts.
Picture set 1
Mountain named after his daughter
Vancouver’s Tribute to Burns in which Ramsay MacDonald gave the Immortal Memory.

Spartacus International Ramsey MacDonald bookAn online article about Ramsey MacDonald including numerous orignal letters and links to the original sources.

Historic Visit to the US in 1929
As Prime Minister he made a historic visit to the United States in 1929. He was the first British Prime Minister to address the U.S. House of Representatives on October 7th 1929. He received a souvenir medal to commemorate the Historic visit.

The Straits Times, 15 October 1929, Page 12- US newspaper cutting

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Pathé News

Pathé News recently uploaded many of their films onto the internet. They include several showing Ramsay MacDonald and often his daughter Joan.

“Newsreel archive British Pathé has uploaded its entire collection  85,000 historic films, in high resolution, to its YouTube channel. This unprecedented release of vintage news reports and cinemagazines is part of a drive to make the archive more accessible to viewers all over the world.”

Ramsey MacDonald as prime minister and politician. Working in his study as PM.

Pathe news Ramsay MacDonald at work as PM

Pathe news Ramsay MacDonald at work as PM

Pathe news reel Chequers 1924

Pathe news reel showing Joan and her Father, James at Chequers 1924

Pathe news reel Ramsay Macdonald plane ride

Pathe news reel showing Ramsay Macdonald alighting from a plane ride


Dennis Young’s work as a meteorologist

Dennis had spent his school days at the Army Base from 1927 until 1934 when he was sent to stay with an uncle and attend Ealing Senior Boys School.  He didn’t return Bermuda until June 1939. He took a £22 second class return on a ship Pacific Steam Navigation Company based in Bermuda. One of  their routes was Bermuda to UK. War was declared in September 1939 and his Mother decided he should stay there on the island. This is how he came to be working for BELPT Co.

First Job

Dennis Young started his first job as a maintenance engineer for Bermuda Electric Light and Power Traction company Ltd (BELPT Co.).  This was in 1939 at the age of 17. He was in Bermuda because his Father was posted there in Argyles. Bermuda is an independent Crown Colony. His first job involved maintaining electric motors pumping oil and water. The water came from the country rock, which was mainly coral. The water beneath the island was brackish (used for cooling equipment) at the top then below this seawater and beneath it was fresh water from rain water.

Meteorology work
Then he saw another job as a Meteorology assistant based at St. George’s, Bermuda at a place called Fort George Colonial office. He now earned £130 a year. In his previous job for BELPT he had earned 25 /- a week i.e. £5 a month for six 8 hour days. His engineering experience came in useful as he had to read lots of instruments such as thermometer dials, vernier scales etc…  Once a year there was a hurricane with an average wind speed on 75 mph with 180 mph gusts! This was measured with Dines Pressure-tube thermometer. Part of the meteorologist office’s job was to watch the barometric tendencies for all the islands and then send the information to all the islands by radio (wireless). A morse code operator sent the information manually. The Forecast decided it was a hurricane. The warning was sent out by radio as morse code. There was no voice radio. You could pick up an American radio station in New York.

Dennis Young's encounter wth a flying saucer in the Sussex Daily News   Churchill’s 1942 Flying Bermuda Visit

Link to the rest of Dennis’ work as a meterologist. This includes a flying saucer encounter, meeting Queen Elizabeth II , teaching Michael Fish and a prime minister during a full and busy life.

Memory contributed by Dennis Young, Forres