Category: Orkney Library & Archive - Highlighting selected collections


Archive of The Month - April 2011 2011-05-11 22:31:00

It's May, so must be time for the April Archive of the Month:

"The Post Office Went to War" by Ian Hay, published in 1946 by HMSO. 

“The chapter I have copied to you describes Orkney's contribution to this task. Other chapters in this 94 page booklet cover London, General Post, Military Mail, Wires and Wireless, Engineers and Calais View. If you would like to see the rest of the booklet, please pop by and ask for reference D1/1094.”

Lucy Gibbon, Orkney Library and Archive.

Archive of The Month - March 2011 2011-04-11 11:36:00
So, technically, it is now April - but here is the March 2011 AOTM. Apologies for late arrival.
This month Lucy Gibbon brings us a document from the Melsetter Estate Records associated with the building of a battery and two Martello Towers to guard the anchorage at Longhope, Hoy.
Also included, a photograph taken of the Martello tower at Hackness from the archives, and David Mackie has kindly contributed a brief history of the Hackness Battery and the Martello Towers.
Archive Of The Month, December 2010.
On the morning of the 7th of December 1941, Japanese forces launched a surprise attack on the US Naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Four U.S. Navy battleships were sunk and four other battleships present were damaged. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship and one minelayer. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed, 2,402 personnel were killed and 1,282 were wounded. The United States declared war on Japan the next day.
So how was this news reported in Orkney? This month’s delve into the archive is very kindly provided by Lucy Gibbon at the Orkney Library & Archive, and comprises extracts from two editions of The Orkney Herald published on the 24th and 31st of December 1941.
Archive of the Month August 2010 2010-10-05 12:36:00

[Note: With apologies to all, especially Lucy Gibbon, for not uploading this in August, here is the August AOTM.  ]

"While recently clearing out a cupboard where we have been storing uncatalogued maps and plans, I found a plan of Hatston which you may not have seen before and could prove useful to any future projects regarding the area.

It is a plan of Hatston R.N. Air Station or HMS Sparrowhawk, was printed in August of 1943 and is labeled as Admiralty Drg No. 3671/43. It clearly shows the layout of the camp, station and runways. All the areas and buildings are marked with a number and the corresponding functions are listed in a key down the left hand side. I enclose a few scans of sections of the plan and the key to illustrate this. However to fully appreciate it, I think it would be better to come in and see the whole thing. The Orkney Archive reference number is D1/1085[H7].

Other items we have for Hatston include interviews in the Orkney Sound Archive with people who were stationed there, e.g. Hank Rotherham, Ralph Faulkner, Alan Rosie and Richard Stark; written recollections by Captain Burnett; copies of maps, plans and photographs in the Gregor Lamb Collection and programmes for the many theatrical productions put together by Donald Hewlett at the Hatston Empire.

Lucy Gibbon
Assistant Archivist

Archive of The Month - July 2010 2010-07-10 21:55:00

Archive Of The Month, July 2010
AccNo. 1500

Notice to Mariners – Kirkwall – Public Traffic Regulations by Order of the Naval Officer in Charge, Kirkwall, Orkneys.

This is a new accession which is part of a large collection of booklets and documents deposited by the Director of Harbours in December 2009. This is such an interesting little booklet, as it describes precisely to vessel owners the complicated procedures involved in what to do and what not to do in Kirkwall Harbour during World War II.

It is interesting to see the lengths the Admiralty went to in order to maintain security, e.g. "all lanterns are to be fitted with screens arranged so as to cut off the light at an angle of 20 degrees above the horizontal" and "small craft moving at night without lights will be treated as hostile" and "disobedience will render a Merchant vessel liable to be fired on".

Lucy Gibbon
Assistant Archivist

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