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Caithness at War Week 193

Week 193: 10th - 16th May 2016

On 13 May the North African campaign finally came to an end when 250,000 German and Italian soldiers surrendered in Tunisia. On the same day Allied forces attacked the island of Pantelleria as a prelude to the invasion of Sicily; Hitler meanwhile on 12 May ordered Axis forces away from Sicily to Greece, having fallen for the Allies’ Operation Mincemeat deception. Also this week Churchill and Roosevelt attended the Trident Conference in Washington DC to discuss strategy, the French Resistance movement was formed, and American troops invaded Attu Island in the Aleutians. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising ended on 16 May: 14,000 Jews had been killed and another 40,000 were sent to the Treblinka death camp. Finally, the Dambusters Raid was carried out by RAF 617 Squadron on two of Germany’s largest dams.


14 May JOG Dunbeath ReportIn Dunbeath, as reported in the John O’Groat Journal, “Lambing is now nearly finished, there being a good crop of lambs… Foxes are also doing damage. They are increasing in numbers since the war, owing to the fact that Gamekeepers are in the Forces.”


14 May JOG Norseman on Moors

Norseman in the same paper also noted changes to Caithness wildlife since the beginning of the war: “Birds of prey of certain types – for instance, the black-backed gull – have increased. On the other hand, it is obvious that on certain of our local moors the grouse has very nearly disappeared altogether, and this despite the fact that shooting tenants have bene pretty well out of the picture since the beginning of the war.”


14 May Gillock School Potato PlantingAs the farming year developed it once more began to impact on schooling across the county. This week the Head Teacher of Gillock School recorded in the log book: Potato-planting has interfered with attendance this week. D.B. was the only one absent today. His foot had swollen from having a thorn in it.”


Thurso Town Cou11 May Thurso Burgh Minutes Old Police Station demolition processncil were losing patience with the owner of the Old Police Station, insisting that he either demolish the building, make it safe, or let the Council buy it for a nominal sum and demolish it. (The proprietor had agreed to the latter, but only “provided he was allowed to retain all the materials.”) The Co
uncil had obviously had enough, and now resolved to give him “48 hours to arrange for the demolition, failing which the Town Council would proceed with the work at the proprietor’s expense.”


14 May JOG Court CaseFinally this week, the John O’Groat Journal reported that a Halkirk farmer had pleaded guilty to not keeping a record of the animals he’d sent to Wick Auction Mart. The Sheriff fined him £3 3s. “To the great amusement of the Court, the accused replied, “Oh, I thought you would let me off!” The Sheriff said the fine was imposed as a warning to others.”


Coming soon! Week 194, 17th – 23rd May 1943, will be published on Monday 16th May 2016. To view previous issues please use the menus on the right hand side of the page.

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