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Caithness at War: Week 191

26 April-2 May 1943

On 26 April an American force landed in the Aleutian Islands which had been occupied by the Japanese. In Tunisia Allied forces continued to attack the German and Italian pocket around Tunis; despite a German armoured counter-attack by 1 May the Axis forces were forced to retreat. On 30 April Operation Mincemeat, one of the most famous deception operations of the war, began when a dead body was released off the coast of Spain carrying fake documents stating that the Allies planned to invade Greece next, and not Sicily, their actual objective.

29 Apr Dir Ed Children in AgricultureIn Caithness the planting season was well under way, with the inevitable knock-on effect on school attendances. The Director of Education explained the situation in a letter dated 29 April, stating that Head Teachers would “arrange for the granting of exemptions to such pupils as were required for harvest or potato lifting. This requirement was found to be necessary in crofting districts where the children go to the assistance of the parents.”
30 Apr Barrock Assembly School boys planting potatoes

As if to bear this out, the Head Teacher of Barrock Assembly School recorded in the log book on 30 April: “The attendance this week lower than usual owing to several of the senior boys being off planting potatoes. On favourable afternoons we work in the school garden.”

30 Apr JOG pg 3 com 3 Annual Crime ReportThe John O’Groat Journal reported the Chief Constable’s annual report on crime in Caithness this week. Overall, crime in the county was down from 497 cases in 1941 to 447 in 1942. “79 were crimes against property without violence, and 16 were crimes against property with violence… 11 persons were charged with theft by housebreaking, seven with housebreaking with intent to steal, and eight with theft by opening lockfast gates.” As for the other crimes, “86 [were] against the Road Acts, 59 for drunkenness and breaches of the licensing laws, and 49 for breaches of the peace.”
26 Apr Dunbeath Public School Neil Gunn visit

Finally this week on 26 April Dunbeath Public School received some distinguished visitors, as recorded in the school log book: “Mr Neil M. Gunn, author “The Silver Darlings”, accompanied by Mr Elder, Glasgow, Mr Carl Grune, Czechoslovakia, & Mr. J.G. Sutherland, Knockglass House, visited the school this afternoon in connection with the filming of “The Silver Darlings” Silver Darlings Movie Still Image