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Letters Home (13): 11 December 1915

In this letter David Barrogill Keith writes to his family in Thurso to say that he is sending some souvenirs to them via his servant, including a bayonet which would “make a nice poker” and hoping to send out an empty German shell case which could be used as a dinner gong or a flower… Read more »Read more

Letters Home (12): 9 November 1915

In this letter David Barrogill Keith writes a brief letter to his family in Thurso thanking them for food parcels received (despite the “potted head” and tomatoes getting squashed), and preparing for his next turn in the trenches. Dated 9th November 1915, 10th Cameronians, B.E.F. My dear Mother, Your letter & the parcel arrived last… Read more »Read more

John Shand and the Excise, November 1753

On 2 November 1753 (half a century before Pulteneytown was even a glint in Thomas Telford’s eye) John Shand, a merchant from Garmouth, returned from a trip to Orkney with a cargo of rum, brandy, tobacco and other goods, which he placed in the Girnell or storehouse at Staxigoe (“Stackseagoe”) by Wick – whereupon it… Read more »Read more

Letters Home (11): 6 November 1915

In this letter David Barrogill Keith writes to his family in Thurso to say that they go “back & forward to the trenches in spells”, and in his autobiography he states that each tour of the line was 8 days in and 4 days out. He lists the medals the 10th Battalion received during the… Read more »Read more

Letters Home (10): 4 November 1915 (Part 2)

In this continuation of a letter to his family in Thurso David Barrogill Keith describes his first taste of action. He relates – remarkably in a letter to his mother – shooting a German soldier, burying the bodies of British soldiers who had been killed on the first day of the Battle of Loos (back… Read more »Read more

Letters Home (10): 4 November 1915 (Part 1)

In this letter David Barrogill Keith writes to his family in Thurso describing his first impressions of life in the trenches. As the letter is a long one it has been divided into two parts: this first part describes his advance up the line; the second part, which will be published tomorrow, tells the story… Read more »Read more

Letters Home (9): 2 November 1915

In this letter David Barrogill Keith writes to his family in Thurso after being in the trenches. Clearly he hasn’t got time to write in detail of his experiences here as they go back “in a day or so”. He’s at pains to play down the element of danger – “Except for dodging shells and… Read more »Read more

Letters Home (8): Undated, October 1915

After weeks of waiting in the reserve line, David Barrogill Keith now writes to his family in Thurso to let them know that he is about to go forward into the trenches. In one of his few references to the casualties the army had suffered in the Battle of Loos he says that his cousin… Read more »Read more

Letters Home (7): 23 October 1915

In this letter David Barrogill Keith writes to his family in Thurso to let them know that he is well and acknowledges the receipt of food parcels. Although the Battle of Loos had more or less ended by this stage, it’s clear that fighting was still going on: “The big guns are not far off… Read more »Read more

Letters Home (6): 18 October 1915

In this letter home to his family in Thurso, dated a day before the official end of the Battle of Loos, David Barrogill Keith acknowledges the receipt of letters and parcels. Despite being on standby for about a fortnight he was not called on to fight in the battle: “I’m in billets all night &… Read more »Read more