The Cellardyke Echo – 6/1/2022 – Issue 321


Under will of the late Mr John Williamson, late of Claughton Grange, Birkenhead, native of Cellardyke, the sum of £200 has been left for distribution among the deserving poor and West Anstruther, Cellardyke, and Kilrenny. (The total he left was £111, 779 modern day equivalent £9,943,171.97) £20, 000 was left to Birkenhead council which eventually went to the Art Gallery and museum mentioned last week

The public school was re-opened on Tuesday.

Private N. Bowman, stretcher – bearer, 1/7th  Black Watch, arrived home from France on Saturday for a few days ‘furlough. He declares himself to be as tit as a fiddle.

Vital Statistics.-The births registered for 1915 numbered 47, the deaths 25, and the marriages 10. Of the deaths notified, 7 were between the ages of 70 and 80, and 4 between the ages of 80 and 90.

The New Year. Christmas, 1915, will be remembered chiefly on account of the wretched climatic conditions which pre vailed, and the New Year was ushered in by weather of the same disagreeable nature. On Friday forenoon, the young folks kept alive the old custom of going round for their “cakes,” and in Cellardyke in particular, the bakers and grocers had any number of these youthful “customers,” whose appetite for “penticuts” and other seasonable dainties seemed insatiable. But while the custom was fully observed, the old rhyme which used to be sung on these occasions has disappeared. So far as memory serves, it used to run something like this:-

Ma feet’s cauld, ma shoon’s thin;

Gie’s ma cakes and lat me rin.

and used to be chanted by the youngsters when going their rounds of the merchant. The district was busier on Friday than it had been for some time. A good many of the crews of patrol boats had obtained leave; there was also a fair sprinkling of soldiers also home, while natives working in other parts of the country had arrived home for a few days. The heavy rain which fell frequently throughout the day kept most folk indoors, while in the evening, when the lighting restrictions began to apply, the streets were ‘still further emptied, and it was a quiet, old year’s night, indeed. In happier days a goodly crowd could be reckoned on to patrol the streets, waiting until midnight struck before starting first footing operations, but this year the crowd were absent and first footers few and far between. The year that is gone never had so quiet passing as was the case on Friday. On New Year’s Day, a good many left the town, the traffic at the station was pretty heavy, although the weather again proved the deciding factor with many others, who elected to “keep the home fires burning,” and spend the day visiting friends in the town. Monday was also a holiday with many of the merchants. An improvement had taken place in the weather, and the morning trains to Edinburgh and Dundee ran very heavy.


………………..” Scottish Drifters and Mine-Sweepers. ” Aye, there’s plenty Scotch drifters here, sir,” replied brawny, sandy-bearded son of the sea to a naval officer who sought to gratify a desire I had expressed to visit some of the many trawlers and drifters in the Dover command. Their task is the hazardous one of clearing our sea routes of the mine peril and setting traps for bigger fish than the hardy toilers of the deep ever dreamt of the piping days of peace. Of the many branches of the fighting service none have greater achievements to their credit or won higher admiration. A great proportion of the heroes who man this type of craft hail from the fishing villages and towns on the East Coast. Scotland has brilliant record both in respect of the numbers and the sterling qualities of the men she has contributed for this special work.

“Do you belong to one of the Scotch boats?” asked my gold-braided guide.

“I’m fae Pittenweem, sir,” said the fisherman proudly.

We were standing on the quay at particular corner of the dock, which, with its forest of masts and spars, in some respects resembled the familiar scenes at big trawling port. But the fish odour was absent. Sandy and Tam themselves have undergone a complete transformation. Mine-sweeper “in letters of gold adorns many of the caps, while the skippers of the little craft have blossomed out into regular “brass bounders.” The naval badge, with its silver anchor, laurel leaves, and golden crown, adorns the caps they wear jauntily on the head, and some of the gallant skippers are now to be seen with the broad gold braid on their uniform distinguishes them as commissioned officers in His Majesty’s Navy.

A Renowned Fishing Village.

My guide made several futile attempts to grasp the name of Sandy’s native village. The skipper’s astonishment became more and more marked as each repetition of Pittenweem” met with no comprehensive response. Ultimately I relieved an embarrassing situation by explaining that Sandy hailed from one of the renowned fishing villages in the Kingdom of Fife, and expressing the wish that he would show us over his lugger. With true Scottish caution the skipper first satisfied himself as to my credentials.

Then, walking from deck to deck of the drifters moored abreast, we ultimately arrived on the Azrael, of Pittenweem, a spick-and-span little craft with the White Ensign flying proudly from the masthead. On the deck were appurtenances for the catching of hostile submarines and the laying of mines. It is inexpedient at the moment to describe the various methods adopted by the drifters and mine-sweepers in connection with their work. Suffice it say that they lack neither ingenuity nor imagination. Obligations of secrecy also prevent any details being given as to their success. The full history of their work must remain a closed book till the war is ended.

The life of those brave and daring crews who keep watch and ward in the Channel, clear our sea routes of the mine peril, and distinguish themselves in the strafing of enemy under-water craft is full of thrills, and of deeds of heroism and self-sacrifice.

“They are great men,” remarked a lieutenant of one of the drifter patrols, “They handle the things if they were lumps of coal, and they stick at nothing.”

Arbroath and Cellardyke Boats.

“That’s the Violet 11., of Cellardyke, Iyin’ there.” said the skipper, pointing to another craft. “It wis mentioned in despatches for observation work aff Zeebrugge. The Calceolaria is anither o’ the boats fae Pittenweem. That boat at the ither side o’ the dock belangs tae Arbroath, the Good Friend. Her crew had a share o’ the prize-money an English boat in her diveesion got fur catchin’ a German submarine in the nets. If a boat in diveesion_ catches a submarine, the money that boat’s crew git is divided amang a’ the ithers in the diveesion.”

I asked the skipper if he was not longing to get back to Pittenweem. “I wis there; last week, but,” he added, determinedly, “maun see this thing through tae the feenish afore tak’ tae the fishin’ again.”

The spirit of the Pittenweem skipper is that which animates the whole of those brave fishermen who are now playing noble part in the work of the Dover Patrol. “Have you a copy of Burns to read in the cabin?” asked a Scot who accompanied me. “Na,” laughingly replied the skipper. “We dinna git much time for readin’. Six hoors on an’ aff.” As we parted my friend assured Sandy that at any rate the deficiency in the cabin library so far as the works of the National Bard were concerned would be made good immediately on his return to town.


DEATH OF FORMER ANSTRUTHER HARBOURMASTER. One of the oldest and best known fishermen on the East Coast was Mr Martin Gardner, Cellardyke, who has just died at the age of 82. Throughout his life he had been closely associated with the fishing industry. He manifested a keen interest in public affairs, being for some time a member of Kilrenny Town Council, and till quite recently also member of the Parish Council. He was also for a time Harbourmaster at Anstruther. He was the oldest elder in Cellardyke Parish Church, and was also one of the oldest members of the St Ayles Lodge (No 95) of Freemasons

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