The Cellardyke Echo – 27/07/2022 – Issue 349


Reported Wounded. Intimation has been received by Mr and Mrs James Smith (Watson) that their son has been wounded at the Dardanelles. Smith was a Naval Reservist, and was called up on the outbreak of hostilities.

Canadian Soldier’s Death. – Lance-Corporal Murray, of the Canadian Highlanders, son of Mr and Mrs Murray (Pratt), who was reported some weeks ago to be lying unconscious in an hospital in Rouen, has now been reported as having been killed on the 22nd April. When Mr and Mrs Murray received a letter from France from another soldier who knew their son, they had hopes of his recovery, but unfortunately this first message has proved mistaken. It is pathetic to think of the hopes and fears of the parents. Eight long weeks elapsed ere they heard of Lance- Corporal Murray’s unconscious condition, but this latest letter, from the stretcher’ bearer who attended their son, leaves no room for doubt that he died on the field of battle, and that the soldier at Rouen must have mistaken the identity of the wounded man he saw in the hospital there. Every sympathy is being extended to Mr and Mrs Murray.

Defective Dairies.

The Medical Officer’s report for the year was read. The question of an increased water supply was one of long standing. The question of boring with a view to augmenting the supply was receiving consideration. A complaint was received in respect of an alleged nuisance arising from the deposits by the local authority at the east end of the town. The refuse site, when visited, was found offensive, but the nuisance was limited to the immediate area of the toom. The local authority are recommended to remove the refuse further afield and to a site where there could be no reasonable grounds for complaint on the part of the public.

The byres and dairies were found in an a very unsatisfactory state. The Burgh Bye-laws are not observed, and as their provisions cannot be regarded as too stringent, it is much to be desired that they be enforced. The dairies at the time of his visit were dirty. They had not received the reasonable bi-annual cleansing, far less a daily one. The cows were dirty, with hind quarters caked with manure. The yards were not clean or tidy. In two instances, the milk houses were clean and well-kept. One of the milk stores was a press partitioned off in a cellar belonging to the dwelling-house- This milk store is in direct contravention of the Bye-laws, and should be abolished. The byre of this dairy is unsuitable for cows and for the production of milk. The dairies in Cellardyke, in several respects, were much below the standard of the Dairies Regulations Act, which came into force sixteen years ago.

Eighteen cases of infectious disease occurred and six patients were removed to the Hospital. There were 36 births, equivalent to a rate of 21.3 per 1000 of an estimated population of 2240. Sixteen marriages gave a rate of 6.6 per 1000, and 28 deaths of 10.5 per 1000.

The Provost It does not seem to be very satisfactory. I thought the dairies were all right.

Bailie Butters – This is the first I have heard of it.

Bailie Marr – There has been no complaint in the years past.

The Provost – Are we to take action, then?

Bailie Butters – Judging from that report, we will need to do something.

The Sanitary Inspector (Mr H. Elliot) – The one he mentions specially is at the east end. The byre was dirty.

The Provost – He says it is not suitable for cows. If it is unsuitable, it cannot be allowed to go on. Mr Elliot –  I was not aware that he made any objection to it while he paid his visit.

Mr Mitchell – If we do nothing just now, We will be forced to take action later on.

The Clerk – l will write and ask the proprietors to make their premises conform with the bye-laws. This was agreed to.


The Veterinary Surgeon reported that he had examined 16 cows, and found them correct.

FIFE SKIPPERS MAKE A SERIOUS MISTAKE. Eighteen skippers of fishing boats from Buckhaven, St Monans, Pittenweem, and Cellardyke appeared before Sheriff Armour Hannay at Cupar on Tuesday on charges under the Defence Act fishing within the prohibited area in the Firth of Forth. Mr T. W. Davidson, solicitor, Cupar, who appeared for the Pittenweem and St Monans men, said after they had set their lines over the line they returned to their proper place, but were driven by the flood-tide and the wind into the prohibited waters. They were all elderly men.

Alexander Lothian, skipper of the fishing boat Thistle, 25 Rodger Street, Cellardyke, who had a previous conviction, was fined £5, or 20 days’ imprisonment, while the other eleven in the dock with him were each mulcted in fines of  £2, or ten days’ imprisonment.


CELLARDYKE MINISTER FOR DUDDINGSTON. The Established Presbytery of St Andrews met yesterday at St Andrews—Principal Galloway moderator. The principal business was a call to the Rev. James Rae, Cellardyke, to be minister of St James’ Church, in the parish of Duddingston.

Mr Henry Watson, Mr Robert Forsyth, Mr William Smith, and Mr David Smith were commissioners from Cellardyke. A hearty tribute was paid to Mr Rae for the work he had accomplished during his long ministry of 33 years in Cellardyke. When he first came there were only 40 names on the communicants’ roll, and now the roll numbers 700. Mr Forsyth specially referred to Mr Rae’s work of maintaining the fishermen’s independence, and of the observance of Sunday. In the social life of Cellardyke Mr Rae had taken a conspicuous part, being chairman of the Waid Academy Governors and of the Parish Council.

Another Cellardyke War Victim.

The supreme sacrifice of devotion to duty is telling pretty hard on the quiet Fifeshire fishing village of Cellardyke, quite a number of families having now lost sons who were in the Army or Navy. The latest victim is Lance-Corpl. John Moncrieff, the Seaforth Highlanders, second son of the late Mr John Moncrieff, fisherman, George Street. Official intimation was received on Tuesday evening that he was killed in action on the 1st inst. The Lance- Corpl. was a promising young fellow of 28 years of age, and after serving his apprenticeship as a cooper with Messrs Melville & Co., was working at his trade at South Shields when war was declared. He shortly afterwards enlisted in the Seaforths, and had seen a good deal of active service. He was home on furlough some time ago. Much sympathy is felt for his widowed mother and family in their bereavement.



Much has been said of the work the drifter patrols, but of the actual part they play in the vast arena of sea warfare little is allowed to emerge from behind the veil of press censorship. Now and then, however, the veil lifted for a moment, and a glimpse is given of a scene as thrilling as any yet described in the annals the war. Thus, incidental on the conferring of well-deserved honours on Skipper David Watson, of the Anstruther drifter, Morning Star, the story is told of a stirring incident of patrol work in which that vessel has been engaged. She was one of the fleet recently attacked by an Austrian cruiser, and the attack is well described in a letter sent by the skipper his father. He wrote; –

“We had a narrow escape when an Austrian cruiser came down and attacked the line. You never saw such a sight, drifters bursting and sinking all around. The drifter ahead of us and astern of us were sunk. He fired three times on us, but we got clear, only few marks of shrapnel on the rail. We were the only boat saved in our group.

SHOTS WHIZING AROUND. “I thought the time had come. He passed us. but never headed us. We were trying to make the land for shelter, but he cut us off.  Shots were whizzing all around us, so I sang out to the to “stick it” to a man, and we might come through, and we did get clear. I think the guardian angel must have been hovering about us. It was a time when a man was tried to his uttermost. We brought in three crews and some dead and wounded men. When the cruiser commenced firing a bird flew to our boat and kept around us during the action. We lost our small boat during action, but she was picked damaged

“There ace 16 drifters sunk and 72 men taken, prisoners, a few killed, and some wounded. Drifters are hardly strong enough for submarines when attacked alone, but when it come, to great cruisers it is all up for drifters.  SOS messages were sent, but no ships of war came in time to save the drifters’’.

Intimation has since been received from the  Admiralty by Skipper Watson’s father – Mr James Watson, 19 John St. Cellardyke-that his gallant son has been offered a commission in the Royal Navy while a letter from one crew of the Morning Star states that his skipper been presented with an Italian medal for valour.

A DONATION of on behalf of the local Red Cross Fund has been received from Mr And. Henderson and the crew of the motor boat “Jane,” Cellardyke. (only one month later Andrew,  his two sons and the other two members of the Jane’s crew were blown up by a mine)


EAST FIFE FISHERMEN ON STRIKE. Serious Situation at Anstruther.

Since the early part of this week there has been a complete stoppage of the fishing industry in Anstruther owing to the demands of the men for better conditions not being conceded by the owners. The harbour is full of drifters, and the men have lifted all their gear from the boats. This serious state of affairs is bound to have a most injurious effect upon the district, and in the interests of the community an early solution is hoped for. The men, it is stated, sent in a request for an eighteenth share and all expenses paid of the gross total. These terms, the fishermen allege, have been in operation in the North for some time, and the men there are now demanding a sixteenth share. At present the fishermen in the Anstruther district are working what they say is nominally a twentieth share, but by the time they pay for their own food, cart hires, &c., it practically amounts to a twenty-seventh share. The owners regard the present terms as quite fair when compared with other ports, but say there was no occasion for the fishermen to take such high-handed action. A further meeting of the men was held yesterday in Cellardyke Town Hall. Mr R. Ritchie presided, and after an address was delivered by Mr R. VV. Clouston. Leith. district secretary of the National Sailors’ and Firemen’s Union, it was resolved to form a branch of the Union. One hundred and twenty-one members were enrolled, and the men have expressed their determination to hold out until their demands are conceded.


The dispute between the fishermen and owners of drifters in Anstruther and Cellardyke still continues, and matters have now reached a deadlock. The Fishermen’s Committee, along with; Mr Clouston, the Union official in charge of the strike, met representatives of the owners and discussed proposals for settlement. These proposals were drawn up by the owners, and asked the fishermen to accept terms on the principle of the twentieth share, eight of which would go to the boat, six to the gear, and six to the crew, no food, cart hires, &c., to be allowed from the gross, total earnings of the boat. The owners also agreed to pay 2 ½ per cent, of the total earnings of the boat to be divided between the crew and gear. These terms were refused by the fishermen, and it was resolved to continue on strike until the original claims put forward by them were conceded the owners. The fishermen’s demands include an eighteenth share, allocated —six to the boat, seven to the crew, and five to the gear. ” We contend,” said Mr Clouston to our representative, “that our claim with regard to the eighteenth share is fairer, as six shares set apart for the boat is ample.” The next step rests with the owners, a few of whom have expressed their determination not to give way. As result of the strike several of the drifters are being offered for sale, while other owners are contemplating beaching them for a time.

 In Anstruther Harbour over 30 steam drifters are lying idle, involving a capital of over £120,000, while the loss in wages for last week, taking the average earnings of each boat at £100, which is a low estimate, amounts to over £3000.

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