FROM AN OLD COURIER
(The paper not the author)
Just after watching the terrible scenes on the news of the war in Ukraine I happened to come across, amongst my “stuff “, a copy of the “Courier“ from 1943, the year I was born and of course when this country was also at war. We in Abernethy were of course spared the terrible devastation that many of our cities suffered from the German bombers at the beginning of the war . The war by 1943 was turning in our favour and of course the “Big Bad Russians“ of the present time were our allies in 1943.
The Courier of earlier years was different from today in that the front page was always reserved for advertising and Abernethy appeared on that day the 29th October in the public notices. Under emergency powers all unnecessary iron and steel railings, posts, chains, bollards, gates were required to be removed and collected for use in the war effort in iron and steel works and foundries, and this work would commence in Abernethy on October 25th. It was hoped that everyone would be prepared to make a free gift of these railings to the nation to help the war effort but if anyone was affected by their removal they could apply for compensation to be paid. One example of where this was done in Abernethy can still be seen in the houses opposite the Tower Garage on Back Dykes where only the gate posts remain of what was once an iron railing fence.
Other interesting facts were in the employment section where several positions were advertised for girls 14 to 16 years old for both office and factory work as the school leaving age was 14 at this time. Horses were still very much part of the agricultural scene and there were several adverts for horsemen, and on 25th October there was a sale at Perth market of 150 work horses and mares, Clydesdale Colts and Fillies, Harness Horses, Cobs and Ponies as well as harness. In those days farm workers were mostly hired on a short term basis. The term days were Candlemass on 2nd February and Martinmass on 11th November. The workers if they were not being kept on or if they wanted a change would go to the feeing markets on these days and offer their services and if they found a farmer willing to hire them he would give them a shilling to seal the bargain. Then the worker would be away home to tell the wife to pack up their few chattels, the bairns, the hens and the dug and be ready to move - most likely not too far away as the flitting would be on a horse and cart. For many this would mean several moves in their lives with bairns having frequently to move schools. A very unfair system thankfully long gone.
Glentarkie farm on the Glenfoot Road was up for sale and there was to be a displenishing sale at Drumcairn farm.
Back to war news, on the second page a Hill of Beath man was fined £5 for absenting himself from Home Guard duties on seven occasions without reasonable excuse. Sadly there were also several photos of soldiers who had been killed in action,
Amazingly in the entertainments section in Dundee, eighteen cinemas or variety theatres offer their programmes for the week
The price of the Courier in 1943 was one old penny it is now £1.40 so it has gone up by 336 times.
In my rummaging I also came across a “Sporting Post“ from 3rd September 1932. The “ Post “ was produced on a Saturday night after the football matches finished at 5pm and was in Abernethy on the seven o`clock train. (See The Museum Calendar for April where you see the wall in Station Road where the men all waited for the train coming with the Post.) In later years I would be amongst the crowd waiting at the Corner Shop to get my Post when the 7 o`clock bus came in, then along to the Hotel for a pint and to read all the football news. This was an amazing publication from D.C. Thomson, having a paper with extensive reports on all the games played that afternoon; senior as well as junior and also news on other sports played that afternoon. St. Johnstone played Motherwell at Muirton Park that afternoon before an amazing crowd of 9000. More than we would get now even playing the Old Firm at McDiarmid. Sadly we lost 1 – 0 and sat mid-table in the first division of twenty teams. Aston Villa led the English First Division with Manchester United fifth from bottom of the second division.
Shooting over Gannochy Moors, Mr J. P. Morgan from New York with a company of seven guns had a bag of 230 brace of grouse.
Lots of Children`s Annuals advertised from “ The Happy Girls Book “ to “The Willie Waddle Book“ (No’ the fitba player) all for 2/6d each (12.5 pence )
So well done D. C. Thomson for getting all this on the streets within two hours of the games finishing and we still had the Sunday Post to come next day!