Family history, History

More voices from the past

We’ve been doing more sorting and came across this case.


Unfortunately the key was nowhere to be found but with a little ingenuity, some skills from past “life” and a tiny amount of vandalism  managed to release its secrets.

Not everything was exciting, or indeed even useful. Most of the contents ended up in the shredder, but there were a few thrilling exceptions.

Foremost among these was this little photo.

Narwahl at Cullipool


I’ve written before about our suspicion that George’s grandfather, George Paterson once sailed the seas around here delivering coal and other supplies from his steam ship the Narwhal. And here we found proof.  “At Cullipool” (a village on Luing our next door island) is inscribed on the front.

And on the back it confirms that this is indeed the Narwhal, sailing past Cullipool on the 15th June 1933.

Narwhal pic reverse

Another  exciting find was a clipping from the Greenock Telegraph printed after George Paterson’s death in 1950. It  details his career from his apprenticeship on the sailing barque Glaucus, to gaining his master’s  certificate, then war service with the Royal Naval Reserve 1914 -18 escorting convoys in the Mediterranean, followed by peacetime deliveries to Northern Ireland and the West of Scotland on his steamers,  interrupted by war duty again 1939 -45, he continued  this work until his health failed.

He was, perhaps, ahead of his time being  very keen that his daughters completed their education and training. And all three of them did, graduating from Glasgow university and going on to become teachers. We have a letter he wrote congratulating his youngest daughter on passing her finals in 1946, his pride and love is very obvious. In the same letter he writes of the excitements of his eldest daughter’s wedding in 1944 and then the arrival of his first grandson in 1945. He would live only a few year more but knew of the impending arrival of his second grandchild, George, before his death in 1950.


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