From the Orkney Herald 4 November 1914
A SOLDIER’S LETTER
We are beginning to wonder when the end is going to come. It cannot come soon enough, and I hope it will not be long. My chum Bannerman from Arbroath was killed on the 14th September, our last big battle. We lay in the trenches for a month after the fight facing the Germans who were continually attacking parts of the line. On several occasions when outside the firing line I heard them speaking and, by going out a certain distance, we could see them, whilst we were continually being annoyed by snipers. The German infantry don’t seem to be up to much but they have got splendid artillery. During the time we lay in the trenches they accounted for about 100 of our chaps, I believe, all with their artillery, except one or two who were sniped. On the 14th September the Black Watch lost 461 – that includes killed, wounded and missing – which was the greatest number the regiment has ever lost in one day.
D1/1118 – Diary of experiences and daily incidents during the Great War
Christmas Day was different for Margaret Tait in Kirkwall. In Dec 1914, she would be about 55 years old:
S1/5, p140. Extract of Minute from Stromness Town Council, 26th January 1915, 10.30am
"A letter from the Burgh Surveyor as to large quantity of water being taken by H. M. Ships was considered and after a discussion with the Burgh Surveyor who was present, the subject was allowed to lie in abeyance at present. It was however remitted to the Water Committee to consider as to puchasing of water meter to be placed at the Harbour Commissioners Pier.