Saturday, 15 October 2011

Hardship in Scarp - or was there?

Stornoway Gazette, 4 February 1944
The Island Of Scarp
Recently the Island of Scarp has suffered hardship, through the lack of communication with the mainland. The recent stormy weather has been the cause of this and only on one occasion between the 3rd and the 29th Januarv were the Island's inhabitants able to reach Hushinish, for the purpose of fetching mails and goods. This is the worst plight they have been in for years despite the fact that they are now provided with out-board motor boats. It has been said that some of the Islanders are anxious to leave the Island and settle On the mainland. Their recent experience may force a decision in the matter.

Stornoway Gazette, 11 February 1944
Letter to the Editor

As I feel my face somewhat hot since I listened to the BBC announcement on January 31st, regarding distress in the island of Scarp, I write to inform the public that this was nothing less than a "tissue of lies". The announcement stated that this island was isolated from 3rd to 29th January, which I do deny, as a boatful of foodstuffs came here on the 4th and not less than five boats called at Hushinish before the 29th.

Then the propaganda went on to say that we were sending out distress signals, a thing which we never dreamt of. Even if the whole community of North Harris had happened to be on this island for the twenty-six days mentioned, they would not have starved, and I may say they would have been fed just as well as where they reside. Anyway, to whom were we going to signal? And why? There's no boat on the mainland opposite Scarp, or a crew to man one, and who could cross our channel, when we, the people who are used to it, couldn't?

Every household here, during the month of January, had plenty meal and we were getting our regular supply of rations thanks to our supplier, Mr Maclean. I have travelled in several parts of the world since this crisis commenced, but I never saw a place I loved so much as my dear native island, and, wherever I happen to die, my greatest desire on my death-bed will be to lay my remains in my native island's soil.

Before I conclude, let me guarantee to you that we are living a happy life, rising and sleeping when we like, getting a regular supply of foodstuffs, having plenty of clothes, plenty of tobacco, and our purses are not empty either, so I can assure you that Scarp is not one of "God's forgotten islands". Yours etc,


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