An exhibition, 'Tain & District Through The War Years', was held from June-August 2006 in the Collegiate Church. It was the work of a group of museum volunteers who got together to remember their childhoods and, more particularly, the years 1939-45 and how they affected Tain and District.
Prisoners of War
Men of the 4th Seaforths at Barry 1939.
Photo courtesy of Alness Heritage Centre
The local Territorial Army unit for Easter Ross was the 4th Seaforth Highlanders. In comparison to the Regulars, formal training for the Territorials was limited to fit around the men's work. They also attended an annual summer camp for which, Ackie Ross recalls, they received £12.
At the outbreak of war the 4th Seaforths assembled in Dingwall before moving south to receive two years training in just three short months. Armed with inadequate equipment and training they were sent to war.
In January 1940, the 4th Seaforths, as part of the 51st Highland Division, crossed to France. In March they moved up to the front line. On 10th May the German Offensive began. Facing overwhelming odds, the British and French armies were driven back to the coast.
At Dunkirk 338,226 soldiers were evacuated. The 4th Seaforths were not among them. On 12th June 1940 at the small town of St Valery the 51st Highland Division were surrounded.They had no option but to surrender. Their long march into Germany and five years of imprisonment and deprivation had begun.
Memorial to the 51st Highland Division overlooking St Valery.
"On the day of battle it's good to have friends". Photographs courtesy of G Morrison.
This is the only record known of a pergola built by the Italian prisoners of war at Marybank, Kildary.
Italian and then German prisoners of war arrived in the area. They were interned at local camps and were brought each day by truck, under guard, to work on the local farms.
Jean MacDonald, whose family owned a holding at Arabella at the time, remembers "there was a shortness of help on farms and holdings, so a scheme was organised by the Department of Agriculture and charged to farmers for prisoners of war to help out while interned here".
Paul Lippok (photograph to right of pergola) arrived at Marybank Camp, Kildary, as a German prisoner of war, in 1946. He chose to stay and make his home in Tain.
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Tain & District Museum is home to an extensive and varied collection of objects, photographs and archives of local, regional and national significance. Because of the relatively limited exhibition space, only a small proportion of the collection is on display at any one time. Our website allows us to make more of the Collection accessible to all.
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