Hello and welcome to the second bulletin of 2017

There is good news to report on the visitor front.  Bill Wright who keeps immaculate records reported that over the year, visitor numbers were up 36% on last year. Our busiest day was the third of August when we had 67 visitors, our busiest week was the twenty third of July when we had 236 visitors. The total adult admissions for the year were 2509.  Orkney is enjoying a well publicised boom in Cruise liners, and this no doubt has helped our figures.  Although this may be the case, I do feel that people are starting to realise the important part radio has played in history, both in domestic home life and during wartime, especially during the 20th century.                                                                                                                                     

The people, without who, we would not be open at all are:                                                       

Sandy Firth, Kim Foden, Fraser Garriock, Bruce Gorie, Liz Gilmore, Jack Hargreaves, Billy Jolly, Peter Leith, Peter MacDonald, Margaret Mainland, Bob Presland, Graham Rendall, Norrie Rendall, Bill Stevenson, Peter Stokes,  Dennis Walls, Allan Way.

Again we owe a special thanks to Liz Gilmore our Museum Treasurer, Robert Grieve our ‘Friends’ Treasurer who also prepares our shop and web site, and Bill Wright who faithfully checks on our float change, and maintains our daily record sheets.  

It must also be remembered that quite often volunteers stand in for each other to cover illness and holidays.



Once again we attended the annual Vintage Club Rally in August with a varied display of artefacts.  This year’s Rally stood out because of the huge turn-out of exhibitors in all sections of the Rally, especially in tractors.  Kenny MacDonald from the Wireless Museum came up from Banchory for the Rally with his 1974 series III ‘Lightweight’ Army Land Rover which had been with the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders.  At the Rally the commentator (Donnie Grieve) mentioned that he had seen an airdropped one embedded in the ground on Salisbury Plain when the parachute did not open!  Kenny explained: ‘The Land Rover was originally fitted for radio (FFR) so we had a set of field telephones and a Canadian built type 19 transceiver from the Museum as part of the display’.  ‘The 30ft Clark pump up radio mast mounted on the back had a slow leak so the kids had plenty of fun pumping it back up’.



 Kenny MacDonald with his Army land Rover at this years Vintage Club Rally.  His young 

 nephew  Alfie MacDonald is attempting  to pump up the pneumatic aerial.    








This year’s Science Festival brought another liaison between Orkney Wireless Museum and our friends the Museum of Communication from Burntisland.  Professor Tom Stevenson and Dorothy Brankin along with our own Bill Stevenson, and Sandy Firth, and family member of the talk topic, Serena Sutherland, produced an interesting lecture under the title ‘Big Bill and the Guns of Alamein’, telling the story off, and equipment used, by Orcadian Bill Sutherland to keep vital radio links going during the battle of Alamein.  A special song composed by Festival Director, Dr Howie Firth, was also played at the event.

In a first for the Museum, Director Ed Holt arranged for a visit to be made out of Season at the Museum for the Orkney Tourist Guide Association. (See article elsewhere).  This should prove to be a real bonus when next year’s tourist season gets underway.

Finally, volunteer Billy Jolly had a heart- warming story of two visitors who called along the Museum.

 In conversation with the visiting gentleman and his son, he learned that this man’s father had been involved in the building of the barriers and the Italian Chapel.  Billy suggested that there may be a photo of him in our Wartime Archive folders and took a look.  Sure enough the gentleman recognised a picture of his father in one of them.   Billy says they were both quite emotional about the find.  Billy took a photograph of them which I hope to include in the next bulletin.