Inver History

Inver Community Collage

Inver Evacuation 1943 - Page 1

Extracts from School Log

4.9.39 - School closed for one week, owing to outbreak of war.
15.9.39 - Attendance for week is 90%. Seven pupils admitted. Number on roll is now 56.
22.9.39 Two more pupils admitted.
3.11.39 - Number on roll is now reduced to 52 owing to so many evacuees returning home.
1.12.39 - Last of the evacuees have returned to their homes reducing the number on roll to 48.

Changes at the School

The effect of the war on school life was felt from the very beginning with the children having time off and the local Home Guard unit using the school for training. However, little did the children suspect when they were welcoming evacuees from Glasgow that they themselves, in four years' time, would be in the same position.

 

Extract from School Log
Nov 26th 1943 - School closes for an indefinite period

Mrs Jessie Macdonald from Hilton Village was ordered by the Divisional Office to report to the school during the evacuation to help the Head Teacher make up an inventory of all that was in the school.
 
The school was to be used by the Military for a different kind of teaching and presumably slates and crayons wouldn't be needed. What happened to the equipment is unsure but there was a lack of it recorded on the opening of the school on August 21st 1944.
The pupils were sent to Tain Public School but the excitement must have been too much for them as they are described as being 'backward' on their return. No wonder, with nearly a year of their education being disrupted.

Extracts from School Log
Aug 21st 1944 - School re-opened today. There are 48 children on the roll.
Aug 25th 1944 - A good beginning has been made. There is a shortage of school equipment and pupils are backward after the evacuation. A fresh supply of school material will be ordered shortly.
(Signed by N. MacDonald)
 Sep 1st 1944 - Attendance is disappointing. Some of the boys absent themselves from School for no apparent reason.




Inver Bay - just behind the hall.

The Summer of 1943
  The summer had been good to the people of Inver and the surrounding areas with an excellent harvest. Women could be seen busy tending to their neat flower beds next to their small lime and thatched cottages or carrying two buckets of water hanging from a hoop around their waist with children playing or going to school.
It appeared to be like any other year but the world was at war. The cottages had blacked out windows and the children carried gas masks to school but worst of all Inver was empty and deserted of most of their young men who were called up on the 1st September 1939. With the prospect of a few weeks away on camping holidays many had joined up much earlier during a big recruiting drive never suspecting they would find themselves at Tain railway station waving goodbye to their loved ones. Many locals were given time off work to bid them farewell.


Main Street, Inver - looking towards the bay.

The Evacuation

The villagers had heard rumours that the area was going to be evacuated but no one knew for certain if these rumours were true until late October. 

Extract from School Log
Nov 12th - 1943 Owing to an evacuation order issued last evening by the Admiralty there has been a very poor attendance today. The older children have all gone to help farmers - Dr Thomson and Mr Gunn H.M.I. visited school today. No assistant teacher has come to the infant room owing to the local emergency since re-opening of School on 9th November.
 
A meeting was held in Inver hall on November 11th when Lord Rosebery, the Regional Commissioner, and Sir Andrew Thorne, G.O.C. Scottish Command, explained the reason why the evacuation had to take place, but all that the people were told was that they had to leave their homes because the area was going to be used for battle training
purposes.

It wasn't until the Normandy beach landings on June 6th the following year (1944) that the people realized why they were "really" evacuated and the reason for all the secrecy. The people and the land had to be cleared by Saturday the 11th of December 1943 which gave them only four weeks to remove everything - food, clothing, furniture, animals and crops.


Road leading down to Inver - centre of the picture is Inver Inn.  To the left of the picture is where Inver Hall is now.

Continued on Page 2
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