Headmaster's Logbook, January 1941


Headmaster’s Logbook, January 1941


January 1941

Headmaster – Dr William Barry

January 7th, 1941

‘The school re-opened this morning at 10am. 12 new infants enrolled in Primary Department and 15 pupils from the Croy and Cumbernauld area enrolled in Secondary Department. Attendance was bad owing to frost and fog. 200 pupils were absent from Primary Department.’


January 8th

‘The fog was very bad this forenoon and in consequence, ten teachers were unable to be present when school began.

Wires from Mr Nimmo amd Miss Brady re. illness.

By mid-day, all the others had managed out except Miss Kean.

Attendance in Primary was better than yesterday: 334 pupils being present.’


January 9th

‘No milk these days owing to frost. 74 pupils for dinner in dining-hall, but owing to scarcity of meat they had to be supplied with (tinned) beans instead.

During the luncheon interval, the Air Raid Siren sounded – 1.35pm and, as arranged with Janitor, all pupils proceeded to their usual shelters, where teachers (who remain on the premises during luncheon interval) took charge of them. The “All Clear” sounded at 2.12pm when pupils were allowed an extra quarter-of-an-hour for recreation. All complained of cold in large shelter.’


[A newspaper cutting is stuck into the logbook on this date. It is dated 24.12.40 and headed ‘Reasonable Request’. The text is ‘Pupils of St Ninian’s R.C. High School, Kirkintilloch, hope to get a half-holiday each time their adopted ship, H.M.S. King George V, disposes of a U-boat. Writing to the crew, a boy appeals to them not to sink any U-boats during the holiday period but to sink two after the school resumes, in order that they might get a whole holiday.’]


January 10th

‘As from Monday 13th January, pupils who have not been able for their present classes owing to inability, as shown by their performance at Xmas Tests, or absence from school during last term, are being transferred to a lower class. Roll at this date is Secondary 326, Primary 495. A few cases of diptheria have been notified this week, and many pupils are still absent from mumps or contact. Letters have been received from the Anglican Chaplain, Rev Mr Waters and the Captain Mr Paterson of ‘H.M.S. King George V’ in appreciation of the gifts sent to their ship at Christmas time. Two dozen ship (cap) ribbons have been received for distribution amongst the pupils.’


January 13th

‘Supt. Smart and Mr Stevenson (P.A. Inspr.) called here this forenoon regarding the housing and feeding for forty-eight hours of 1300 persons rendered homeless in an emergency arising out of severe bombing. 350 beds in storage would be utilized, also canteen etc. Headmaster would be in charge of all arrangements.

No milk is being distributed this week as bottles contain frozen milk. Examined Primary 4 in reading. The quality was good.’


January 15th

‘Salaries are due today, but cheque is not forward. Phoned Mr Ritchie, Dumbarton, who states cheque and receipt forms were posted in ample time yesterday. All other schools had received cheques as no complaints had been received.’


January 16th

‘Cheque arrived. Envelope had been wrongly addressed –

St Ninian’s High School



January 21st

‘Headmaster examined 3a in Dictation, Spelling, Poetry, Reading, Arithmetic. Suggested more poems. Reading is good; spelling not too good!

Mr. McPherson called in afternoon about blacking out windows at W’mains.’


January 22nd

‘Mr Douglas, teacher in charge of gardening plots, called this forenoon and went over the ground of suggested plots.’


January 24th

‘Announced over radio today at 1pm that HMS “King George V” was due today in New York with Lord Halifax & Lady Halifax. Lord Halifax is new ambassador to U.S.A. and that the Prime Minister, Mr Churchill had, along with Mrs Churchill, visited the “King George V” at a northern port, before she sailed. Great jubilation in consequence was visible amongst pupils at this report of our adopted ship. The following is a copy of letters received from her Captain in appreciation of the weekly parcels being sent:

‘c/o G.P.O.

26th December 1940

Dear Mr. Barry,

I feel I must write you a letter myself to thank you for all you have been doing for the ship. It is most kind of you and your school to have adopted us and sent us so much. We appreciate even more than your gifts, your good wishes and the kind thoughts which lie behind them. I hope that the time will soon come when we will be able to celebrate a victorious peace and that all your children will then be able to come and see over the ship of which we are all so proud.

Every good wish to you and St Ninian’s for 1941.

Yours sincerely,

Wilfrid Patterson

Captain, R.N.’


January 27th

‘Had excerpt from ‘Tom Brown’s Schooldays’ printed by Art Master and hung in Assembly Hall, as a stimulant to Boys, who are a little jerky at present.

“Remember this, all you Boys! Now is the time in all your lives when you may have more wide influence for good or evil on the society you live in, than you ever can have again. Quit yourselves like men then: speak up and strike out if necessary for whatsoever is true, and manly and lovely, and of good report: never try to be popular, but only to do your duty and help others to do theirs, and you may leave the tone of feeling in the School higher than you found it, and so be doing good which no living soul can measure to generations of your countrymen yet unborn.” ‘


January 28th

‘Assembled all boys in Hall at 1.10pm and spoke to them about behaviour and conduct in cloak-rooms, corridors, on field etc.’


January 29th

‘Received letter from the Director to say that our field is not suitable for gardening purposes.

At 12.50pm, the Town Siren sounded. Janitor rang School Siren and all classes proceeded immediately to Air Raid Shelters. One little girl in Primary V fainted from fright but recovered quickly. During “alert”, an older sister of a pupil in Babies’ room, called and demanded that she be given her baby sister to take home. Headmaster pointed out to her the instruction that no child might leave shelter during “alert”. As she was somewhat hysterical and vociferous, she was allowed to take child away on her own responsibility, but Headmaster reported the incident to the Police.’


January 30th

‘Yesterday, 29th January, there appeared a report of an Order in Council from the Regional Commissioner Mr Tom Johnstone M.P. that within 14 days all large premises should have arrangements made re Fire Watchers. After consultation with Second Master and Janitor (Mr Monaghan and Mr Callaghan) Headmaster wrote Mr Gibb, Depute County Architect, drawing his attention to the awkwardness of access to roof of new School, and asking him to send Mr McPherson, his assistant, to go over same.

Accessibility to the roof is chiefly from the south-east corner of the quadrangle by means of long ladder and then to next roof by means of another ladder. Entrance to attics is obtained through sky-lights. From Science Room there is a trap-door to attic. Westermains House has a very uneven roof surface to which access is made by an outside ladder.

During luncheon interval, Mr. Monaghan and Mr Coleman climbed to School Roof and inspected sky-lights etc for preparation for Fire-Watching.

Today being the feast day of St. John Bosco, all the boys and girls in the School attended 9.15am Mass, offered on behalf of all the lads in the Forces – Navy, Army, Air – who passed through St Ninian’s School.

In afternoon (3.45pm) a draw took place for prizes gifted by teachers and others in aid of comfort fund of “King George V”. Up-to-date £10-18/- (Oct – Jan) has been spent on comforts etc in addition to postage, goods in kind etc. Wrote Capt. W. Patterson, R.N. congratulating him in having the honour of transporting Lord Halifax to U.S.A. and conveying the good wishes of all in the School for further and greater honours in 1941.’