Looking Back – news from the John O'Groat Journal of yesteryear
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Reay war memorial unveiled
From the Groat of October 26, 1923
A large number of people had gathered for the unveiling of the Reay war memorial by General Lord Horne of Stirkoke.
The turnout was representative of the whole district, with many coming from "long distances", along with a number of former servicemen.
The memorial had first been erected on another site but had suffered a "regrettable disaster" when it was blown down in a severe gale. As a result of that incident and the fact that the chosen site had been in a "very exposed position" it had been agreed to move it to it new, more sheltered location.
During the ceremony, Lord Horne said the memorial was a mark of the appreciation of the people of Reay "of the devotion and heroism of their brothers who laid down their lives for the defence of their country and for their cause".
Meanwhile, "absurd and unfounded rumours" about the Wick war memorial, which was due to be officially unveiled the following week, had taken hold in the town.
"It was being stated, with amusing persistence, that the symbolic figure of the war memorial had been 'made in Germany'."
The Groat sought to reassure its readers that "there is no particle of anything foreign in the whole structure or its surroundings, from the headpiece of the figure to the lowest step at the roadway".
Local flagstone concern
From the Groat of October 26, 1973
The Thurso Society had written to the Caithness Planning Committee bemoaning the "gradual disappearance of Caithness flagstone from the local scene".
Secretary Miss H Munro stated that the lack of local flagstone being used around the county "had been commented on by many visitors, particularly returning Caithnessians", and the society wished to draw the county council's attention to the matter.
She added that the local flagstones were "unique" and "to replace them with concrete seems a very short-sighted policy".
Chairman John Young said that the matter would be passed to the appropriate committee.
Meanwhile, police in Wick were to continue patrols in the vicinity of Bignold and Harmsworth parks following a council protest to the force about motorcyclists riding their bikes in the playing fields.
In a letter to councillors, Chief Constable Donald Henderson said he had instigated immediate enquiries after reading a report about the matter in the John O'Groat Journal. There had been two occasions recently when youngsters had ridden motorbikes in the parks, he said, but neither incident had been reported to the police at the time.
Meanwhile, Wick Town Council heard that a luncheon club had been set up for the elderly in Wick's Red Cross building. The meals were to be cooked at a local school and served by youth club volunteers.
'Profit' claim irks workers
From the Groat of October 30, 1998
Shop-floor workers at Dounreay's main workshops had been irked by their Oxfordshire-based management taking credit for turning the operation into profit.
The 20 employees of Johnson Controls were involved in a long-running dispute over their treatment in a proposed takeover by a new venture spearheaded by local firms Norfrost and JGC.
As they prepared to ballot for industrial action they were incensed by a senior executive's remark about the company having put the workshops back in the black.
A group of workers sought to correct what they and their colleagues believed was a distortion of the true position.
One long-serving employee said: "For the company to say they've turned things round is just not on. It has all been down to the hard work and long hours put in by the workforce and the efforts of our planning manager.
"It's not had anything to do with Johnson Controls – the company's management has made absolutely no investment in the workshops nor helped us find new work."
He added: "The potential of this plant is enormous but we are being held back because of a lack of investment."
Meanwhile, Caithness provost John Young had announced he was to retire from local government. His decision to stand down from his Caithness Central ward the following year would bring to an end almost four decades of involvement in local politics.