Obituary: Tribute to teacher, Boys’ Brigade captain and compiler of WWII Roll of Honour

Ian Jamieson (1931-2010)

Ian Jamieson was born in Unst and grew up on the family croft at the Westing. Schooling was a mixed experience for Ian but however much he enjoyed learning, family circumstances dictated that he left school at the age of 14 to earn his keep.

Ian’s first job was to flit peats with the use of Shetland ponies. The ponies had to be rounded up from the hill which must have been an exhausting task in itself. Flitting peats was hard work for little reward and so Ian progressed to working on roads and whatever else provided employment.

Ian then went off to do his National Service in the RAF. He had only ever been twice out of Unst and so the whole affair was a daunting and exciting experience and he came through it with flying colours.

On his return he worked at Hay & Co for a time but he was persuaded to consider furthering his education. Ian studied hard and gained entry to Edinburgh University where he graduated MA. After a year at Moray House he returned to Unst to teach in Baltasound School.

Though he had been trained to teach secondary pupils, Ian’s career began in the primary department. He was a natural teacher who got a ready response from his pupils. He had a great understanding of children and a great rapport with them and under his guidance they learned well.

Ian became head teacher of the new Dunrossness Primary School which was opened in 1969 and he did a remarkable job in uniting the pupils who had been previously taught in five separate schools.

Shortly after the school was opened the effects of the oil industry were felt in the South Mainland with a large influx of population which necessitated the construction of large extensions to the school.

Ian had the unenviable task of managing both the education of the pupils and the building work. He was an excellent headmaster who motivated and encouraged the staff and who sought to create an environ­ment where it was a pleasure to work and learn.

But he also promoted extra cur­ricular activities that added to the school’s reputation. He encouraged sport and he established a school choir among other things. Ian said that when he was at university he struggled to understand philosophy – but he was very philosophical when it came to understanding his pupils and indeed his staff.

Discipline was never an issue with Ian for he appreciated the stresses and strains that pupils and indeed staff were sometimes under and in his gentle and very under­standing manner he soon resolved situations of potential conflict.

After 17 happy and very reward­ing years at Dunrossness Primary School Ian took early retirement and embraced a new project – the compilation of the Second World War Roll of Honour. He set about the task in his usual methodical and meticulous manner and he very faithfully recorded the details of everyone involved in that difficult episode in our history. The Roll of Honour was published in 1991 and was a fitting tribute to those who had served their country during the war years.

For nearly 25 years Ian was session clerk at the Dunrossness Parish Church and during that time he served as presbytery elder and he trained as a reader in the Church of Scotland.

His readership was another opportunity for study and learning and Ian had a theological library as good as any minister’s. He conducted services all over Shetland and he preached with great ability and sincerity and understanding.

Ian was also captain of the Boys’ Brigade and he ran a very successful company, giving the boys invaluable training and the opportunity for exciting adventure through summer camps. One year he and the other officers took the boys on a trip to Germany. In all his service to the kirk Ian was more than generous with his time and talents and indeed with his money.

Beyond his work in the local congregation Ian was secretary to the SCCT and to the Dunrossness Inter Church Fellowship. For many years he was also secretary to the Dunrossness Community Council and he served on the Shetland Welfare Trust.Contributed


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.