Times Past

25 Years Ago

After many years on the drawing board the race to find a Shetland flag has started again in earnest. Shetland Tourist Organisation is leading the search for an island flag – and already two designs have emerged as front runners.

Shetland tourist officer Maurice Mullay, one of those who has encouraged the idea, has cited a design drawn up by Mr Roy Gronneberg and Mr Bill Adams from Lerwick 10 years ago – a white Danneberg cross on a royal blue background. It is based on the colours of Scotland, while the cross would emphasise Shetland’s links with Scandinavia.

The alternative design was drawn up by another Lerwick man, Mr Donnie Williamson, and shares the royal blue background and white cross but also includes a red square in the middle. “The British national colours,” said Mr Williamson. “This gives no offence or favour to Scotland or England.”

Mr Williamson has already spoken to fishermen who intend painting his design on the shelter decks of their boats and he, like Mr Gronneberg, would like his design chosen.

If, or when, a flag committee is formed to choose an emblem for the islands the Gronneberg/Adams and Williamson designs will be in the forefront of the discussions. But other designs may be submitted and the race to find the Shetland flag is far from finished.

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The 22nd football match between Shetland and Faroe was won 1-0 by the visitors at the Gilbertson Park on Tuesday night. A moment of slackness in the home defence, seconds into the second half, was ably punished by Faroese winger Henrik Thomsen, but overall a draw would have been a fairer result.

50 Years Ago

A stranger came from the sea. He came, dripping wet, across the rigs of a Fetlar croft at six o’clock last Friday morning. And 74-year-old Miss Mary Jeromson, out tending her sheep, did just what any other Shetlander would have done; she took the man into her house and made him a cup of tea.

The fair-headed, sallow complexioned young man had swum from a Russian ship which was lying off the north end of the island. Did he fall or was he pushed – or did he make a deliberate break for freedom? These questions remain unanswered. All that one can say with certainty is that, if Miss Jeromson’s very natural reaction to his sudden appearance caused Boris Kuzeviev to think that his lines had fallen in pleasant places and that he was among normal people, subsequent events must have rapidly disillusioned him.

After two cups of tea and biscuits Miss Jeromson, who lives alone, took him outside and indicated that he should go to the next house – that of Fetlar postman Mr Laurence Brown.

“He ran awa across da rigs, jumping clean ower da fences,” said Miss Jeromson. “He was a particularly civil man and I was very blyde to help him.”

Mr Brown tried to converse with Boris in sign language and he indicated that he had been leaning on a rail and had fallen overboard.

Constable Magnus Doull arrived from Yell and there followed a cloak and dagger saga, during which he was whisked down to Lerwick in the back of a police van at the same time as a representives from London news agencies, who had been made aware of the situation, began to move north.

100 Years Ago

Wreck of the “Satara” – Splendid Work by Shetland Captain – Says a New South Wales paper: – Captain Hunter, the commander of the North Coast S.N. Company’s express steamer Orara, who was an eye-witness of the foundering of the B.I.S.N. Company’s steamer Satara, and rendered timely assistance to the boats containing the castaways from the wreck, returned to Sydney last night from Byron Bay. Captain Hunter displayed great skill and seamanship in the rescue work, and it was largely due to his excellent work that the whole of the shipwrecked people were saved. The captain has been congratulated on all sides on the success of his efforts.

“It was shortly after noon on April 20 when I first saw the Satara,” said Captain Hunter last night. “We were about six miles south of Sugar Loaf Point. I went on the bridge, and noticed a large steamer bearing about four points on the port bow, and about 1 miles distant. I asked the chief officer who was on watch ‘What steamer is that?’ and he replied, ‘A.B.I. boat going north.’ A few minutes after I remarked that she trimmed very much by the head. We passed her at 12.39p.m., and she was more down by the head then. We watched her until the Orara rounded Sugar Loaf Point, and I then concluded that the Satara was sinking. I immediately turned around and headed south. I passed between the Satara and the shore, and came up along her starboard side.

“As I was rounding her bow the captain, who was on the bridge, called to me to pick up the boats, which were then in the water, and noticing that the boats were almost submerged in the heavy sea, I quickly steamed between them and the shore, and having got my ship well to seaward of them, let go the anchor to keep the Orara’s head to sea. I then called them alongside; when the second boat came up the officer told me that the captain and pilot were missing. I could do nothing then but take the men out of the boats, as they were in a great state of excitement. The occupants of the first boat all jumped overboard when the boat got alongside, and we had to pick them up out of the water. However, by this time the steamer Dorrigo came on the scene, and proceeded with all haste searching the wreckage, with the result that the captain and pilot were saved. I towed my boat when I had the Satara’s crew on board, and this boat picked up the chief officer of the Satara, and took him on board the Dorrigo. The latter vessel came within hailing distance, and I told Captain Anderson to proceed to Seal Rocks Bay, where we transhipped all the shipwrecked sailors, and afterwards proceeded on the voyage to Byron Bay.”

Captain Hunter, who is well-known in Shetland, is a brother of Mr Henry Hunter, Baltasound, and has commanded to Orara for about two years.


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