Times Past

25 Years Ago

Mystery and confusion surrounded a bizarre incident at the Sullom Voe Terminal this week when an intruder spotted in the terminal sparked a full-scale security alert.

Despite the possibility of the intruder being connected with a massive military exercise taking place in Shetland this week, police and terminal authorities were treating the matter with the utmost seriousness. Officially, at least, it seems the army was not involved.

The mystery intruder was spotted at around two o’clock on Wednesday morning by terminal security guards. They had noticed someone “acting in a suspicious manner”, a BP spokesman said. The person ran off when spotted by the guards and was too far off for the guards to give an accurate description. Reports that the person was clad in a balaclava and carrying a package, remain unconfirmed. A terminal spokesman said he knew of no gaps in terminal security.

The police were immediately called in. Working with security guards they searched the terminal but found no-one. Most of Wednesday morning was disrupted as vehicles approaching the £1.2 billion complex were stopped and searched. Terminal authorities said they wanted to minimise the number of people entering and scores of workers were diverted to the port offices for the terminal at Sella Ness where they were shepherded to a car park. Police have refused to say how many officers were involved in the operation.

A huge military exercise, Brave Defender, has been taking place in Shetland this week, concentrating on the defence of strategically important installations – the likes of Mossy Hill, Collafirth, Saxa Vord and Scousburgh. There are suspicions the incident might be linked with the exercise. Police have remained tight-lipped, only saying they were pursuing various lines of inquiry.

50 Years Ago

There will be no Sunday films in the North Star Cinema. On Tuesday night, Lerwick Town Council rejected an application by J.B. Milne Theatres for permission to open on Sunday evenings – but only by a one-vote majority.

The application stated the circuit was now operating on Sundays in many Scottish towns, and having experience of the reaction they could say the service was greatly appreciated by the inhabitants and the local authorities concerned.

They therefore formally applied to open the North Star every Sunday on a commercial basis. Normally local authorities make it a condition that the cinema should not open before church opening hours, so the normal practice was to open at 6.45, with a 7pm start, and finishing about 10pm.

North Star Cinema patrons are given an opportunity to see a 3½ hour programme for only fivepence next week! The offer is made in connection with the showing of the film “The Five Pennies,” on Wednesday and Thursday. Every hundredth patron at the box-office will be admitted for fivepence, and in addition anyone with five pennies all bearing the date 1953 (the last year pennies were minted) will be admitted on surrender of the coins.

100 Years Ago

Mr J. Cathcart Wason, M.P., at Lerwick – Enthusiastic Vote of Confidence – Mr J. Cathcart Wason, M.P., for the County of Orkney and Shetland, in accordance with his usual custom of meeting with his constituents in the autumn of each year, addressed a meeting of electors in the Lerwick Town Hall on Monday night. There was a large crowd to hear him, and the Hall was filled. As Mr Wason entered, accompanied by his Chairman, Bailie A.L. Laing, he was received with hearty applause. The meeting which ensued was very quiet and orderly, and Mr Wason received an attentive and friendly hearing.

In introducing Mr Wason, the Chairman said – Ladies and gentlemen, I am sure it is a pleasure to us all to have Mr Wason here again so soon. Indeed, it is very good of him, I think, to come so soon. It is only a very few months since he was last here. He has always been very good in coming and paying a visit to his constituents. He has made that a regular duty during all the time he has represented us. He has made himself thoroughly interested and acquainted with all the interests of his constituents, and for that we have every reason to be thankful. On the occasion when he was last here he certainly had a very rough time – the weather was anything but favourable; but on the other hand we gave him a very substantial majority to put him in, and I wish here and now to offer the congratulations of the constituency on the remarkable and splendid victory on that occasion. (Applause.) He is so well-known to you all that I do not think it is necessary for me to introduce him, and I have no intention of saying much more, further than this, that at the close of his address an opportunity will be given as usual for questions. I may here mention that judging by previous experience, I have been a little bit inclined on this occasion to limit the number of questions, and also to demand written questions to be handed in, but Mr Wason does not wish this to be done.

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The Ghost of Byron – His “Delicious Spicy Perfume” – There is a curious story in Light of the ghost of Byron. It is related by Mr C.G. Oyston, of Seattle, Washington, U.S.A., a profound admirer of the poet. Mr Oyston was delivering a lecture when Byron first appeared and made his spirit visible to the clairvoyant vision of his wife. Repeatedly since that occasion the ghost of the poet has visited them in the quiet seclusion of their home – a “superbly beautiful” and a “more glorified” Byron than he has been represented.

As he conversed with Mrs Oyston, “verbally and by impression,” his voice, writes her husband, “was as musical as a silver bell, his bearing as graceful as that of a Castilian nobleman, and his manner courtly and dignified.”

No wonder that when he smilingly bowed himself from her presence “the room seemed comparatively gloomy.” The most remarkable feature of the visit itself, Mr Oyston adds, was “the delicious, spicy perfume” which accompanied the ghost. Eventually the mystery of the perfume was revealed when “he held before my wife a sprig of myrtle.”

“Oh, leave me that,” Mrs Oyston exclaimed; but when she looked again the spirit and plant had both disappeared.


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