Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Jim Clark Museum granted planning permission

Jim Clark

Jim Clark

It feels as if I’ve been watching stories about plans for a museum dedicated to racing driver Jim Clark for years, but it’s not really been that long.

While there have been a few objections about its appearance, and fear of a few extra cars needing to park nearby, it seems that they have been overcome, and planning permission has been granted.

It is hoped the development could be completed by 2018 – the 50th anniversary of Clark’s death at Hockenheim in Germany, aged just 32.

A proper facility seems like a good idea. Despite being aware there was a small collection of some sort there, The Jim Clark Room, I never got around to finding or visiting, even though there were times I was in the area regularly.

All they need now it the funding – the £1.65 million has a £300,000 crowdfunding campaign, while Scottish Borders Council has pledged £620,000 towards the museum, with a similar sum being sought from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Via Green light for Jim Clark museum project in Duns

Pic courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

February 24, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The shifting Cambuslang Miners Memorial

There’s an interesting memorial to be found just outside the built-up area of Cambuslang Main Street.

It’s dedicated to those who worked in the area’s extensive coal mining industry, and does not forget those who also died, or that children as young as six would be sent down the pit to help support their families.

While the location is fairly prominent, it’s a pity the council didn’t take a little more care regarding the positioning of regulatory road signs, which are almost impossible to easily exclude from pics.

Cambuslang Miners Memorial

Cambuslang Miners Memorial

This isn’t the first time I’ve caught this memorial.

This was an earlier pic I grabbed one evening – you can ‘lose’ the sign, but the view is not so pleasing, but the lighting is effective.

Cambuslang Miners Memorial night

Cambuslang Miners Memorial night

It’s some years since I fell into Cambuslang, and I’ve probably never wandered along to this spot until last year, when looking for a nearby address. Then, I was amazed to see the memorial, as it used to be sited on a hill in the industrial park, about a mile away. It vanished from the park many years ago, when I used to use the near derelict area to practice flying model helicopters, but had to give that up when the ground was razed to make way for factory units as the park was developed, and I stopped visiting. With little on the Internet then, I had assumed it had been lost or trashed.

Unknown to me until recently, it was dismantled, moved, and eventually reassembled at the end of the Main Street, and dedicated in May 2005.

I wasn’t sure of the date of the original, but happened to find a much earlier pic of that first installation, from 1983, which provides a further reference confirming it was still there in 1986 (which is around the time I was flying).

A little more info can be found on Geograph:

Coal Mining Monument in Cambuslang

Original Cambuslang Miners Memorial

Original Cambuslang Miners Memorial


Lest anyone feel I’ve made a terrible mistake by not including the possessive apostrophe with Miners as it appears above, be aware that I have merely followed the text as it appears on the memorial plaque, which has been prepared without this mark.

January 6, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | 1 Comment

Nikola Tesla Day – July 10

I can’t recall coming across this particular memorial before, and when I looked at the related information sites for Nikola Tesla (10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943), while they mentioned the efforts made to create this day, and they showed various letters and representation dating back to 2002 (where I looked), none of them appeared to show any document that confirmed which year July 10 was officially confirmed as being Nikola Tesla Day.

(Having done some more reading, after writing the above, I think that 2014 might have been the inaugural year of the day).

Nikola Tesla Time cover of 1931

Nikola Tesla Time cover of 1931

I had intended to pick some interesting links and articles to share with those who are still unaware of just who Nikola Tesla was, and why he is so important to those of us involved in any sort of electrical and/or electronic engineering, but to be brutally honest, most of the web sites are simply just an embarrassment to his memory.

I don’t normally suggest referring to Wikipedia for information, not because there is anything wrong with it, and I am an advocate of the creation, but I usually consider sending anyone to a source they could obviously look at for themselves to be lazy. It is a reference, not a source of original information (which many people seem unable or unwilling to understand), and links should normally be given to sources, not references, if for no other reason than they can change over time, while original sources should not.

But in this case, I will point those unfamiliar with Tesla to the Wikipedia article: Nikola Tesla

And I do so because it does not dwell on the fringe lunacy which unfortunately pervades any specialist/fan sites claiming to honour the man, but which do the opposite.

I also have to include: Tesla Memorial Society of New York

Unfortunately, not allowed to be embedded in WordPress, the film given in the link below dates from 1980 and I believe gives a good account of Tesla’s life and work:

Nicola Tesla – 1980 Yugoslav film

This serious article from The Smithsonian also caught my eye recently, not least because it concludes with the sad decline of Tesla and his mind towards the end of his life.

It mentions the Wardenclffe Tower, Tesla’s downfall project which many of the loonies and ‘free-energy conspiracists’ cling to so desperately today, quoting and referring to it as if it was some sort of suppressed technology, rather than a fundamental mistake. The First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics effectively demonstrate the errors of the concept, and quosh any thought that power could be distributed around the World by such a tower – but facts have no place with such advocates, who think power can be magicked out of thin air.

The Rise and Fall of Nikola Tesla and his Tower | History | Smithsonian

I’m not going to name any other sites, merely refer to the general disrespect many sites which claim to be dedicated to Tesla actually display, as they concentrate not on his career, work, developments, patent, and the many problems those brought, but on the last few years of his life, where I believe it is clear that all those problems and disappointments affected his mind, and when he was no longer working productively. Then, he turned to more fanciful and imaginative thoughts, ideas, and projects, such as death rays and wireless transmission of electrical energy.

Sadly, it is often for these last items that his name is used, and conspiracy theorists speak of his work being stolen and suppressed, and his research destroyed.

Funny how it’s all the controversial stuff that not only disappeared, but cannot be reproduced or repeated even today, yet all his earlier work can, as is all the development that followed it.

Nikola Tesla c. 1890

Nikola Tesla c. 1890

Sadly, I can’t make the loonies that have hijacked Tesla, his work, and his memory for their own selfish purposes and agenda, and use his name to give their failed theories and ideas some sort of credibility by association. Significantly, when pressed for evidence, their response is usually something mumbled along the lines of it having been stolen (by the government or some secret agency acting on its behalf or instructions). Assume for a moment we join their flight from reality – If all these wonderful inventions were indeed stolen (as they put it) by government, or other, agencies – they have they never used or developed them? If the resulting devices they supposedly produce were in existence, then whoever had them would hold considerable power, yet no-one appears to be in such a position, or even be threatening to deploy any of the stolen technology.

Why not? Could it be that it exists nowhere other than inside the heads of these people? And that they are little more than con-artists, getting funds on promises, or selling their useless device to the gullible? Their devices never seem to work, and they tend not to hand them over to real laboratories for independent testing. So, I know what I think of them.

But if I can do nothing else, I can ask that when you read items about UFOs, various forms of ‘Infinite energy devices’, Free energy devices’, non-existent death rays and the like, and when the authors use Tesla’s name as some sort of justification for their silliness, ignore them, and treat them with the contempt they deserve for stealing someone’s good name and reputation for their own disreputable purposes.

Read more on Tesla and current events

There’s not much point in me doing yet another summary of some of Tesla’s achievements, or even recounting the problems that came between Tesla and Edison.

On the latter point, I tend to agree with the suggestion the we need BOTH Teslas and Edisons. Both are needed in order to innovate and move things forward. That they might disagree and end up head to head – that’s just the way life happens.

The Tesla Museum is set to become a reality, and this is no small part to recent appeals, and Elon Musk, who named his company’s electric car after Tesla:

Elon Musk Donates $1 Million to New Tesla Museum

Notably, he assisted with the original campaign to save the original museum at Wardenclyffe. Now there will be a NEW museum on the site.

Photos: Tesla’s Lab at Wardenclyffe

Happy 158th, Nikola Tesla! Strange Facts About the Inventor

Nikola Tesla vs. Thomas Edison: Who Was the Better Inventor?

A mention for Teslamania, Toronto, CanadaTeslamania

A little too far for me to have a look at, but just got word of:

TeslaMania 2014 – Nikola Tesla Festival and Expo

Described as four days to “Celebrate the Visions, Inventions and Life of Nikola Tesla”, this takes place from July 10 to July 13, 2014.

I have to say I don’t have any first hand experience of this event, but the agenda suggests it revolves around the more serious aspects of Teslas’s work.


July 10, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Over another wall – a footballer memorial

I’m often found trying to convince other folk to “Look up”, or “Look over walls” as they pass the, as it’s often that case that many interesting things are missed by most people simply because they are too focussed on themselves, or where they are going.

And today we have the curse of the various flavours of mobile devices, which people are determined to either stare at, or poke, during their every waking moment.

I’d been walking up and down Cambuslang Main Street on a fairly dull and miserable day recently, when I decided to stop for a rest, and ended up leaning against a wall near the station. Without thinking, I turned around and looked over it – and found it to be a monumental sculptor’s yard, full of headstones and similar.

But most noticeable was the footballer, pictured below.

I’ve no idea if this depicts someone in particular, or is just a generic offering the artist has for those who are keen.

I have absolutely no interest in the subject or the game, so can’t even have a guess.

But, it does at least prove that ‘looking over walls’ can pay dividends – but please remember to do it carefully!

Sculptors footballer memorial

Monumental culptor’s footballer memorial

March 11, 2014 Posted by | photography | , , | Leave a comment

Poppyscotland 2013

Looks like I have reverted to my old habit of giving Poppyscotland Home Page and Remembrance a late reminder – I think I’ll stop worrying about it.

However, and as usual, other things arose unexpectedly about a week a ago, and diverted my attention.


I’m crossing my fingers this year, as I have not been able to look at many news feeds recently, so hope that the usual stories seen in the past few years, telling of the sort of scum that steal collection boxes and money for the appeal, have actually not appeared, and not just been missed.

However, that does not mean that all is well, as we have seen a very bad year for thefts of metal from memorial and similar.

Sadly, while England has enacted new laws recently to make anonymous metal trading more difficult, Scotland is lagging behind, and has delayed moving on this, although we actually reported in last year’s article that “The Scottish Government proposed changes to the rules for scrap metal trading, removing the option of cash-in-hand payments in casual transactions“. Other than noting the deferral of this proposed deterrent, we have not noted any more positive actions against this growing theft.

Last year, we ended this with: Perhaps there will be something different to mention in a year’s time.

I’ll try something more imaginative his year…

Perhaps there will be something different to mention in a year’s time.

November 9, 2013 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, Maritime, military, Naval, World War I, World War II | , , | Leave a comment

Memorial service in Glen Nevis for Canadian Spitfire pilot

Spitfire and pilotNews of another memorial service related to a Spitfire, this time for a young (21) Canadian pilot who lost his life on May 16, 1943, while returning to RAF Fraserburgh after a photographic reconnaissance mission over the west of Scotland.

Flying Officer John McDonell, from Smithers in north west British Columbia, was a Royal Canadian Air Force pilot flying with the RAF.

He died while flying in low cloud, when his aircraft struck Meall an t-Suidhe, a hill near Ben Nevis.

The memorial service will take place  in Glen, on May 16, 2013, with members of the RAF Leuchars Mountain Rescue Team in attendance.

Via Spitfire pilot’s death in the Highlands to be marked


May 10, 2013 Posted by | World War II | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Unveiling of Grangemouth Spitfire memorial promised for May 9, 2013

Spitfire and pilotOne of the items we latched on to some time ago (as in 5 years ago), was the arrival of a full size replica Spitfire in Grangemouth, due to be erected on the site where RAF Grangemouth had operated during World War II.

This was way back on Saturday,  September 13, 2008, when the unveiling of the replica was set to coincide with the opening of a memorial garden dedicated to those from the airfield who had died during the conflict. At the time, the unveiling was to take advantage of the Leuchars Airshow, (taking place on the same day) when the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight – Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire – would carry out a flypast at the unveiling, in tribute to air cadets killed while training at Grangemouth, and remembering the contribution of the hundreds of Polish pilots who developed their skills there as members of 58 Operational Training Unit (OTU).

The full-size replica Spitfire is described as an exact copy of the aircraft flown by 58 OTU Sergeant, killed in 1941 when his Spitfire came down in Avondale Estate in nearby Polmont. The replica will bear the distinctive markings and colours of the Polish 303 Squadron, which was the highest scoring foreign squadron in the Battle of Britain.

Unveiling ceremony 2013

At the start of April 2013, there was news that the replica had been joined to its wings, and the Grangemouth memorial would finally be unveiled on Thursday, May 9, 2013:

Every Remembrance Day Air Training Corps cadets from Grangemouth lay wooden crosses and poppies on the graves of Spitfire pilots and other air crew who died while flying with 58 Operational Training Unit.

Chairman of the Grangemouth Spitfire Memorial Trust Iain Mitchell said: “It’s fantastic what’s been achieved. The cadets managed to raise the money to crate the base for the Spitfire.

“She will really be going home again, I suppose you could say.”

The Spitfire is to be installed on Bo’ness Road, near what remains of the airfield.

Via WWII Spitfire memorial gets its wings at RAF Grangemouth

Ceremony completed on schedule

Thanks to one of commenters, Colin, we can confirm that the ceremony was successfully completed on the day:

The Spitfire was unveiled by cadets of 1333 (Grangemouth) Squadron Air Training Corps during a very impressive ceremony today, with representatives from Australia, Poland Defence Forces, Lord Lieutenant of Stirlingshire,  Provost of Falkirk District, the Central Band of The Royal Air Force, and the Queen’s Colour Squadron RAF.

In the news later:

The idea for the memorial came from cadets in the 1333 (Grangemouth Spitfire) Squadron Air Training Corps. It cost £100,000 which was raised through campaigns led by the Grangemouth Spitfire Memorial Trust.

Chairman Iain Mitchell said: “The young men who trained at Grangemouth were among the bravest the world has ever seen, and it is a huge honour for us to be in a position to commemorate their sacrifice with this stunning memorial. It’s the first of its kind in Scotland and we can’t wait to share it with everyone.

“This project has been five years in the making for us. Ever since the memorial wall went up in 2008 we’ve been trying to raise the funds to have the replica put up so to see it finally happen is a proud moment for all involved.

“The effort the cadets have put into this has been astonishing. This would not have been possible without them.”

The memorial aircraft is a replica of a Spitfire flown by 23-year-old Polish Sergeant Pilot Eugeniusz Lukomski who crashed and died in the Avondale estate in Polmont during a training flight in November 1941.

Via Grangemouth unveils Spitfire memorial to 71 pilots killed in WWII | Dundee & Tayside | News | STV

Supermarine Spitfire Mark 1 was unveiled by 100-year-old former aircraft mechanic John “Dinger” Bell in a public garden in Grangemouth, close to the site of a former RAF airfield.

Via Spitfire replica tribute unveiled in Grangemouth – Heritage –

April 29, 2013 Posted by | Aviation, World War II | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tardar Sauce made me smile when the news was bad – Sir Patrick Moore has passed away

I was sad last night, when I discovered that Sir Patrick Moore had passed away, after seeing him on The Sky at Night less than a week ago:

Sir Patrick Moore, astronomer and broadcaster, dies aged 89

However, it was hardly something of a surprise, since he was 89, but his passing will leave an empty space, and it will remain, as he was a unique character.

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But, I have to confess that a smile came back to my face sooner than expected, as I found that one of my feeds that follows Grumpy Cat had a video full of cuteness waiting for me to look at – and Moore was a cat owner, with a friend named Ptolemy, occasionally seen on TV… not giving a damn!

STORYBOARD: Tard the Grumpy Cat from Tumblr on Vimeo.

Storyboard has a one-on-one with Grumpycat about Starbucks coffee cake, windows, and sleep.

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December 10, 2012 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poppyscotland 2012

The mention of the poppy appeal has become something of an annual reminder in SeSco, and I had thought I had managed to get it into my head and mention it sooner rather than later, but this year has seen it slip again, as my attention was diverted.

However, the almost belated mention comes not from my somewhat dubious memory and its ability to forget the obvious, but due to current events, and some pondering about how to mention them.


Last year, as I made the Poppy post, I was pleased to observe that there had not been (to my knowledge at the time) any thefts relating to collection boxes. Sadly, that is not the case this year, and I noted one such incident reported in Scotland, so this scum is still moving amongst us:

Police in Dunfermline have described as ‘despicable’ the thieves who stole a charity collection tin from a leisure centre.

The fundraising can was collecting donations for the Scottish Poppy Appeal ahead of Remembrance Day.

The tin was taken from the front counter of the Dell Farquharson Centre on Dunfermline’s Nethertown Broad Street at around 2.20pm on Saturday.

Fife Police want to talk to two men who were seen at the centre shortly before the theft was discovered, one of whom was described as white, around 30 years of age, with short brown hair, and wearing a navy puffed-style jacket.

Inspector Thomas Barratt described the theft as “particularly despicable” given the causes which the Poppy Appeal supports.

Via: Scottish Poppy Appeal collection tin stolen in ‘despicable’ theft | News | Edinburgh | STV

Next, an apparent increase in the incidence of vandalism to memorials seems to be apparent in the media, with the most recent in Inverness, only days before Remembrance Sunday:

VANDALISM to a war memorial, just days before Remembrance Sunday, has been branded as “unforgivable” by the city leader.

Police are appealing for information after a section of the sandstone memorial in Cavell Gardens, which faces the River Ness, was targeted.

Words including ‘aim’ and what appears to be the name ‘Julia Mia’ have been etched onto the sandstone memorial.

“This is a disgrace, said Ian Brown, the city leader.

“I am appalled at this a deliberate action, in the run up to the weekend of Remembrance. It is unforgivable. I would urge anyone with information about the perpetrators to contact the Police or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Via: Inverness Courier | News | Inverness war memorial vandalised

And finally… there has to be mention of the apparent increase in thefts from memorials, specifically the plaques carrying the names of the fallen, or events leading to their deaths. These are generally made of non-ferrous metals which provide a good return for the thieves, since they pay nothing for what they steal. However, the cost is high in terms of distress for relatives, and councils/taxpayers, who have to foot the bill for repairing and restoring memorials damaged as the metal plaques and fixings are torn from without any consideration, causing damage many times the value of the metal removed.

Again, this seems to have become a growing problems within which one has to include unscrupulous scrap metal dealers, since it should be fairly obvious that the plaques and similar are not legitimate scrap. Yet they will apparently happily hand over a few pound for the metal, choosing to ignore its appearance, or what it engraved on it.

The Scottish Government proposed changes to the rules for scrap metal trading, removing the option of cash-in-hand payments in casual transactions, but there does not appear to have been any further mention of this by the media, so I am not aware if this is progressing, or has stalled for some reason.

Perhaps there will be something different to mention in a year’s time.

November 10, 2012 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, Maritime, military, Naval, World War I, World War II | , , | Leave a comment

Recognition sought for Dumfries and Galloway munitions workers

ShellOne of the lesser knows facts about the area of Dumfries and Galloway is the contribution it played in both World Wars, as hosted a number of munitions factories, and was a major source of the cordite used to fire the shells (and bullets) that were used in such vast numbers, especially in the first of those two conflicts.

The largest was HM Factory Gretna, of which we’ve managed to dig up a little of the history, and was once described as “the biggest factory in the world” (some 9 miles long by 2 miles wide), and where the Devil’s Porridge was made during World War I.

During the World War II, there were munitions factories in towns such as Dumfries, Dalbeattie (Edingham), Powfoot, and Carsegowan near Wigtown.

Many of these sites are largely unknown, as they were either abandoned and razed, or left to become derelict and ruined, with no attempts to preserve any as historic sites. But some did see later use, in part, as industrial estates.

An MP is seeking details of munitions factory workers from both world wars in order to seek formal recognition from the UK government for their efforts.

Russell Brown said many of them had been employed in factories in his Dumfries and Galloway constituency.

He has been leading the effort to win recognition for the predominantly female workforce.

He said the main reason it had not happened was the lack of a complete list of who was employed at the sites.

Now he has called on local people to get in touch with the details of individuals in the region who worked in the factories.

He has put an online form on his website where information can be logged.

Mr Brown said: “Munitions workers – the majority of whom were women – played a vital part in the war effort and deserve to be recognised by our country.

“Our nation owes a debt of gratitude to these heroes on the Home Front, many of whom were seriously injured or even killed during their hard and dangerous work.

“I have been pressing government ministers to take action and I am pleased that we are making progress, albeit not as quickly as I would like.”

Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown and Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray are asking for local people to get involved in this campaign by providing information about individuals in the region who worked in munitions factories.

Anyone who has information which may help can submit it through the form given on the following site.

Online form for information relating to munitions worked in Dumfries and Galloway

via BBC News – Dumfries and Galloway munitions worker recognition plea.

The campaign was reported in the local media earlier this year:

Russell Brown MP steps up campaign for recognition of wartime munitions workers – Dumfries and Galloway Standard

December 3, 2011 Posted by | Appeal, World War I, World War II | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poppyscotland 2011

It’s hard to believe that yet another year has passed since I made our traditional mention of the annual poppy appeal, in particular our own Poppyscotland local variation on the national theme.

I make this small contribution to maintaining awareness of this appeal, since so many of the secret, or lost, items which can be identified around Scotland have a basis somewhere in the two great conflicts, and even today, we are discovering formerly unknown links to that past, as archives are trawled, and sealed records opened.

Sadly, the chances of discovering any new revelations from survivors are now dwindling rapidly, and we can only hope that those who have remained silent will share their knowledge, before it is perhaps lost forever.

Poppyscotland 2011

This year, at least as I make this post, it is not tarnished by some tale of bottom-feeders having stolen donations – although I suspect that is more likely to be my failure to detect this, rather than its absence somewhere in the land.

There is however, an act of disrespect and desecration to past heroes and their memorial, with the increasing occurrence of theft of statues, plaques, and other metalwork from memorial (and not just war memorials) by metal thieves, and scrap metal dealers with no scruples, who are happy to part with untraceable cash in exchange for items which the seller obviously can have no right to be disposing of. BOTH deserve to be caught and dealt with harshly by the authorities. The crime is bad enough, and the addition of insult needs to be dealt with similarly.

BBC News – Metal thieves target Britain’s war memorials

On a more positive note, Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory celebrated its 90th anniversary this year:

A Scottish Government minister has paid tribute to veterans who work at the country’s only poppy factory.

On Tuesday, Transport and Housing Minister Keith Brown, who is responsible for veterans’ issues, visited Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory in Edinburgh.

The factory employs disabled veterans to hand-assemble the poppies and wreaths which form a key part of Armistice Day ceremonies.

Every year more than five million poppies and 8000 wreaths are produced for the annual Scottish Poppy Appeal, which is marking its 90th year.

The 40 former servicemen employed at the factory have just finished making the poppies for this year’s appeal, and are now starting on next year’s consignment.

Mr Brown said: “The Scottish Poppy Appeal run by Poppyscotland is a fantastic example of the respect and pride we bestow on our war veterans. Without the funding raised by the appeal, many simply would have nowhere else to turn for support.

“In many respects, the issues facing our armed forces as they return from battle are similar to what they would have been 90 years ago when the poppy appeal was established.

“Over the years there has been a tremendous amount of money donated and, as our military involvement continues to grow, so too does the need for us to support our ex-servicemen and women.”

Poppy factory celebrates 90th anniversary of appeal | Edinburgh News | STV Local

November 1, 2011 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, Maritime, military, Naval, World War I, World War II | , , | Leave a comment

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