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50 Years Ago - April 29, 1961

A Newton Stewart railway man, forty-eight-year old Alexander Murphy, 5 Garlis Crescent, met a tragic death on the main Newton Stewart – Stranraer railway line on Friday afternoon, about a quarter of a mile on the Glenluce side of Kirkcowan Station. Mr Murphy was a member of the flying squad working on the line at the time. Warning he had been given to the fourteen men on the job that an engine and break van, put on specially to carry livestock from Newton Stewart Auction Mart, would be passing along the line from Stranraer. The men stepped back, but it is thought that Mr Murphy went back to lift a graip and riddle left on the line. He misjudged the distance the train was away from him and the engine’s buffer struck him, killing him instantaneously. Mr Murphy who did much during his life to relieve the suffering of polio victims after his only daughter had been born with the disease, raising hundreds of pounds by door-to-door collections, whist drives, competition and concerts throughout the district.

While fishing at the the double steps at Stranraer Harbour on Sunday, ten-year-old Leslie Wilson, 24 Coronation Drive, Stranraer, fell into the water. He was wearing a pair of wellingtons at the time and was sucked under.

His eleven-year-old pal Derek Wharlow, McDowell Drive, Stranraer threw of his clothes and dived to Leslie’s rescue. Derek managed to pull him to the edge of the steps where he was hauled ashore by another pal, nine-year-old John Lees, 23 Coronation Drive. Leslie suffered from shock but quickly recovered.

25 Years Ago – May 3, 1986

AMATURE taxidermist Gorden John Pickersgill kept a large number of dead birds in a freezer at his farm home intending to stuff and sell them, Stranraer Sheriff Court Herd on Wednesday. The court heard how Pickersgill. 37, of Bine farm, Ervie, was found in possession of the birds when police and Royal Society for Protection of Birds officer visited his home last June. They include many different species, among them swans, buzzards, owls, geese, magpies, gold finches, ducks, guillemots and chaffinches. Pamphlets showing that Pickersgill bought or sold animals, despite not being registered as a taxidermist with the Secretary of State, were also found.

AN oil painting of Kirkcudbright, circa 1916, by Samuel John Peploe was sold by Christie’s for £20,000 at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, on Wednesday evening. Included in the sale of Scottish and topographial paintings were works by two Kirkcudbright artists, EA Hornel and Jessie M King. Hornel’s oil painting “The Butterfly,” realised £5000, and set of three pen and ink water colours by Jessie M King, entitled “When Childer Plays” were knocked down for £1,000.