From Our Files

50 Years Ago - May 20th, 1961

A quiet unassuming young Garlieston man, Police-constable David Kirkwood, now stationed at Lockerbie, who last September dived fully clothed in to the icy waters of Garlieston Harbour to save the life of a ten-year-old schoolgirl, was presented with the Royal Humane Society’s testimonial and parchment by the provost of Lockerbie, Mr W A Corrie, on Tuesday evening. The drama started on a cold autumn evening last year when David heard the screams of a child who had fallen from the harbour wall into the waters of the bay. Without hesitation he would have dived in after her and with the assistance of Mr Alex Houston pulled her to the shore where he applied artificial respiration. The girl, Jessie Smith, was a non-swimmer and certainly would have drowned if it had not been for the policeman’s quick thinking. On recovering from her experience, she knitted a pair of socks for her hero.

To pay tribute to their president, Mr Gordon S Henry, and present him with a magnificent silver salver in appreciation of his long and valuable services to the club, the committee members of Wigtown Burns Club gathered together in the Commercial Hotel, Wigtown, on Friday evening at a special presentation dinner. Included in the guests were the president and the secretary of the recently formed Garlieston Burns Club, Mr W Gemmell and Mr D. Hatch, and a friend of many years standing Colonel Kinnear Brown, Steam Packet Hotel, Isle of Whithorn. An apology for absence was received from Provost T D Stephen, Wigtown. After the Selkirk Grace, said by Mr A McAdam, the company enjoyed an excellent meal. The toast “The Queen” having been loyally proposed by he chairman, Councillor A Watson, a welcome was extended to the members and the guests from Garlieston and the Isle of Whithorn.

25 Years Ago - May 25, 1986

A new excavation of a fifth century burial site in a Machars town is planned for later this year and, this week, a trust has been set up to promote the study of archeology and the history of the area. Whithorn has a special place in the history of Scotland as it is the site of Scotland’s earliest recorded Christian Community. Here, centuries ago, St. Ninian built a church known as Candida Casa (the white house) from which he Christianised the local Britons and Southern Picts. Despite wars and invasions Whithorn remained an important centre throughout the Dark Ages and Medieval times. From the end of the 19th century, a series of archaeological excavations have uncovered the various stages of this ancient Christian sight. Graves, probably those of medieval bishops were uncovered in the 1950’s and 60’s, some of them containing fascinating relics including the enamelled Whithorn crozier. Archaeologist Peter Hill led a dig in 1984, which revealed for the first time, remains of this Dark Age occupation : early monastic buildings and eighth century craftsmen workshops. Peter Hill said: “this is the most exciting project I have ever been involved in. The potential of the Whithorn site is remarkable.” The new Whithorn Trust includes not only representatives of all the major Christian groups in Scotland and local heritage interests but also businessman, bankers and academics.

EIGHTEEN prisoners evacuated from Penninghame Open Prison near Newton Stewart after fire broke out last Friday night were all expected to be back at the prison today. Prison staff alerted the fire brigade around 7.20pm on Friday night when smoke and flames were seen coming from the top of a tower block. The prisoners were transferred to Barlinnie Prison, Glasgow. Twelve were later transferred to Dungavel Prison, Strathaven.