During both World Wars, extra timber was urgently needed and thousands of lumberjacks were recruited by the UK from Newfoundland (Newfies) to help cut and process trees, mostly in Scotland
Unlike the Canadian Timber Corps the Newfoundlanders were not military men (Newfoundland was not part of the Canadian Federation till 1949) and volunteered to come to Britain. Generally the Canadians set up the camps and sawmills and moved on leaving them to be operated by the Newfoundlanders. The sawmills were set up all over the country where there was available timber, mainly in Scotland.
Remnants of the mill at Whitebridge, just north of the Wildside Centre was examined and photographed by Alasdair and featured in the presentation, where 35 people came to hear Alasdair’s fascinating talk. He included slides of the crowded boats that crossed the Atlantic, foresters in action, maps of camps and a historic newsreel. Many Newfies stayed and married local lassies.
Alasdair brought his collection of old axes (including double-bladed) and tools, and our own Alister Chisholm displayed his grandfather’s Board of Trade purchase order dating from 1946 for equipment from the Whitebridge sawmill. On display was the large circular saw blade and rollers from the bench.
A Newfoundland man living in Invergarry came to the talk and brought his father who had arrived in Scotland the previous day to visit his family. They added greatly to the discussions afterwards. It was good to hear the noisy hubbub of a live interactive meeting.
£210 in donations were made for the Disasters Emergency Committee (Ukraine)