| George Melville 1875 - 1952
The early information I have about my Grandparents, Uncles and Aunts, other than the later family research I carried out involving dates and events, is mostly from my mother. It is recorded as part of my remembered diary of which this is a small section. My mother, Annie Isabella Fraser Melville (Lannon), had a great memory and collected in her head information from many sources. Her contribution to oral history cannot be over emphasised and her availability to family members for family details over many decades is renowned. She knew the birth, marriage or death date of about every relative and much more besides. A great deal of information that would have been lost forever was gleaned from her parents, siblings and cousins. Being the youngest in a family of nine and the carer for her parents in their later years she was, as well as an observant individual, a family confidant to parents and older siblings. She knew things about family most of her siblings did not!
The main purpose of this booklet is to record some detail about my grandfather George Melville known often as Geordie Candy. This nickname or bye-name appears to originate during his early years in the Doll when it was said he enthusiastically ran to the small shop to ask for Candy. He clearly had a sweet tooth!
George’s early years are not well documented but it is
certain that he took employment on the land from a
relatively young age in Doll, Clyne being recorded as Farm
Servant at the age of 15 years of age in the 1891 census. During those early
years in Doll he resided with his mother and her parents at
the family croft. Prior to taking up this employment it is
clear that he had a good schooling and he produced a good
legible hand when required to write. Later he worked at
Inverbrora Farm and was resident and working there when he
married Annie Ross on 21st July 1898 in
first child was legitimised by a hurried marriage he did, in
fact, already have a son to an Annie Murray at Ladiesloch. This son called
George, presumably after the father, was born on 23rd July
1897 and died unmarried in
Annie had their first born in Doll and probably in the house
in which he was born. Indeed
the first four children Alexandrina, David George, Christina
Fraser and Janettus were all born in the Doll croft house.
The next four children, John Fraser, William Fraser, Cecil
Alexander and Cathel Sutherland, were born in Murray
Buildings, Golspie. This
residence was just off
Sometime after his marriage and possibly at about the time of his move to Murray Buildings, Golspie George started work for Morrison’s the bakers. He delivered bread and other goods by horse and cart for the business. This business survived in Golspie until its demise in 1995.
employment was not to last long at Morrison's due to him
returning to his former occupation as a Ploughman but this
time at Culmaily Farm south of Golspie. This post too was
relatively short-lived with the intervention of the First
World War and having 10 years experience with the 1st
Sutherland Rifle Volunteers from 1898 to 1908 he volunteered
for duty initially joining the 2/5th Battalion Seaforth
date of joining was 27th January 1915 and George's British
Army Pension Record, in addition to his Army record,
confirms that before joining the Seaforths he was indeed a
member of the 1st Sutherland Volunteers for 10 years. A
further entry on the record indicates that he had already
resigned from the Volunteers after his 10 years of service
so his move to full time solider was not consecutive with
his local service.
time defence role was to last for less than two years. After initial
training and service at home and in Saffron Walden, on 25
September 1916 he was sent to Guildford Barracks, Sandwich,
Family tradition had suggested that George had been a Military Policeman during his Army service. David Bews, Thurso, an expert on matters military states that the Military Police as such did not exist at that time. What did exist was the Military Foot Police under the Provost Marshal. It may have been that someone saw he was in the 3rd Prov Bn and assumed that it was the 3rd Provost Battalion i.e. Police. An alternative possibility is that he was used guarding Home (UK) installations and also used as escorting prisoners, deserters and even wounded to and from locations. In most cases it was the ordinary army soldier and not the MFP who were sent to escorts and those and those came from home battalions like the Provisional Battalions.
In the picture above and the group one below George is shown carrying cane and in the lower photograph dressed in trousers and having a braided cord from his shoulder to a pocket. Army expert David Bews explains those items of uniform and it is best to present the information as received from him.
'In the group photo he is not wearing a kilt. It was usual for those not going to the front line ie 1st Bn, to wear trousers. The braid around his shoulder is probably tied of to a whistle or knife.
What he has in the two photos is a “walking out stick” also known as a “swagger stick”. These go back centuries and the reasons for their introductions are varied. The official reason (British Army and Marines) are…
When leaving Barracks that all soldiers would carry a swagger stick which prevented the soldiers from putting their hands in their pockets when off duty. The problem with this is, a) they had two hands and only one stick, b) that back before the kakhi uniforms they did not have front pockets in their uniforms and lastly, c) when carrying the stick in the right arm it prevented a soldier from saluting an officer.
The main reason they carried them
stemmed from being posted to
Upon his return to Sutherland George took up the employment on the land. He worked at Culmaily Farm firstly as a farm servant and then as a ploughman. It would appear to be at this time that the family moved from Murray Buildings to the farm cottage at Culmaily. This cottage was, as noted earlier, one of a block of three situated at the turn in the A9 trunk road just to the south of Drummuie Farm. The building is still there but now instead of housing three large families it is a single summer home for a visiting family.
The picture below left shows George Melville with his wife Annie and daughter Annie taken at Culmaily. Look carefully at the right hand side of this picture and you will see a face looking through the bushes - this is son, Cathel! The picture to the right is also taken at Culmaily and shows George with some members of his family. From left to right they are Annie, Cathel, Alexandrina, Cecil and, of course, his wife Annie (ms Fraser). The motorbike, it is thought, belonged to Alexandrina's husband, Charlie Wilson.
George's home at Culmaily was the end property in a small block of three situated on the left hand side of the main road to the south from Golspie and about half a mile past the entrance to Drummuie farm. George and family occupied the end nearest to Culmaily Farm and it comprised a livingroom kitchen with adjoining curtained of bedroom for him and wife, Annie. The children slept in the attic area which ran along above their part of the building and over part of the central house to the midpoint chimney. The other end house was of similar dimensions leaving the middle house with a small ground floor only.
Melville was ploughman at Culmaily for 21 years but in 1939
he had to give up work there due to illness. He had suffered a
burst ulcer while at work in the fields. He was taken to
wife, Annie, died at Golspie on 14th January 1944. She was ill for a
time and their daughter, my mother, Annie Isabella, returned
from the WRENS in
This is not the place for a detailed biography of George's family, spouses and their children but the brief mention of them below might serve to put George and them in the context of the whole Golspie Melville 'Clan'.
Two of George
and Annie’s daughters, Alexandrina and Christina, trained as
Melville, extreme right, in this photograph taken at the
marriage of my parents in Dingwall in 1945. Also in the photo,
left to right, Joey Melville (ms Angus, Castletown), David
Melville (Castletown), Barbara Melville, David George
Melville (Wordie), Don Melville and Mary Melville (ms
journey south of Inverness, in the early 1950s was to
Chrissie and Alex were very fond of
Dalry was a very different accommodation. A rather dingy flat in an equally unattractive vicinity though with the area now cleared and new housing built the effect is quite different. I remember the less than impressive entrance to the block with its drab walls and shabby appearance. The flats were built round balconies or galleries on an open central area. The flat inside was little better and though obviously kept clean and tidy by my Aunt the walls had the yellow coating of nicotine produced by years of smoking by my Aunt Alex and husband Charlie. I say husband though, in fact, no marriage has ever been found for the couple. Were they unmarried or was there a simple error made in not having their marriage recorded? - there is not much more searching that can be done so we may never know!
son, David George commonly known as George and often by the
bye-name Wordie, served his time as a mason with Moore the
builder in Golspie. In
the mid to late 1930s he joined the company of Wordies, from
whence he got his nickname, and drove their delivery horse
and cart taking goods to shops in the Golspie area. He later joined
the railway and worked at Golspie and Brora stations. One job he had was
to go by bike, possibly moped or scooter, to the
married Jessie Sutherland and had a family of six. They occupied
fourth child and second son, generally known to all as
Neddie or the 'Big Fellow', worked at Dunrobin Farm having
first tried his hand at mental nursing. He went south with
his sisters who thought that such a career would suit him. However, he was
not happy and the strain of working with disturbed patients
of about his own age upset him. He returned to
Golspie to take up work as a mason firstly with
Though Neddie was well known and respected in the construction world it is through his work with the voluntary fire service that he is best known. He was firemaster in Golspie for many years and very much involved in the community work carried out by the local fire service. The parties for young and old started in the early fifties at his time with the service still provide an excellent Christmas outing for young children and senior citizens. Though they may not be as socially necessary now as they were in the early days, when such occasions were few and far between, they are nevertheless appreciated by the community.
Neddie was sent for by neighbours when their chimneys went on fire. He was on hand to give advice and decide whether or not the whole brigade should be called. My mother was always worried about a chimney fire and I can only recall it happening once. The fire burnt fiercely and I had to run for Neddie. The chimney breast cracked and the noise upstairs was very loud. However, Neddie was of the opinion that in time the flames would die down without further action. They did but not before a period of great anxiety.
married Mary Sutherland but had no family. He resided at
Melville, the fifth child, married Lucy Alexander in
Visits to the Mound, by bus and occasionally by train, were a highlight. The wooded area was excellent for all sorts of games and there was complete freedom to play from the shores of the Fleet to the lower slopes of the Mound Rock. Trains were few and far between and road traffic very light.
two butchers in the family, William Fraser Melville and
Cathel Sutherland Melville.
William worked as a butcher for Cameron of Kirkton,
Grants of Dornoch and Ardgay Butchers. He lived in Dornoch
with his wife, Nellie, and brought up four children. Cathel the, second
youngest, also worked for Cameron, Kirkton. He married Joey
Angus from Castletown,
Alexander was the last of the family to marry and leave the
family home. He
wed Jessie Alexander in 1949 and lived in Golspie at various
addresses. The Neuk, behind houses on
Annie Lannon (ms Melville), ninth child in the family, had a
number of jobs over the years. She worked for O M Fraser in
his shop after leaving school and for a time in the Golf
Links Hotel for a couple of owners. Her main
occupation was cleaning and she was employed at a number of
private houses over the years including the Church Manse on
Second World War Annie volunteered for the WRENS and was
accepted for service in
Significant Dates in the life of George Melville, 1875 - 1952
Date Address Occup. Age Source
26/12/1875 Doll, Clyne Birth Birth Cert
1881 Doll, Clyne Scholar 5 Census
1891 Doll, Clyne Farm Servant 15 Census
23/07/1897 Doll, Clyne Ploughman 21 Birth Cert. of
Illeg. Son born George Murray Melville, illeg., son
at Ladiesloch to Annie Murray
1898 - 1908 1st Sutherland 22 - 32 Army Record
21/07/1898 Inverbrora Farm Ploughman 22 Marriage Cert.
30/11/1898 Doll, Clyne Ploughman 22 Alexandrina's
05/12/1900 Doll, Clyne Ploughman 24 David George's
1901 Doll, Clyne Ploughman 24 Census
27/05/1903 Doll, Clyne Ploughman 26 Christina's
04/11/1905 Doll, Clyne Farm Servant 29 Janettus's
Sometime between 1905 and 1910 George and Family moved from Doll, Clyne to Murray Buildings,
For a time after moving to Golspie George worked for Morrisons, Bakers delivering goods.
22/01/1910 Golspie, Sutherland General Labourer 34 John Fraser's
27/05/1911 Main Street, Golspie Ploughman 36 William's
Murray Buildings Birth Cert.
01/09/1913 Main Street, Golspie Ploughman 38 Cecil's
Murray Buildings Birth Cert.
26/11/1914 Main Street, Golspie Ploughman 39 Cathel's
Murray Buildings Birth Certificate
1915 - 1916
Sometime between late 1916 and March 1923 George and Family moved to Culmaily, Golspie
23/03/1923 Culmaily, Golspie Ploughman 47 Annie's
1939 Culmaily, Golspie Ploughman 63 Family Info.
Burst Stomach Ulcer
about 1939/40 onwards until retirement gravedigger/caretaker
at Golspie Cemetery. By April 1940 back
in Golspie at
02/12/1952 Main Street, Golspie Retired Ploughman 76 Death Cert.
George Melville's 'Vital Statistics' according to his Army Record
Age 38 years
Height 5 feet 10 inches
Hair Colour Black
Eye Colour Brown
Girth fully expanded 40 inches Range of expansion 2 inches
Physical Development Very Good
Census Results for George Melville
Doll, Clyne, Sutherland
Relationship Condition Sex Age Occup. Born
Sutherland, Alexander Head Married M 70 Crofter Clyne
Sutherland, Janet Wife Married F 65 Golspie
Sutherland, Catherine Daughter Unmarried F 26 Dom. Serv. Golspie
Melville, George Grandson M 5 Scholar Clyne
Doll, Clyne, Sutherland
Sutherland, Janet Head Widow F 80 Crofter (Ret.) Clyne
Sutherland, Catherine Daughter Unmarried F 35 Gen. Serv. Clyne
Melville, George Grandson Unmarried M 15 Farm Serv. Clyne
It should be noted that the 1891census is in error regarding the Birth Place of both Janet and Catherine. This should be Golspie.
Doll, Clyne, Sutherland
Sutherland, Catherine Head Single F 45 Crofter Clyne
Melville, George Son Married M 24 Ploughman Clyne
Melville, Annie Dau-in-Law Married F 24 Creich
Melville, Alexandrina Granddaughter F 2 Clyne
Melville, David George Grandson M 4 mths Clyne
It should be noted that the 1901 census is in error regarding the Birth Place of Catherine. This should be Golspie.
Melville, George Head Married M 36 Ploughman Clyne
Melville, Annie Fraser Wife Married F 35 Clyne
Melville, Alexandrina Daughter Unmarried F 12 Scholar Clyne
Melville, David George Son Unmarried M 10 Scholar Clyne
Melville, Christina Fraser Daughter Unmarried F 7 Scholar Clyne
Melville, Janettus Son Unmarried M 5 Clyne
Melville, John Fraser Son Unmarried M 1 Golspie
George Melville Birth, Death and Marriage Certificates
Birth - 26th December 1875
George Melville (Illegitimate) born 26th December 1875 in Doll, Clyne, Father John Melville, Ploughman, and Mother Catherine Sutherland, Single, Domestic Servant. Record signed by Catherine Sutherland and the father John Melville, Strathsteven, Golspie. Birth registered on 27th January 1876. It is interesting to note that John Melville, Strathsteven, accepted paternity and signed the register.
Marriage - 21st July 1898
Married after the Banns according to the to the forms of the Free Church on the 21st July 1898 at Netherwood, Inverness George Melville, aged 22 years, Farm Servant, Batchelor, and Annie Fraser, aged 22 years, Domestic Servant, Spinster. Address for both given as Inverbrora Farm, Clyne. George's father John Melville, Ploughman, and Catherine Sutherland, Domestic Servant. Annie's parents John Ross, Crofter, and Christine Fraser, Domestic Servant. Marriage Witnesses - James McIntosh and Maggie Fraser. Marriage registered the following day, 22nd July 1898.
The marriage was most likely performed at
the East Church Manse, Netherwood the service taken by Allan
Cameron, Minister of the Free Church, Netherwood,
Death - 2nd December 1952
George Melville, retired Ploughman,
Widower of Ann Fraser, died 2nd December 1952 at
George Melville's Army Record