Memories of Dundee - Part Five

Just before the war, roundabout 1937/38, my Uncle Jack, my Dad's brother, bought a hut sited in on the 'Downs Poultry Farm' simply known as 'The Downs'' between Monifieth and Carnoustie, near Barry. There were a few other huts situated there, probably about a dozen or so. Nearby to the site was a military camp associated with a convalescence building (I think) called the Soldiers Home. We regularly spent weekends or sometimes longer at 'The Downs' as did many others from Dundee when they had a few days off.

My sister, May, was an elocutionist and there was a concert being held at the 'Soldiers Home', May was invited to perform and we were invited along as were several others from 'The Downs' and roundabout. I remember seeing the convalescing soldiers dressed in their blue suits, white shirts and red ties. One of the performers, who stays in my mind, was a soldier, wearing his full dress jacket with bright silver buttons and white braid and wearing tartan trews. I'd never seen anything like it before. Apart from this the song he sang involved quite a lot of yodelling and this was entirely new to me and I was fascinated. It was during that visit that I saw my first ever aeroplane on the ground. We weren't allowed close to it, but I remember it being a bi-plane. It may have been a Tiger Moth or a Gladiator, which were bi-planes, still being used until the early years of the war.

The aeroplane conveniently leads me to another 'Downs' memory. While on holiday there, my sister May and I went to the cinema in Carnoustie (I think it was called The Regal) along with a family friend Ronnie Anderson, who was visiting. We went to see 'Rosalie' a Cole Porter musical. The eponymous heroine of the film was in fact an aeroplane. (I think the forerunner of the Douglas Dokota transport, widely used during the war). One of the songs from the film was 'In the still of the night' which was a love song and very popular. When we came out of the cinema and heading for the bus stop, Ronnie was singing the song when we were approached by a soldier from the camp rather 'under the influence' who said "I'll give you a ha'penny if you sing that song." Ron said he only new the first line but that was enough for the soldier so Ron was given a ha'penny.


Submitted by Walter Blacklaw