The Aurora Borealis at St Abbs Head.
The Aurora Borealis at St Abbs Head.

Marking 70th anniversary of Dambusters Raid

SIR, - Between Sunday, May 12, and Saturday, May 18, 2013, I will be leading a coach party from Scotland to Lincolnshire, Holland and Germany to mark the 70th anniversary of the Dambusters Raid by 617 Squadron in 1943.

In Lincolnshire we will visit RAF Scampton, 617 Squadron’s base, where we will see Guy Gibson’s office and the Squadron museum. We will be staying in the hotel where 617 Squadron had its officers’ mess.

We will also visit the Battle of Britain Memorial flight base to see the Lancaster, Spitfires and Hurricanes, and will visit the Lincolnshire Aviation Centre to see a Lancaster bomber and the preserved airfield control tower.

We travel from Hull to Holland staying in Arnhem. In Holland we will visit the Hartenstein Arnhem museum, Guy Gibson’s grave at Steenbergen and the Reichswald Forest cemetery, where many of the Dambusters’ crews were buried, before we cross the Rhine to follow the Dambusters’ flightpath into Germany.

In Germany we will stay near the Mohne Dam and have a detailed look at the events and consequences of the raid.

Pick up points can be arranged to make things as easy as possible and we travel only during civilised hours of the day.

We have a few places left and I will be happy to give details to any of your readers if they contact me at Beach Cote, Golf House Road, Dunbar, East Lothian, EH42 1LS, telephone 01368 866826 or 07710270640.



Scotland must determine its own future

SIR, - Turn the page! Here comes another party political broadcast!

It was apt that in the very edition of the Berwickshire News (November 1) where your correspondent Mr Gordon Milne derided my plea for greater democracy, you had the headline ‘The “forgotten eastern Borders” find their voice’. Mr Milne suggests that an aggrieved person may take their complaint to their local councillor, then their MSP and then their MP. But with an independent government in Edinburgh there would be no need for reference to Westminster, because democracy would be closer to people in the Eastern Borders, and the rest of Scotland. So I want all of Scotland’s people to find their voice and determine their own future, not have it decided for them in London.

Since the Second World War many countries have become independent from dominant countries, and have had to deal with aspects of state which the ruling power formally decided. All have successfully resolved similar problems to those which Scotland would face, and not one of them wishes to re-join the old ruling power. I am not claiming that England is an oppressive ruling power; just that Scotland’s five million people struggle to compete against the demands of England’s 60 million.

By the way, my letters are mainly about independence, not the SNP. I will support any party which fights for Scottish independence – it just happens to be the SNP. Over 45% of the Berwickshire and Roxburgh constituency voters seem to agree as the SNP polled more votes than any other party in 2011.


Whitsome Crofts,


Photos sought for Coldstream exhibition

SIR, - During 2013, as part of the Flodden Commemoratiosn, the Coldstream Museum is mounting an exhibition about the work of Andrew and Robert Robb who, during the 1860s and 1870s operated a grocers and booksellers business in Coldstream High Street.

One of their special lines was to sell wooden souvenirs ‘Made of Wood Grown on Flodden Field’, and indeed they presented a copy of Sir Walter Scott’s Marmion, bound in Flodden Field Wood boards to Queen Victoria, during her 1867 visit to the Borders. This book will feature in the exhibition.

It has been possible to gather quite a lot of material about the Robbs, but we lack pictures of either of them.

Andrew died young at Coldstream in 1877, but had been superintendent of the Sabbath School and session clerk for the United Presbyterian East Church, secretary of the Border Horticulturists Show and a member of the masonic lodge - is it possible that the records of any of these institutions hold early photographs of him?

His younger brother Robert, was a grocer in Lowick after his brother died, then lived in Tweedmouth (1901), Crieff (1911) but ended his life in Glasgow in 1915, aged 83.

If anyone can help with photographs of either of the Robbs, please contact Jane Bowen 01668 219653/boward@hotmail.co.uk


4 Byers Close,


Tombola success

SIR, - May I use your letters page to say a big thank you on behalf of the Berwick and Eastern Borders Branch MS Society to everyone who helped us raise £120 when we held a tombola at the Charities Fair in Duns on Saturday, November 24. Thanks to all who donated prizes, to the ladies who gave up their time to run the stall and of course to all those who came along on the day and stopped at the stall to try their luck. Many thanks for your continued support to our branch. The funds raised will be used to help those with MS and their families and carers in our branch area.



Berwick and Eastern Borders MS Society.

Lifeboat concert

SIR, - On behalf of the members of the Burnmouth RNLI Branch I would like to say a big thank you to The Podlies and Eyemouth lifeboat crew for the fantastic entertainment at the concert last Friday. The excellent sum of £368 was raised. Thanks to those who donated raffle prizes and all who helped on the night and to the great audience. The Lifeboat Crew had hoped to launch their CD that evening. Unfortunately this was not quite ready but will be very soon. We are all looking forward to its release as they are all in fine voice. Once again thank you all.



Young pipers sought

Sir - We are keen to encourage schools in your area to take part in the first Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships which are due to take place on March 10 next year at Broughton High School in Edinburgh. The idea of the competition is to provide an event for established and new bands to compete in what should be an inspiring event. The championships are being run with the blessing of the Royal Sscottish Pipe Band Association but is not one of their official events. The association has also kindly agreed to waive its rules on membership to allow young players registered with a non-school band to play for their school at this competition. Already over 20 schools from across the country have signed up to take part in this new initiative which will become an annual event. We would like schools with even just four pipers on their roll to consider participating it what will be an enjoyable and rewarding day. More details can be found at www.scottishschoolspipeband championships.com. Every school needs a pipe band.



Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships.

Band night for Peru

SIR, - On behalf of all the Berwickshire students who are going to Peru next summer with the Vine Trust I would like to thank everyone who supported the band night on Saturday, December 1, at the Eildon Centre, Coldstream. A special thanks to ‘One Day I’ll be a Walrus’, Sammy Reed, Easter Street and DJ Jake who all gave up their time to perform. Thanks too to Donald Moffat and The Eildon Centre for providing the venue, to all the helpers on the night and to all the people who came and contributed to the grand total of £655.

This money will go towards the Vine Trust’s work with orphaned children in Peru.