1871 Courier & Argus

Monday, 10th April.


On Saturday afternoon two boys belonging t the Mars Training Ship made their escape. As relatives and friends of the boys were allowed the privilege of seeing them in the afternoon, a large number assembled on Woodhaven Pier in order to meet them. A boat containing about thirty boys left the Mars shortly after four o’clock under the charge of an officer. After a short stay they returned to the vessel, when it was discovered that two of the boys who went ashore with the boat had not returned. Three officers belonging to the Mars rowed back to the pier immediately and made a search for the missing youths, but were, as far as we can learn, unsuccessful in their efforts.


1871 Friday, July 21st.

Dundee Advertiser


To the Editor

    Sir, The boy Murdoch McLeod fell overboard from the port gangway this morning, when with great presence of mind one of his comrades, Peter McKenna, seized the lifebuoy, leapt overboard, and swam to his assistance. Both boys were picked up none the worse for their ducking. McKenna is about to join the merchant service, and kindly give the occurrence publicity; and I cannot refrain from taking this opportunity of expressing my admiration of the kind and manly hearts of my young charges, as evidenced by constant acts of brotherly love towards each other and daring in their necessarily hazardous training.

               I am &c.,

               Chas Scott, Captain Superintendent, Mars, 19th July ‘71

(Considering the height of the Mars from the water, and the strong tide running, this act of Peter McKenna is one of no ordinary gallantry. Peter has long been one of the best lads on board the ship. – Ed. D.A.)


1871 Courier & Argus

Monday, 24th July.



On the same course as last year… From one o’clock until four or five in the afternoon the ferry boats that left Craig Harbour every half-hour were crammed with passengers for the Newport side, and by the time of starting the first race – three o’clock – the south bank of the river from Woodhaven Pier to opposite the Commodore’s barge, was thickly clad with spectators, there being several thousands across Dundee. The water was also studded with small craft, some of them with precious cargoes of ladies on board, pulling about and enjoying the double pleasure of witnessing the races and a sail at the same time. At one time there were no less than 100 boats on the water along the course, and, although their presence was very desirable, as they enlivened the scene, considerable annoyance was felt by their crowding unduly on the course, in more than one instance the competing boats having to steer their way through them… The barge was then steered to her mooring ground a little bit east of Newport, and at three o’clock a flag hoisted from the Mars intimated that the race had begun, the boys having left in the cutters.



…pulled by boys from the Mars Training Ship in the Mars cutters. Entered – 1st Cutter, 2d Cutter, and 3rd Lifeboat.

…In each of the boats were 10 oarsmen and a coxswain. After leaving the ship to-gether, the boats pulled in-shore, to get out of the current, and for some time little progress was made, but after getting in to quieter water, the boys wrought away admirably. The 1st cutter gradually crept ahead of the other two, followed closely, however, by the lifeboat, which had left the 2nd cutter about a boat astern. These positions being once taken, were kept throughout, and the first cutter passed the barge in good style at twenty minutes past three, followed in ten seconds by the second cutter. The boys were loudly cheered on pulling alongside, the Mars brass band, which was on board the barge, playing up, “See the Conquering Hero Comes.”

    The names of the winning crew are:-

Henry Smith (stroke), Alexander Hepburn, William Alexander, John Braid, John Aitken, Peter Potts, James Graham, William Donnachie, Alexander Fletcher, Colin Harris (Bow), and David Hawthorn (Coxswain).

2nd Race started at 3.15pm, pulled by boys from the Mars, in the Mars gig.

Entered – 1st Gig, 2nd Gig.

This was a six-oared race in the Mars gigs.

…In the winning boat were – William Matthews (stroke), George Jenkins, William Oram, Peter Fairfoul, James Morrison (Bow), with Peter McKenna as Coxswain. Silver medals will be given to the crews of the winning boats.



1871 Courier & Argus

Friday, 22nd September.


The Mars boys were entertained to a pleasure trip to Edinburgh yesterday by the Edinburgh Committee of the Institution. The object of the excursion was to let the boys be seen, and to encourage the sending of boys to the vessel. After leaving the Mars, and reaching the shore, the boys, to the number of 134, were accommodated in carts kindly furnished by Mr Kay, farmer, Flask, and were driven from Woodhaven to Tayport, where they got the train for Edinburgh. The boys were in charge of their instructors, and were accompanied by Captain Scott, Mr Burnett, a number of the Executive Committee, and Mr Jack, the secretary of the Institution. On reaching Edinburgh, the boys were marched to the Temperance Saloon on the George IV Bridge, where an excellent breakfast had been provided for them. They then proceeded to the Castle, the band playing various airs in the course of the march. After enjoying the sights of the Castle, the boys next visited the Gymnasium at the foot of Leith Walk, where they were most kindly entertained by Mr Coxe, the proprietor of the exhibition. Much amusement and recreation was enjoyed in the grounds, and here the boys spent a couple of hours. They next marched in procession through a number of the principal streets. On returning to the Sinclair Cooking Depot, they were entertained to an excellent dinner, and here a number of ladies and gentlemen belonging to Edinburgh had assembled to see them…We understand that the expense of this handsome entertainment is to be defrayed by the friends in Edinburgh. The boys left Edinburgh by the 4pm train, and on their arrival at Leuchars they were again seated in carts, provided by Mr Kay, and driven to Woodhaven. Mr Kay deserves the utmost praise for his kindness. Excursions of this kind cannot fail to popularise the institution on board the Mars, besides proving of great moral and physical benefit to the lads themselves.


1871 Courier & Argus

Monday 2nd October.


On Saturday the Earl of Kintore visited the Mars Training Ship, in company with the general members of the Committee. After having inspected the vessel, the boys were assembled together and addressed by His Lordship, who spoke to them simply and shortly on their duties in this life and the life which is to come. He also at the conclusion of his address promised that he would give a prize to the boy who displayed the greatest proficiency in gun drill. Captain Dougall thanked His Lordship on behalf of the Committee for his kindness in visiting the institution, and also for his promised prize to the boys. On leaving for the shore the boys gave three hearty cheers for the Earl and the Committee. The brass band on board the Mars played several airs during the day.


1871 Courier & Argus

Wednesday, 11th October.


We understand that a portion (about 120) of the boys on board the “Mars” Training Ship at Dundee are expected to visit Aberdeen to-day (Wed)…


1871 Courier & Argus

Thursday, 12th October.


…The boys, under the direction of Captain Scott, having been formed into marching order, followed the Industrial School detachment, by the way of St Nicholas Street and John Street, to the school in Skene Square. The Industrial School fife band and the brass band of the Mars boys played alternatively during the way, the very creditable music of the latter being much admired by a considerable crowd who had assembled along the route. After which the boys marched by Skene Square, Skene Street, and Albyn Place to Union Street, down to Castle Street, Marischal Street, round the docks, West Market Street, and to the Institution by the Denburn…After a sumptuous dinner in the dining hall…The boys then marched to the Station Hall, and left by the 4.50 train. The Industrial School boys accompanied them to the station.


1871 Friday, October 13th.

Glasgow Herald

On Wednesday, 130 of the boys belonging to the Mars Training Ship in the Tay were treated to an excursion to Aberdeen.