1880 8th January

(Minute Books)

 Report by Admiral Dougall, as visiting member of the ship, for the month read. – The report bore that boy John Hay appeared to be dying of consumption and too far gone to be sent ashore. Also Captain Scott had found that boy Abbott could not be controlled by moderate punishment – and that he, Admiral Dougall had sanctioned his being in the cells for a fortnight.


While they were searching for bodies from the fall of the Tay Railway bridge –

1880 January 14th.

(Dundee Advertiser)


 Yesterday afternoon the body of a Mars boy who was drowned while stepping into a boat at the ship on a stormy night some weeks ago was found in the Tay. While the ferry steamer was about half across on its way to Dundee between four and five o’clock Stewart Carrie, who was at the wheel, observed the body. The vessel was at once stopped and a boat manned by two of the crew and three passengers put off and recovered the remains of the poor lad, which were taken to the Deadhouse, Dundee. Deceased’s name was William Young. He was 15 years of age.


1880 Tuesday, May 11th.

Aberdeen Weekly Journal


 In the Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday, Mr C.F. Runcy, Procurator-Fiscal, presented a petition to Sheriff Comrie Thomson praying his Lordship to send to the Mars Training Ship two boys named Joseph Johnston, aged 12 years; and Charles Johnston, aged 11 years, who has been found wandering about without proper guardianship. Their father is dead, and their mother, who is A.W. Dow, works at the mill, and the boys were quite beyond control. The Sheriff ordered the boys to be sent to the Mars.


1880 Tuesday, 25th May

Courier & Argus


 Edward Connelly (12) was sent to the Mars Training Ship on the application of his friends. It was stated that the applicant was an orphan, the youngest of a family of four, all of whom were working and doing well, but Edward had already begun to take a downward road.


1880 Friday, 9th July.

Courier & Argus



– a recruit for the Mars – in the Police Court yesterday – before Bailie Perrie – a boy named Michael Murdoch, 11 years old, from Lochee, was brought up to be dealt with under the Industrial Schools Act. It was stated that his mother was dead, and that his father had left Lochee, where he had lived till within a week past, to seek employment, and his whereabouts was not then known. Before his father left he turned the boy out of the house and left him in a destitute condition. His step sister, Mrs Robertson, took the boy to her home in Lochee Road and gave him shelter, but she was not able to support him, as her husband was idle. The boy refused to attend a Roman Catholic school, at her father’s bidding, but she said he was willing to go to any other school. Before the case had proceeded, for it was stated that Martin Murdoch, the boy’s father had turned up, and was waiting outside the Court. He was accordingly called in, and stated that the boy was beyond his control, and would be obliged if his Honour would send him away. The Bailie – Why did you leave him destitute?

Martin – I went to look for work, but I was not far away; I was only at Monifieth. Inspector McLeod stated that he had heard several complaints from neighbours about the boy’s conduct, and he believed he had been very much neglected since his mother’s death. He had spoken to his father on the subject, and his father said the boy would not stop in the house at night. The father was a steady man, but he had been out of work for some time. The boy said that his objection to go to school was because his father, who was Roman Catholic, wanted him to attend a Roman Catholic School, and that he would not go there. Mr Dewar remarked that the father had a right to control his son’s religious education.

Murdoch – That’s it, Mr Dewar; I wish him to go to the place where he belongs to.

Mrs Robertson, the boy’s step-sister, said that the boy was put out by his father, when she took him in. The boy would not go to a Roman Catholic school for his father, but was willing to go to any other school. After some consultation the boy was sent to the Mars for 4 years.


1880 (Minute Book)

Minute of August 5th…400 boys now to be the number for Mars via memorial from Committee to Secretary of State, on the express condition that the minimum age be 12 years as in other training ships.

1880 Courier & Argus

Friday, 22nd August.



In the Police Court yesterday – before Bailie Perrie – Peter Flynn (13), residing with his mother in Dudhope Crescent, was brought before the Court as an applicant for the Mars. It was stated that his mother had been a widow for three years; she was employed in a mill and earned 8/- a week. She and three of a family altogether, and had up to about two months ago been in receipt of Parochial relief. Peter could read and write, but he would not work, he associated with thieves, stayed out at night, and abused his mother. A few days ago he was before the Police Court charged with assaulting his mother, but the case broke down as his mother made a mistake about the date. Mr Edward, Parochial Inspector, said that when the boy was before the Court for assault he should have been punished. The Parochial Board objected to his being sent to the Mars. He was before the Court some time ago. And at that time he was warned if he was brought back again he would be punished, and he thought he should now be dealt with in that way. Mr James Scrymgeour, Prison Aid Society, said the boy’s conduct was getting worse and worse. He had spoken to Father Holder about him, but he defied the priest, and he believed that he was beyond the control of every one, and required the discipline of the Mars to tame him. He was a terrible fellow; he would not work, and demanded his meat from his mother, and when she refused he broke and smashed the furniture and everything within his reach. His mother said that was quite true, and she was unable to support him.

Mr Edward said the boy should be fairly dealt with under the statute. He ought to be punished, and he saw no reason why the rod should not be applied to his back. Evidently he had got too little out of that.

Mr Scrymgeour said the law was merciful, and it provided Industrial Schools and reformatories to reclaim offenders. Nothing would control that boy, not even the Catholic priest. (A laugh.)

    The boy who was crying and wiping his eyes with the back of his hand, blubbered out that he would go and work half time, and would never come back again, and if he did they could punish him.

Mr Scrymgeour – This is the fourth time he has been here.

Assessor – Is he associating with reputed thieves?

Mr Scrymgeour – The very worst.

Boy – I only went to see them one day.

Mother – Yes, he does. He goes with them always.

Boy – Please Sir, if you let me away this time you may punish me any way you like if I come back.

A constable who knew the boy, said that he had often seen him in the company of thieves. Mr Edward requested the case to be continued till he could bring it before the Parochial Committee. After some consideration, however, the Magistrate ordered the boy to be sent to the Mars. The mother thanked the Magistrate and said she was much obliged.

The bad character of this boy seemed to be at odds with the Mars ethos, and on checking the Admission book it would seem his application may have been refused by the management of the ship. G.D.


1880 Friday, 17th September

Courier & Argus


Prizes – 1st Prize – General good conduct and progress in seamanship and school (compass and book) Robert Weatherston

General good conduct and progress in band (concertina) Alfred Fenning.

Progress in school – 1st class – A. Mcleod; 2nd W. Effingham; 3rd A. Walker; 4th F. Monaghan; 5th J. Suttie; 6th Wm. Smith

Progress in band – 1st class - W. Donahoe; 2nd R. Paterson.

Progress in seamanship – 1st class - B. Gibbon; 2nd J. McGregor.

Progress in swimming – 1st class - J. Gardiner, D. Brown, M. Judge.

Progress in gymnastics 1st class - J. Stewart; 2nd J. Gardiner; 3rd J. Burns.

Best Coxswain of a boat – J. McNally

Librarian – A.R. Tait.


1880 Courier & Argus

Saturday, 18th December.


A deputation from Newport Dorcas Society waited on Captain Scott yesterday, and presented the Institution with a complete set of furnishings for the sick room, also a quantity of valuable needlework for relative purposes, which add greatly to the comfort of delicate boys. This generous movement was originated by Misses Adie and Holden and other ladies. A sum of £15 19 6d was collected by shillings contributions in the village of Newport, where the Mars boys are frequently seen, and their good behaviour much appreciated. Captain Scott rendered his best thanks to the deputation, and assured them the Management Committee would be greatly pleased on this handsome donation being

communicated to them.