1881 Tuesday, April 19th.

Aberdeen Weekly Journal



At the Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday named Robert Mathieson and John Anderson, both 12 years of age, were, on the petition of Mr C.F. Runcy, sent by Sheriff Thomson to the Mars Training Ship.



In the Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday – Sheriff Comrie Thomson on the bench – Mr C.F. Runcy, Deputy-Procurator-Fiscal, presented a petition, craving that Walter Cooper, age 12 years, residing in West North Street, Aberdeen, and Edward Thomson, aged 13 years, residing in Hill (?) School, Aberdeen, should be sent to an industrial school, they having been found wandering without proper guardianship. From the evidence it appeared that the boys would not go to school and the guardianship having expressed a desire that the boys should be sent to the Mars Training Ship at Dundee, the Sheriff granted Warrant for their detention therein until they attain the age of 16 years.


1881 Thursday, May 26th.

Dundee Advertiser



The boys on board the Mars Training Ship, who have been for some time under training by Mr Cunningham, the gymnastic and drill instructor, held a fete yesterday. At six o’clock twenty boys in neat and smart uniforms, and singing “Nancy Lee,” were led in processional ordered to the scene of operations by Mr Cunningham. After being drawn up in order they, in answer to command, showed with what smartness they could make use of the escalading apparatus, which consisted of rope, pole, plank, slanting ladder, and back boards. The next formed up and marched, singing “Grandfather’s Clock,” the band accompanying. Some very clever and pleasing feats on the hand rings followed, performed by Mr Cunningham and eight of his pupils. Two boys next engaged in a trial of great dexterity. The whole of the twenty boys were then drawn up in order, and having marched, singing “Annie Laurie,” they engaged in dumb bell exercises, keeping time to the music of the band. In cutlass drill twelve boys were engaged, and exhibited considerable ability in the wielding of that weapon. High and long jumping and somersault throwing proved very exciting, and in these the boys exhibited some splendid work. Two of the smallest next showed some smart work at double stick; and with an interesting display by Mr Cunningham and eight boys on the parallel bars the first part of the programme was concluded. A short interval having elapsed, Indian club exercise was carried on by the whole of the boys, exercise was carried on by the whole of the boys, every movement being made to keep time to the “Snow Wreath Waltz,” played by the band. A bout at single stick by two lads’ and some admirable exercises on the parallel bars were followed by some very pretty and interesting movements with wands, the boys meanwhile marching and singing  “The Boatie Rows.” An old English game, quarter-staff, between Mr Cunningham and another officer was next witnessed, and was followed by jumping and vaulting by the boys over a wooden horse. Several other exercises having been performed, the gymnastics were concluded by a tug-of-war – first between lads, six a-side, and next between ten small boys, five-a-side. The sides being pretty equally matched, the struggles were stiff and exciting, and finished amid great applause. All then sang, in the praise of their conductor. “He’s a jolly good fellow.” “Auld Langsyne” and “God Save the Queen,” sung by the company, brought the proceedings to a close. The sports were held on the second deck, which had been nicely arranged, and they were witnessed by many friends of the Institution. The entertainment will be given in the Kinnaird Hall next week.



1881 Dundee Advertiser

Friday, 3rd June.


     The other day when a soldier was drowned in the river Forth at Stirling a lad named George Murray Kidd, who had come from the Mars Training Ship at Dundee, and is now in the Castle at Stirling, displayed praiseworthy courage and self-sacrifice in endeavouring to save the unfortunate soldier, and indeed was the means of saving another man from drowning. A number of soldiers were bathing in the river, and Kidd, who, from his training on the Mars, was a capital swimmer, was in their midst. One of the soldiers got beyond his depth, and called for assistance, but the assistance rendered was insufficient to get him ashore, and he sank in a deep pool. The lad Kidd made several unsuccessful attempts to raise the body; and latterly his attention was called to another soldier, who was sinking in another part of the river. Here his movements were very judicious and careful, and by giving the soldier a “pick” on the back of his head he was sent ashore, and then landed on the bank, insensible and apparently drowned. It was some time ere he came round, and he had to be conveyed to the Castle. The lad Kidd certainly saved his life, and his conduct deserves the attention of the Humane Society.





Dundee Advertiser, Saturday, June 11th 1881.

Yesterday afternoon and evening the boys belonging to the Mars Training Ship gave a gymnastic and musical entertainment in the Kinnaird Hall, Dundee. The performances were in aid of the Tender fund, and it is to be regretted that the attendance of the public was so meagre. Not only was the object a laudable one, but the proceedings were of a very good indication of how the boys who are committed to Captain Scott’s care in the Mars are trained. Mr W. Cunningham, the instructor, is a most accomplished gymnast, and that he has been remarkably successful in teaching the boys was abundantly manifest in the ease and grace with which the lads executed difficult feats. The importance of such exercises in schools cannot be too highly esteemed, and it may be mentioned that since Mr Cunningham commenced a regular course on board the Mars about six months ago the lads have developed wonderfully, and shown greater aptitude in acquiring their lessons. A part of the ship has been fitted up as a gymnasium, and there the boys are daily exercised. There is no attempt at practising such feats as would prove attractive in a popular sense. The training undergone is similar to that given in the Government military establishments at Aldershot. The programme arranged for the entertainment yesterday included escalading and movements on the rope, pole, and plank, blackboards, ladder, and hand-rings, dumb-bell exercise, jumping, somersaulting, Indian club and wand exercise, horizontal bar, and a tug-of-war. All the boys who took part displayed extraordinary agility. Several of the lads engaged in single and double stick fencing, and it was apparent from the style in which they handled their weapons that this branch of their education had not been neglected. Mr Cunningham engaged in an encounter at quarter-staff with Mr Petrie, which was very interesting. The band belonging to the ship, under the leadership of Mr J.E. Butler, the bandmaster, attended. There are about 40 lads in the band, and they discoursed capital music. They had appropriate tunes which they played while the other lads were engaged in their performance, and this rendered the proceedings exceedingly attractive. Mr Butler is to be congratulated on the high state of efficiency which his juvenile musicians have attained. They played well in tune, and kept excellent time. In the course of the proceedings a number of them sang to the accomplishment of several of the instruments, and the effect produced was very pleasing. As we have stated, the lads go through these exercises daily, and any of the public who may wish to see them practising will be made heartily welcome by Captain Scott and the officers of the Mars. It is intended that the lads should give a similar entertainment in Edinburgh; and, considering the excellence of the performance, it is desirable that it should be thrown open to the public in Dundee at more reasonable charges, when no doubt the hall would be crowded.



1881 Wednesday, August 10th.

(Dundee Advertiser)



At the Dundee Police Court yesterday – Bailie Anderson on the bench – Daniel Hughes (16), Millworker, Walton Street, was charged with stealing 1 ½ lbs weight of apples from a garden in Tait’s Lane on Monday. He pleaded guilty. It was stated that the prisoner worked in the mill, and earned 6/6d per week. In June 1877 Hughes was before the Court charged with four acts of theft, but the charge was not pressed by the Prosecuter, and Hughes was sent to the Mars thirteen months ago. The Magistrate remarked that he was unwilling to send the boy to prison, and on the undertaking that he would be chastised by his father he dismissed him.