Royal Naval Reserve

Only sea-faring men could enrol in the Royal Naval Reserve, and many Avoch fishermen have served in this force since it was set up in 1860.

Six weeks’ training was carried out in the first year, and three weeks thereafter every year.

Before the First World War this took place at Inverness but later most Avoch men went to Portsmouth.

In this photograph, the ship in the background was used for training as well as for living quarter.

On the “Pompey” Parade, while Avoch men were being drilled in 1914, the “Chief” said, “We tame lions here”. The reply from one of the men – “We eat them where we come from”.

Included in the photograph are the following Avoch men, six of whom were named “James Patience”.

1. James Patience (Eileen)
2. John Jack (Dhu)
3 George Reid (James Street)
4. Donald McLeman (Bolt)
5. ? McLeman (Scootie)
6. Donald Patience (Body)
7. ? Jack (Slake)
8. ? MacIntosh (Gow)
9. William McLeman (Wuldie)
10. James Patience (Pope, Rose Street)
11. Sandy Jack (Block)
12. James Patience (Frew)
13. James Patience (Carter)
14. James Patience (Unclie)
15. James Patience (Evangelist)

Payment was made during training and a small “retainer” was paid annually. This was welcome when herring were scarce, but their commitment mean that RNRs were the first to be called to service when war threatened.

There was a great spirit of comradeship in the RNR as many who served were close friends or relatives.

Before the train drew out from Avoch station in autumn 1939 carrying away a large number of Reserves, Jimmy Alick Ross sang “God be with you till we meet again”. Many of those men who left never returned. From Avoch, six men of the RNR gave their lives in World War II and twelve in World War I.