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Object of the Month

Officer's Sewing Kit

Officer’s Sewing Kit – Object of the Month.

By Collections blog

This month marks the return of the object of the month to The Devil’s Porridge Museum. This is were an item from The Devil’s Porridge Museum’s collection that is currently not normally on display for the public is celebrated and displayed. The object of the month for May 2022 is an officer’s sewing kit.

Sewing kits were used by officers to maintain and mend any damage to their uniforms or clothing. This officer’s sewing kit is from World War One. The intial’s K.L.D on the front of the sewing kit refer to its previous owner, Kenneth Lees Duckett, who was a second lieutenant in the Highland Light Infantry. Read more about him below.


Kenneth Lees Duckett

Photo of Kenneth Lees Ducket

Second Lieutenant Kenneth Lees Duckett (HU 121492) CWGC  Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:

Kenneth was born on  5th October 1891 in Glasgow to George William and Ann Kirkham Duckett.

In September 1914 Kenneth joined the Highland Light Infantry as a private in the 9th (Glasgow Highlanders) Battalion. He became a Sergeant in May 1915 and gained his commission in the following August.

His brother Second Lieutenant Harold Ager Duckett was also in the 9th Glasgow Highlanders Battalion in the Highland Light Infantry. Sadly Harlold died on 07 June 1917.

Kenneth married Isabelle Sutton Laidlaw in July 1915. They later had one daughter.

Sadly, Kenneth was wounded in action on 22nd August 1916 in the Battle of the Somme and died later that day.

Even more sadly, Kenneth had led an attack which had been canceled, but he had never received this order. His daughter was yet to be born at the time of his death.

Kenneth Lees Duckett is buried at Dernancourt Communal Cemetery.

Isabelle later remarried a man called John Haggart Fraser, who was a chartered accountant. John was born in 1874 and died in 1953. Isabelle lived died in 1964, as can be seen on her death certificate from Scotland’s People below.

Registration of Death Isabelle

Source: Scotland’s People.

The gentleman who donated the officer’s sewing kit to us was given it by his friend in the 1990s, who was in some way related to John Haggart Fraser.

The officer’s sewing kit will be on display at the museum until the end of the month. You can book your visit to The Devil’s Porridge Museum online here>

Sources and further reading



A book and some information panels featuring it's pages on display in The Devil's Porridge Museum.

New Object of the Month

By Object of the Month

This months Object of the Month is a fishermans records book from Loch and Dornock dating back to 1899.

Thanks to Stuart Graham, now based in Annan, for loaning us the fisherman’s records for Loch and Dornocks Fishings. Stake net fishing and Haaf netting in Dornock and Eastriggs provided a living for many local men for hundreds of years, right up to the last quarter of the 20th Century when Loch and Dornock fisheries were purchased and closed down by a conservation trust purportedly to protect salmon stocks in our oceans.

Stuart’s great grandfather, David John Graham, was the bookeeper who kept the business’ daily account of the netsman’s hours of work and their wages. His grandfather Thomas (old Tom) and his father, William Shannon Graham, carried on the family’s fishing heritage.

The pages in the book in the years 1898-1900 show the names of the fishermen who toiled in the Solway. Perhaps they are from your family and you may have memories or photos of these or later generations who fished at Dornock. Please let us know.

New object of the month display

By Object of the Month

One of our young volunteers, Alastair Ritchie, created the new object of the month display for March.  The object in question is a Minimax First Aid Kit which we believe dates from World War Two.  Here, Alastair explains the display he created with the assistance of Morgan and Steven.

The First Aid Box was originally donated by Norman Harker who informed us that it had been owned by a soldier Alex Thomson who was a member of the KOSB (King’s Own Scottish Border Regiment). During my time looking into this item I discovered some of the history of the company Minimax mainly….

  • Minimax Limited is a British Company who first opened in 1903

  • The Company is often referred to as Minimax as the nickname given to it fire extinguishers (see one below)

  • They later opened a factory in Feltham Middlesex in 1911 which produced 1,000 extinguishers a month

  • The junction near the factory was later called ‘Minimax Corner’ which became a famous landmark.

  • The company would sell their produce to King Edward VII along with many foreign countries

In 1905 Minimax Limited won the ‘highest award’ for extinguishers in a St. Louis exhibition

This decorated doorway is all that remains of the original Minimax Limited factory

The First Aid box very fortunately did include a large amount of contents that were both fascinating to research and great to assist in putting together a display, in a physical sense as well as a online senses (refer to Morgan expertise on the last one). The various forms of basic medical were intriguing to analysis as they provide a glimpse into something that is both old but also very familiar, because we all know how painful and worrying a injury which requires first aid can be, but to then take that experience and imagination it happening far more regularly with even worser damage caused by the many danger of WW2 helps to give a better understanding of how the war effect some many aspects of live.

The items which you can now see on display are below……


    B.P.C. No.9 LARGE: MEDICATED WOUND DRESSING: Used to dress a preferred ably, cleaned wound in the hope to stop infection of the wound.

  • STERILIZED WHITE ABSORBENT WOOL PAD First Aid Home Office Dressings: The wool pad was placed between a dressing and a wound to soak up blood or to provide any kind of antiseptic to the wound.

  • STANDARD DRESSING B.P.C No. 12 LARGE BURN DRESSING: Bandage was used to treat burns that might occur from explosions, flamethrower injuries or accidents.

  • STANDARD DRESSING B.P.C no. 10 FINGER BURN DRESSING: provided to ease to the pain and to keep broken, fractured or seriously cut fingers

  • A pamphlet on the basic ways to treat minor injuries including burns or scalds, Acid, Alkali burns, Eye injuries

  • The Pamphlet was produced by Ministry of Labour and National Service for March 1943 (I know a Minstry for everything, the wonders of Government complexity)

This photograph shows nurses from World War Two and an Air Patrol Warden. These are the sort of people who would have carried and used a first aid kit such as this.

Front page of the Manual for the First Aid set along with the usual Company name and contact details

Here are some photos of the display within the Museum (it will be on display until the end of March) with Alastair arranging the objects.


Someone carrying a haaf net down a beach.

February objects of the Month: Haaf nets

By Collections blog

This month’s object of the month display was created by Łukasz, from Annan Academy, who does work experience at the Museum every Thursday.

Lukasz removing the old object of the month from the cabinet ready for the new display.

Object of the Month – February

Haaf net fishing objects

The Museum’s current exhibition (running until March 31st) is on Haaf Net Fishing.  These objects have been loaned to the Museum by local haaf net fishermen.  We also have several other objects on loan in the exhibition including a full sized haaf net, a cleaning stick for stake nets (used to clean the nets when the tide was ebbing) and a fish storage box (a type used in Annan to transport fish packed in ice to London on the 6am train every morning except Sunday).

Object of the month cabinet

Fish Shipping Labels

These labels would be attached to boxes of fish for transport to markets in England.  Some are pre-printed, suggesting fish was sent regularly from the Solway to these destinations (London and Grimsby).  Other labels are blank so the address can be handwritten on.  Fresh fish from the Solway used to be a major source of income for local people and was shipped across the UK by rail in boxes packed with ice.  We were told by the donor of these objects that fish went out every day (except Sunday) at 6am on board the train from Annan.

Ancient Fishing Traditions photo courtesy of Allan Warwick and

Objects for knitting a haaf net

Haaf nets were traditionally made of hemp.  They rotted away quite quickly and at least two nets had to be knitted each fishing season.  The knitting of the nets could be done by the fisherman himself or by his wife.

Ancient Fishing Traditions courtesy of of Allan Warwick and

The three objects to the left were used for knitting and the three objects to the right were used to make the nets the correct size.  The squares of the net needed to be the right size to catch the right kind of fish.

The largest, thickest block was for making nets to catch salmon (far right).

The medium, lighter coloured block was to make a net for catching trout (in the middle).

The long, thin block was used to make a net for catching herling (nearest).  A herling is a one year old trout.

These objects for knitting nets belonged to Slogger , the father of the donor of these objects and one of the organisers of the Haaf Net Exhibition.

Courtesy of

For more details on our current exhibition see:

Haaf Net Fishing

To purchase items relating to Haaf Net fishing from our online shop:

For more details about Haaf Net fishing see (photographs of haaf net fishing used in this article, courtesy of this website):

A selection of historic images can be seen here:






New Object of the Month

Object of the Month for January

By Collections blog

This object was recently donated to the Museum. It is an Auxiliary Territorial Service (or ATS) coat from World War Two. It was owned by a young woman called Elizabeth who was originally from Lancashire but was stationed in Stirling during the War. Her daughter, from Lockerbie, donated this coat to the Museum.

New Object of the Month

One of the most interesting parts of this donation was inside the overcoat. On the outside, it is a standard issue military style coat but inside are numerous felt badges from different countries and regiments involved in World War Two.  The donor didn’t know what these badges were, and she was curious to know how her mother acquired them.

New Object of the Month

Some of our young volunteers managed to find out what all the badges were, but we don’t know why Elizabeth had them (they were probably tokens or mementoes from people she met during the War).

New Object of the Month

Here are some of the most interesting badges which she has collected:

Igloo with a star: Exercise Eskimo Badge

Rainbow and flaming sword: Post WW2 U.S. Forces European command

Red gate: British troops in Northern Ireland

3 yellow stripes: Overseas service

Tigers face: British army, South East Command UK

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