Merry Christmas to All Our Visitors

Here's a Christmas message from Gordon

Good news and bad news

Well it’s been yet another packed year in the Mar’s world, during the year I completed my 12th talk on the ship. The audiences have all been fantastic, and I really do mean that! The enthusiasm for the subject has been amazing, many people arriving at the talks with no prior knowledge of the ship, nor of the remarkable stories of the ship’s young boys, were enthralled by the spirit of the lads. The bad news is that I won’t make the Christmas deadline for ‘Sons of the Mars’, this is as disappointing for me as it is for all of you who thought that your Christmas present list was now one less item. But don’t despair, the book will be out by late January, or February, (depending on the ice age weather!) The reasons for the lateness of the publication have been partly due too much absorbing information arriving too late, and as I sit here I’m still waiting for one photograph to complete the book (Monday 13th December.)

In many ways ‘Sons of the Mars’ is simply a follow up to the original, filling in gaps which seem crucial to forming a full picture of the Mars experience; The boys at Elie, Scarlet Fever epidemic, Is it a prison ship argument, what exactly was Cardiff Home, sagas of boys who died in shipwrecks – the Maju, Trinacria and others, plus the sensational trial and execution of an ex Mars boy for the murder of a Sepoy in Calcutta. We also have success stories and pictures of boys after their days aboard, such as Dundonian, Thomas Cosgrove who was awarded the Polar Medal as part of the crew of the Terra Nova who effected the rescue of Captain Robert Falcon Scott and the Discovery. Read about the adventures of a young Glaswegian Mars boy, Felix McCann whose story is related from a jail in Berlin in the early days of the First World War. We examine the bravery of the boys under fire in various wars and we publish for the first time the full list of Mars boys who fell during the Great War.

As I am having to publish the second book myself, the first print will be limited in number, as I would have to move into the shed in the garden if the whole 1,000 copies arrived at once. I will speak to John and see if we can do orders from the site and send them out. To let you know it will be the same size and similar quality to the first book, will have more pages and will be the same price.

The good news - Speaking of John, who runs the website, ( he did a check on the amount of hits on the website since 2008 and we are just approaching the 2 million mark! Many thanks to all of you who have visited the site and have given us the encouragement by email, text and letter, it demonstrates that the spirit of the Mars boys is still alive and kicking.

Once again sorry about Christmas, I really tried.


Gordon Douglas