NOTE: The book Lion of Scotland contains MANY errors, the following is presented as it is printed in the book with corrections in brackets.


These were the stories that drifted back to Waipu and the other Nova Scotian settlements. They were rarely told in letters from the central characters. They came from other seamen; or perhaps, when one of them was home from the sea for a while, he could relax in the family circle and tell of the events that made up his life.

Thus they learned at Waipu that Hector McDonald's son Colin had, under the flag of the Alexander Currie line (* Archibald Currie line), entered the flourishing horse trade between Australia and India. They may have been told too, that Colin was establishing a reputation for bringing his valuable charges through the tropics with few losses; and also that, on his suggestion, doorways had been cut in the side of the ship through which the horses could be loaded and unloaded with speed and comfort.

During the First World War his ship carried thousands of remounts to the battlefields of France and Mesopotamia. He recalled one voyage3 which seemed as if it would never end. Colin and his horses had been diverted from the Mediterranean to Aden, through the sun stricken Red Sea. From there, after delays and indecision that made both the crew and horses suffer, they went to the head of the Persian Gulf, where at last at a forlorn outpost, he found an army officer prepared to take delivery of the horses. Fretful with heat and the monotony of his life, the officer was more terse than he might have been in different circumstances.

"How many horses lost?" he barked

"None, replied the imperturbable Colin in his soft Highland voice. The army man glared his disbelief "And how many days will you need to unload?" "An hour or two should be enough, as long as you bring sufficient barges alongside," Colin replied. To the officer, with visions of the horses being lifted by slings and laboriously lowered on to lighters, this seemed to be an additional affront from a man who was obviously goading him to distraction. This time he expressed his disbelief vigorously in words that were more colourful than polite.

Captain Colin did not raise his voice, but he disliked swearing, especially when it did not seem necessary. "You will send out the barges, and your horses will be unloaded as I have said. But you will leave my ship immediately."

The barges came out. The horses were unloaded as quickly as the transports could be brought alongside. When the work was done, the surprised officer came on board and apologised handsomely.


* Colin worked for Archibald Curries, Australia - India Line from 1896 - 1913


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