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Tom Reekie

My Father,Tom Reekie, and Jill



The Reaper at the town of Anstruther


Many generations of my Reekie forbears lived in the seaside fishing village of St. Monans, four miles from where I was born in Earlsferry.


In the St. Monans Auld Kirk Graveyard are markers that tell the Reekie story.  Some of the stones are so old and weathered and the wording so eroded as to be almost unreadable.  From what I have found out, the males of the Reekie Clan were North Sea fishermen.  Having seen the type of large wooden boats that they went out in, it's miraculous that they survived.  The hardship of this lifestyle can not be comprehended today.  Imagine being out of sight of land, in a boat with only sail for power, battling  mountainous waves in gale force winds, virtually no deck protection, never any warm food, navigating for days with only a simple compass and a few glimpses of the position of the stars. This was their lot.  My father's brother who was a North Sea fisherman was named Robert. However because of Robert's ability to navigate and to find his way home by the position of the stars his friends all called him Star Robe. 


My father, Tom Reekie, who was born in 1880, was the first of the Reekies to break the chain of spending his life on the North Sea.  One day when Tom was a boy he went swimming in the sea from the rocks in front of Newark Castle. A large vessel came by.  Its wake caused waves that repeatedly dashed him against the barnacle covered rocks.  When he did manage to get out of the water he was bleeding from all over his body.  His fright, his hurt, and his pain were so great that he knew he could never follow in his fisherman father's footsteps.


In 1895, at age 15, Tom apprenticed himself as a golf club maker with George Forrester of Earlsferry. He completed his apprenticeship in 1900 and continued to work for George Forrester until 1914.


In 1914 Tom was called up to serve in the Army in what was to become World War I.  It was not until 1918, the end of the war, that he was returned to St. Monans.  Tom was reluctant to talk of his war endurance.  He was a foot soldier in the trenches in France.  He did say that several times the entire regiment was forced to charge out of the trenches straight into the machine gun fire of the enemy and that when the smoke and the gunfire finally cleared and subsided he was standing alive with only one or two others.  All around were either dead or dying.


After returning from the war Tom went back to work for George Forrester in Earlsferry.


At this time both Tom Reekie and his betrothed Katie lived in St. Monans. Tom's place of employment was in Earlsferry and Katie's was in Elie. Each morning they walked or ran along the shoreline between St. Monans and Elie from their homes to their places of work and together they walked home again. Occasionally Tom and Katie side tracked to Ruby Bay near the lighthouse where they collected rubies that they had made into their engagement ring and in later years others into an anniversary broach. 


In 1919 Tom Reekie who was born in 1880 and Katie  who was born in 1898 were married. Tom  was 38 and Katie  was 20.



St. Monans Auld Kirk


My Grandfather, Grandmother,

Father and Mother's Headstone