Celebrating a Golden Wedding Anniversary is a landmark achievement. Back in the 1940s, to reach that milestone and have a parent present at the occasion was newsworthy. When Robert Imrie and his wife Isabella (nee Mitchell) marked 50 years of marriage, the above feature appeared in the 1 September 1945 Daily Record. Mrs Imrie's mother Helen Mitchell (nee Swan) appears with the golden couple in the photograph above.
In fact five generations of the family were represented at the event, including Isabella's sister, Margaret Honeyman (nee Mitchell) of Kennoway who was bridesmaid at the wedding. At the time of the celebration, Mr and Mrs Imrie had two daughters and five sons (one of whom lived in Canada). They also had fourteen grandchildren and one great grandchild. The couple, who lived at Watson Cottage on Mill Wynd, received many gifts and messages of best wishes, including a cablegram from Canada.
Robert Imrie was born in Strathmiglo and married Isabella in Kennoway on 30 August 1895. He had a long career in agriculture, becoming a farm grieve like his father George before him. He started out at Gateside, followed by a spell at Stanley in Perthshire, before completing the remainder of his working life in Fife. He worked at Hayston Farm near Balmullo and at Luthrie Bank, ahead of twenty years as grieve at Lundin Mill Farm (where he oversaw the other farm workers, when George Bell was the tenant farmer). The family lived in Broadlea Cottage on Cupar Road during that era.
Later, Robert spent thirteen years as farm grieve at Cassingray Farm, near Largoward, on the Kilconquhar Estate, working for Lady Lindsay. Above is an image of the farmhouse at South Cassingray where the family were based (image from the Canmore collection). Below is an advert for the lease of the farm in 1939, with Robert named as the grieve who would show round interested parties. It must have been soon after this point that Robert returned to Lundin Links, a place to which he obviously felt a strong connection. The Imries were members of Upper Largo Church for forty years and Robert had a spell on the District School Board.
The newspaper article at the top of this post describes Robert as "green keeper on the Lundin Ladies' Golf Course". This was late career shift brought about by the Second World War. Having returned to Lundin Links, where son Jimmie was green keeper at the Ladies' course, Robert was well placed to step into his son's shoes when Jimmie joined the Auxiliary Fire Service full time in 1941. At Jimmie's suggestion, Robert took over as greenkeeper while his own wife Christina acted as starter and looked after the clubhouse. Jimmie and Christina lived in the greenkeeper's cottage (the 1911 built cottage pictured above to the right of the club house).
Wartime had a significant impact upon the Ladies' course with much ground given up for agriculture. The War Cabinet instructed that portions of golf courses had to be leased to increase food production. By special arrangement, the Ladies Club gave up more than its quota (two thirds of its area) so that the main Lundin course could remain intact. The much reduced course comprised six holes with the added feature of some grazing sheep (which both supported food production and kept the grass short at at time when there was little fuel for green keeping).
When Jimmie returned to post after the war, he set about the restoration of the course (shown below) including re-seeding and the re-laying out of the lost greens, tees and bunkers. As the book published for the club's centenary by Alan Elliot said of Jimmie Imrie:
"He was an excellent worker, conscientious and thorough. When it is realised that he put the course back from its wartime ploughing to its former state almost single-handed, it may give some idea of what he did. He worked with the minimum of equipment....a spade, a shovel, a barrow, a roller, an elderly tractor and mowers of great age: an awesome lot of effort. He achieved much in a remarkably short time after the war, and overall he provided the club with a course again when it mattered most."
In the years following the end of the war, all three of the family members featured in the photograph at the top of this post passed away. Helen Mitchell died in 1946 aged 94, Robert in 1947 aged 75 and Isabella in 1950 aged 70. Jimmie Imrie lived until 1985, reaching the age of 79. This remarkable and hard working family left their mark on the community in several ways over many years. Their descendants must be very proud of them.