WWII Veteran Celebrates 97th Birthday on VE Day

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar would like to wish a happy birthday to World War Two Veteran Donald Morrison. Donald Morrison celebrated his 97th birthday on Friday, sharing his special day with Victory in Europe Day for the 75th time.

Donald Morrison was born in Mollinginish, Harris on 8 May 1923. He attended school in Mollinginish along with his older siblings Murdo and Katy. He left school at age 14, to work with his father on a fishing boat until he joined the Merchant Navy on 3 March 1943 when he joined the ship Empire Diplomat at Kyle of Lochalsh.

He was home on leave from the Merchant Navy on 8 May 1945 when Winston Churchill, announced that the war was over. That day he had left Mollinginish early morning and was walking to Tarbert on route to Stornoway to visit his mother in hospital.

At Sunnyhill near Tarbert he met some jubilant school children who told him the school was on holiday as the war was over. He continued his bus trip to Stornoway and recalls on his return journey seeing bonfires lit all along the way into Tarbert and on the hillside at Direcleit, above Tarbert. He walked home from Tarbert to Mollinginish and on reaching had a celebratory dram with his father and brother Murdo who had been a Prisoner of War for five years.

Donald continued life at sea until he met his wife Mary, who comes from Kershader in South Lochs. They got married in Southport on 28 October 1953 and moved back to Harris where they have spent their entire married life. They have five children, three grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

His daughter Peggy Morrison explained that he still managed to celebrate in style despite the current restrictions:

“My father celebrated his 97th birthday at home with my mother on Friday. Jasmine one of his great grandchildren baked him a birthday cake and along with her brother Benjamin sang him some birthday songs while maintaining social distancing.”