A Serious Accident at Cliff

After the end of the Great War, dangerous materials were still washing up on the beach. All credit to Nurse Maclean for her tender care of Murdo Macleod, Cliff, in 1919.

Stornoway Gazette, 12 December 1919

One day last week, Mr Murdo Macleod, Cliff, found on the sands close by, a small tin box which had just been washed ashore. He carried it home and opened it. Inside were four steel tubes. As the damp seemed to have got at them he considered them quite harmless, and he began making a closer examination when one of them exploded, badly damaging his hands and face. The thumb and forefinger of the left hand were practically blown off, and the other fingers badly lacerated. The right hand and arm and the right side of his face were also badly injured. His little boy, who was standing close by, got some of the stuff into his leg. Fortunately, the nurse was immediately in attendance and dressed their wounds. That same night, the father was removed to Stornoway Hospital where, we are glad to hear, he is progressing favourably. The boy is also doing well. It is hoped that any person finding anything of an uncertain character will exercise every precaution in dealing with it.

19 March 1920

His many friends are glad to see Mr Murdo Macleod, cliff, back again to his home, and looking so well after his treatment in hospital in the south. It will be remembered that mention was made in these columns of a serious accident he had in November last, when he narrowly escaped death from the explosion of a fuse found on the shore. His hands (particularly the left one) and face were badly damaged, and he was removed to Stornoway hospital that same night. After a fortnight’s stay there he had to come home with his hands still unhealed.

The district nurse – Miss Jeannie Maclean – began to attend him. Great credit is due to her for the manner in which she discovered and extracted, under many disadvantages, two pieces of brass tubing which had lodged and had been left in his hand. His eye, however, needed attention, and he was sent for treatment to an infirmary in Glasgow. There it was found that the sight had been damaged, the eyeball being penetrated in different places. That necessitated the immediate excision of the eye. A decaying bone was also taken out of his thumb; and now, so successful has the operation been, his eyes look quite normal.