Edward Adie

Edward Adie

For years afterwards these pieces of shrapnel came to the surface of his skin, usually when he was having a hot bath, and I remember them – the last one – hearing about the last one sometime after the Second World War. So they stayed inside him for quite a time. James A. Adie, 1994.

Edward Percival Douglas Adie (1890-1977) was born into one of Shetland’s most successful businesses. Adies, in Voe, Delting, had begun in the 1830s. By the time Edward was a young man it was changing, moving out of the fish trade and into textiles. Initially he aimed further afield, and emigrated to Canada in May 1910, sailing out of Liverpool on the White Star liner Megantic. He gave his occupation as "farmer" but also became involved in the lumber industry.

He was living in New Westminister, British Columbia, when the war broke out, and in April 1915 he joined the 47th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. It was in France by August 1916. In 1918, having been promoted to Lieutenant he was in the 16th Canadian Scottish Infantry at the Battle of Canal du Nord (27 September – 1 October). The Shetland Roll of Service shows him wounded towards the end of the battle at Bourlon Wood, near Cambrai. He also won a Military Cross, with an entry in the Gazette 4 October 1919.

After the war he went back to Canada, but returned to Shetland to take over the family business, with the transfer being noted in the Edinburgh Gazette, 22 April 1921. He developed the weaving industry in Voe. He became Convener of the then Zetland County Council, 1938-1945. In 1937 he had joined the reformed Shetland Territorials as a Captain, and was promoted to Major in the Shetland Home Defence component of the Gordon Highlanders during World War Two.

Post war he continued to work in his firm, and was a councillor for the Delting South ward. He became a Vice Lord Lieutenant for Shetland. He died in Montfield Hospital, Lerwick, on 18th May 1977.

By 1991 Adies, then in the hands of Edward Adie’s nephew James, was being wound up on retirement. It was a treasure trove for the Shetland Museum. In the early 1990s BBC Radio Shetland ran a programme made by the museum staff – Museum Showcase. In 1994 James Adie reminisced about his uncle in an interview with Dr Ian Tait. He had donated a uniform and some other artefacts to the museum. The shrapnel from his wound took decades to leave Edward Adie’s body, often coming out in the bath. His kilt had a stain on it, probably from his blood.

Edward Percival Adie’s uniform is shown on the second floor of Shetland Museum. It is part of a display about World War One.

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Edward Adie, convener of Zetland County Council
Edward Adie, as convener of Zetland County Council. Sheland Museum.
Edward Adie kilt
Edward Adie's kilt. Shetland Museum.