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Bessie Burns Paterson

Bessie Burns Paterson

Bessie was born in 1912, the daughter of merchant Finlay Paterson and his wife Christina MacCuish of Geo Dhubh. She was named for her father’s sister, Bessie Burns née Paterson, who had died of tuberculosis a few months previously.

Bessie started attending Berneray School in 1919. She helped her parents in the shop and was also a nurse. Between 1949 and 1970 she served as the island’s telephone operator, being awarded the British Empire Medal on her retirement on 1st May 1970. In 1971 she was enumerator for the island’s census.

She recorded several of her memories about island life for her brother Ian who worked for the School of Scottish Studies. Several of the recordings are available and can be accessed through her biography page on the Tobar an Dualchais website.

Title: Bessie Burns Paterson
Record Type: People
Gaelic Name: Beasag Fhionnlaigh Aonghais
Date of Birth: 01-11-1912
Date of Death: 30-06-1994
Occupation: Nurse; Shopkeeper; Telephone Operator; Census Enumerator
Sex: Female
Bk Reference: CEBH 938
Record Maintained By: CEBH
Subject Id: 105733