Sergeant Duncan Johnstone

Biography of Sergeant Duncan Johnstone

Duncan Johnstone (Donnchadh MacIain) was a janitor at the Natural Philosophy Department at the University of Glasgow.

A native of Islay, he served in the First World War with the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, but was invalided out after suffering injuries from gassing.

He was offered a job by the University of Glasgow in 1918 and spent the rest of his working life at the University.

Johnstone was a Gàidhlig songwriter. He was crowned as a Bàrd of the National Mòd in Perth in 1929 and the Principal of the University of Glasgow, Sir Donald MacAlister, wrote a note of congratulation to Johnstone on his achievement. Johnstone, in turn, wrote a letter of thanks, to Principal MacAlister, conveying good wishes and blessings in verse:

Guidheam sonas is àgh

Mu’r cagailt gu bràgh

’S gach là sibh a’ fàs ann an neart,

Le dùrachdan blàth

A’ sruthadh le gràdh

O Chruithear is Ùghdar nam feart.

Johnstone published a book of songs, Cronan nan Tonn (The Croon of the Sea), in 1938.


Sergeant Duncan Johnstone
Rank: Sergeant
Regiment: Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
Degree: N/A
Awards: N/A
Note/Press Clipping: N/A
Photo ID: Submitted by family


Biography and Published songs:

R. Black, ed. 1999. An Tuil: an Anthology of 20th Century Scottish Verse, Edinburgh: Birlinn. 733-734.

An Gaidheal, 11 (1929), 29.

D. Johnstone. 1938. Cronan nan tonn / The croon of the sea. Inverness: Dun Eisdein.

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