labourer, sealing and whaling officer, and boarding house proprietor, was born on 8 August 1891, at Alford, Aberdeenshire, to Gregor Smith Brechin (1870-1916) and his wife Jane Mackie (1860-1908).
Brechin arrived from Liverpool on 12 November 1912 on board the RMS Oravia - which had stranded on the Billy Rocks outside Stanley harbour. (see also: DFB biography of Hugh THOMAS) Brechin had come out under a labourer’s agreement with the Falkland Islands Company, and he started work in the North Arm area on 13 November 1912 on a monthly wage of £5. He finished working in the Company’s Camp on 25 September 1915
He started work for the FIC in the Goose Green area on 24 February 1919 and finished 30 April 1919. He started again at Goose Green in March 1920, finishing on 19 May 1920. He was probably working at the Canning Works.
Gregor Brechin, married Teresa Mary Buse, who was born in Stanley (b.1897 d.1971) on 25 December 1919 in St Mary's Roman Catholic Chapel, Stanley by Father Mario Luis MIGONE, the Priest in Charge. The Brechins had three children – Jeannie b.1920; Agatha (Gay) b. 1921; Gregor b.1939.
Brechin started work at the West Store 1 June 1926, and by January 1929 the Brechin family were living in 3 Marmont Row.
On 1 September 1929 Brechin was appointed Whaling Officer, Deputy Collector of Customs, and Receiver of Wrecks for the South Shetlands and Grahamland. He was reappointed Whaling Officer for the South Shetlands, based on Deception Island, on 1 October 1930. (Sidney Riches was also appointed a Whaling Officer on 1 October 1930 – with responsibility for the pelagic fleets).
Brechin was the last person to hold this position because the whaling station at Deception Island was closed down in 1931.
In August 1929 Brechin applied for a loan from the Falkland Island Government of £300 to cover the cost of erecting a house at 7 Fitzroy Road. The invoice price of the house was £916. The house was built, completed and occupied within a year. FI Government archives show that in 1932 Mrs Brechin was keeping a boarding house at 7 Fitzroy Road and Gregor Brechin was making and selling sausages from the property. .
Between 1962 and 1966 various additional buildings were erected on the site by members of the Brechin family – to serve as a workshop, sausage factory and a bakery. The bakery was established by Tim Dobbyns (Gregor and Teresa Brechin's son-in-law), and he extended the original sausage shop to house the bakery shop and a cake decorating room upstairs - a family member has commented that 'Mum's famous rich fruit cakes were sent all over the world.'
An application by Jane CAMERON for change of use for the bakery from a retail shop to a dwelling was approved 22 October 1993. Her house became known as 'The Old Bakery'.
At one time Brechin held a number of local appointments; Enumerator of Census (1931); member of the Board of Health (1937); member of the Permanent Committee on Nutrition (1938); member of the Public Assistance Committee (1938); member of the Unemployed Relief Committee (1936). In October 1939 Gregor Brechin was a corporal in the FIDF.
On 7 June 1937: Brechin was appointed sealing officer, for the Falkland Islands and Dependencies Sealing Company based at Albermarle, in West Falkland. The company operated sporadically, usually at a loss, from 1927 until 1940. The venture was not a success and sealing ceased in the Falklands in 1940 when the station closed down. (Sealing began again at Albermarle in 1949 – also without success, and the company ceased operations in 1951).
By 1942 Gregor Brechin, at the age of 51 is described in local records as ‘a boarding house landlord and caterer.’ The establishment was called ‘The Bon Accord Boarding House’ - the name is derived from the French phrase "Bon Accord", the ancient motto of Aberdeen.
In 1948 The Aberdeen Press and Journal reported that Gregor and Teresa Brechin, accompanied by their daughter Jeannie and son Gregor, had arrived in Scotland – the first time that Brechin had visited his homeland in 36 years – for a holiday that lasted nearly one year. The newspaper reported that Gregor said that:
'Nearly every house [in Stanley] has a typical Scottish garden, and it is because of the very strong Scottish element out there that I have felt so at home.'
In later years Brechin suffered from glaucoma, and he gradually went blind. The family recall that when: 'Mr Albert Lellman came in to the shop each week for his sausages, Grandad would call out from the back room, 'I'll be with you in a minute Albert' ... Albert was known to say "That Gregor Brechin reckons he's blind....but he can see through a brick wall".....Mr Lellman apparently made some form of cough/humming noise all the time, so of course Grandad knew who was coming into the shop by the sound Albert made.'
Gregor and Teresa Brechin retired to the UK; Gregor died in Southampton on 15 February 1964, and his wife, Teresa died in Southampton on 18 February 1971. Family members, still living the Falklands, describe Gregor Brechin as ‘a very kind and caring person who spent his life helping others as best he could.’
May 2022 Biography first added to Dictionary