1969 - Jarl Robert Henderson

The 1969 Festival took place on 13th February

This year's Guizer Jarl was Robert Simpson Henderson from Kellister.

Galley Name:- VALI

Robert's Jarl Squad

  • Alex Nicholson (Breckon) [Former Jarl]
  • Andrew Williamson (Schoolhouse) [Future Jarl]
  • William T Williamson (Greenbank Terrace)
  • James Bruce Spence (Kellister)



Squad List

1 - JARL'S SQUAD (5)

The members of his squad were resplendent in viking attire


This squad consisted of a matador brandishing a red cloak demonstrating his skill with first a white bull and then a black one. The bulls were very realistic making a few of the audience squirm in their seats.


Consisting of Airtie and three of his cronies getting together for the first time since the New Year celebrations. As the drams were consumed the pairty grew heartier. Airtie grew merrier and was rendering a song when the strong arm of the law appeared and Airtie was arrested and charged with causing breach of the peace.


This stunt was a typical breathalyser scene involving a collision between a motor car and a motor cycle. After a drinking bout they were found by an old man who arrived on the scene while on his way for a barrow of peats. He reported them to the police who used the test on them - all tests showed up positive. A doctor was called and took a blood test. They concluded with the vehicles and owners being helped away.


This was an all-female squad consisting of a doctor and three nurses doing a heart transplant operation. After the operation had taken place the patient was removed from the operating table to a bed where upon his loving wife rushed in demanding to see her beloved husband. She then proceeded to administer tablets and whisky to speed his recovery finishing with the husband rising and chasing away the wife.


This sketch was based on the children's TV programme. The actions relating to the Westafirth raft. The group's headgear and costumes were very similar to those of the animals in the programme.


This was another TV-based stunt, the squad members appearing in the roles of the actors and actresses of wild, wild woman. The squad members gave an excellent performance of some of the usual incidents in the daily trials and tribulations of the girls with Albert and Mr Harcourt. The costumes and actions of the squad would have been a credit to the original programme. Some of this squad were female so surely the person who wrote in this paper last year stating that Bressay had the only country Up Helly Aa in which female guizers participated won't do so again.



Shetland Times Articles:

Cullivoe's Up Helly A was celebrated on Thursday of last week despite a heavy snowfall early on Thursday morning making road conditions bad. With more snow and strong winds forecast a surprisingly large number of spectators turned out to watch the procession of guizers preceded by the Jarl's squad with Guizer Jarl Mr Robert Henderson aboard his longship "Vali", winding along the road from Burnside to the burning site near the hall.

After the burning the spectators entered the hall, where they were addressed by the Guizer Jarl. In his speech he welcomed the audience to Up Helly Aa 1969. He emphasised the privilege the committee had bestowed on him by asking him to be Guizer Jarl and hoped that everyone would have an enjoyable night. After thanking all the people who had taken part in the preperations for the festival. He announced the first squad to perform.

In all, seven squads performed for the benefit of the public and after the appearance of the last squad the Jarl read the telegrams.

Dancing commenced after ten p.m. and continued until after 4 a.m. during which tea was served twice and everyone present had a very enjoyable night.

Telegrams / Messages:

  • 'Hope your torches burn bright on snowy background' - Daniel, Beth and the boys, Wallasay, Cheshire

  • 'Best wishes for a good night to all' - Stewart, Joy and the boys, Sandwick

  • 'Best wishes for a good night ' - James and Joan, Newcastle, New South Wales

  • 'Best wishes for a happy and successful night' - Muriel Henry and family, Baltasound