Sunday, 26 April 2009

Local history file: Faces from the Lewis War Memorial

The victims of the Iolaire Disaster constitute a sizeable proportion of all those from the island who died in the First World War. It was a small step to extend the work for the Iolaire to the whole of the First World War. I started off by photographing the panels on the Lewis War Memorial, which stands just north of Stornoway. They show the names of all who fell in WW1 and WW2. However, those listings are incomplete.

Loyal Lewis Roll of Honour 1914-1918 adds quite a few more names, as well as 400 portrait photographs, which I scanned in. This publication does not supply a large amount of information on the men concerned, but that is easily amended by cross referencing with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. It is most fortunate that accurate address references are given for many of the casualties, greatly increasing the accuracy of any matches. Many islanders had emigrated to Canada and Australia, and the National Archives of both those nations yielded a lot of background information. Another source are local war memorials, of which there are about 16 outside Stornoway.

Hebridean Connections, a website that is being expanded to include information from all corners of the Western Isles, currently provides information for the districts of Uig, Kinloch, Pairc and Great Bernera, allowing for another layer of cross-referencing and additional information. Finally, the islands graveyards once more added further information, yielding approximately 350 gravestones. At time of writing, there are 1286 names on the list for the First World War.

Faces from the Lewis War Memorial
Scottish War Memorial Project
Scottish War Graves Project

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