Friday, 18 September 2009

Harris War Memorial

The Harris War Memorial on-line, which was first published in August last year, has been extensively revised and updated with more information on many of the casualties. This contains listings for both World Wars, ordered by village. Any further information is more than welcome, in fact, desperately needed.

A Roll of Honour was never published for Harris for the First World War, leaving only the War Memorial at Tarbert for reference. Finding further information from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (the primary source) can be very tricky and time-consuming in some instances.

All the main islands in the Western Isles now have their WW1 and WW2 casualties listed on line.
I would like to close this post by dedicating it to the memory of all the approximately 2,500 men from these islands who laid down their lives for King and Country during World Wars I and II.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Uist & Barra War Memorials

The information from the War Memorials for the islands of Berneray, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist, Eriskay and Barra has been transferred to the Internet. Apart from the actual war memorials, pictured courtesy Scottish War Memorials Project, the cemeteries in the islands as well as the invaluable Commonwealth War Graves Commission website were all sources for further information. There are gaps, like there are in the information on Lewis casualties.

To reiterate: these are lists of the Fallen from both world wars. For the sake of clarity, there are separate pages for the First World War and for the Second World War.
Graveyard in Eriskay
Graveyard in Eriskay

Friday, 11 September 2009


Mingulay, one of the Barra Isles or Bishop’s Isles, is currently unoccupied. The last permanent inhabitants left in 1912, leaving the island as a haven for wildlife and a place for grazing sheep. The reason I am flagging this up in passing came about through researching the First and Second World War roll of honour for Barra. One of the sons of Mingulay appears in the listings for WW1:

Seaman Roderick Gillies
Son of John and Flora Gillies, of Mingulay, Barra
Husband of Mary Macdougall Gillies, of Caolis, Vatersay, Barra, Inverness-shire.
Military unit: RNR, HMT Robert Smith
Service number: 3560B
Date of death: 20 July 1917, at the age of 35
Memorial: Portsmouth Naval Memorial, panel 27
Local memorial: Barra & Vatersay, Nask, Barra
Mingulays former settlement, image courtesy
Mingulay's former settlement, image courtesy

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Remembering - WW2

Today is the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Poland, a military campaign that sparked off the Second World War. In the 6 years following, many thousands would lay down their lives in the defense of freedom. The Western Isles, once more, stood in the breach and supplied dozens of its young men to the services between 1939 and 1945. The death toll makes for sobering reading - having just transcribed the war memorials for all of the islands in the Western Isles (courtesy the Scottish War Memorials Project).
Lewis - 448
Harris - 58
North Uist & Berneray - 36
Benbecula - 6
South Uist & Eriskay - 51
Barra - 54
Total: 653
Lest we forget.