Sunday, 28 March 2010

Not remembered - 2

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) keeps records on all British service personnel, killed in the First and Second World Wars. In their files, accessible on the Internet, you can find out about the more than one million servicemen and -women who lost their lives in those conflicts.

Its files are comprehensive, but not complete. This evening, with the aid of a fellow researcher elsewhere in Scotland, I traced the details of:

Last address in Lewis: 10 South Dell,
Service unit: 3rd Gordon Highlanders
Service number: 3/5645
Date of death: 16 March 1917 at the age of 23
Died of wounds at home
Local memorial: North Lewis, Cross

Private Morrison is not remembered by CWGC. As soon as I have obtained the details of his burial, a case can be submitted to have Norman included on the registers of the CWGC. After 93 years (and a few days), we will finally be able to give him the honour and remembrance on the scale that he deserves. He is mentioned on the local memorial at Cross, only a mile or two up the road from his home.

I have conducted further research to find out where he lies buried. The local council referred me to the Minister of the Church of Scotland in Ness; a Twitter contact told me his mother would also have information. Have pushed out emails and am awaiting the response.

Norman's father, in reporting his son's death, marked the death register with an X - he was illiterate. Norman had 6 siblings and was mentioned in an obituary in the Stornoway Gazette of 23 March 1917 as a well-liked lad in Ness.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Red Coat memorial

With reference to the Battle at Culloden, April 1746, a military historian has called for a memorial to be erected in memory of the soldiers who fought on the side of the Duke of Cumberland, in opposition to the Jacobite forces, led by Bonnie Prince Charlie. Not much is being made of the Red Coats, as all the attention is focused on BPC. I have previously made clear that I feel that the Jacobite prince was a royal fool and incompetent to a catastrophic degree. Whilst the clan system was already on the way out in the mid 18th century, Charlie’s actions served to give the Hannoverian forces the pretext they needed to go on the rampage in the Highlands and Islands.

Culloden is often marked as the occasion which marked the end of the Scotland of old. Well, in 1707, Scotland had already ceased to be an independent nation, by virtue of the merger of the Scottish Parliament into the Westminster one in London. The rebellions by the Old Pretender in 1715 and his son, the Young Pretender, in 1746, served no purpose. To this day, the people in the Highlands and Islands can be claimed to feel the effects of the disaster that was Culloden, without a doubt.

Comparing Scotland to Norway, as some politicians like to do, throws up some unpleasant home truths. The remote areas in Norway are supported, if necessary subsidised, by the government in Oslo. The remote areas of Scotland are not supported to any degree like that of the Norwegians. The fish farming industry is a case in point, where plants and companies have been taken over by foreign parties - to be closed down and asset stripped. The Norwegians would never allow that to happen in e.g. the Lofoten Islands. So, why does the Scottish Government or indeed the British Government permit it?

No, I’m not a Scottish nationalist. Far from it. This post is merely highlighting one of my pet hates, the elevation of Prince Charles Edward to the status of near-sainthood in Scottish history. The man was an unmitigated disaster for Scotland.