Monday, 18 November 2013


There are at least two islands by that name off the west coast of Scotland, one in Loch Bracadale (Skye), and the other off the east coast of Benbecula. It is to the latter that this post refers. At present, I'm working my way through the list of WW1 casualties from Benbecula, and Donald Monk is one of them.

Son of Capt. John and Catherine Monk, of Benbecula;
Husband of Elizabeth Monk, of 134, Queen's Rd. West, North Vancouver.
Last known address in Benbecula: Wiay
Service unit: D Coy 49th Canadian Infantry (Alberta Regiment)
Service number: A32674
Date of birth: 18 April 1886
Date of death: 30 October 1917 at the age of 31
Memorial: Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, panel 24 - 28 - 30)
Local memorial: Benbecula

Donald was married to Elizabeth, living at 134th St / 114th Ave in Vancouver when he signed up for the CEF on 11 January 1915 at Edmonton. He is described as follows:

Height: 5 ft 10 3/4 in
Complexion: fair
Eyes: brown
Hair: brown
Religion: Church of England

He appears in the 1901 census on Wiay Island, off Benbecula, aged 15, son of Cathrine (46) and brother of Neil (12) and Angus (10). He is also mentioned in the 1891 census, eldest child (4) of John (45) and Cathrine (39), Neil (3) and Angus (3 days) being the others.

Wiay is for sale, 23 years after its outgoing owners bought it on a whim.  Half a million quid, and it's yours. With resurrected planning application for a holiday home in the ruined crofter's house on the island. Which sends me wondering, is that the house in which Donald Monk was born?

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