Islanders dedicate hilltop monument to war dead: Sailors lost at sea are remembered 75 years on. John Arlidge reports
Friday 12 November 1993
Residents on the Hebridean island, who were embarrassed that they had 'never got round to building a memorial', gathered on a hilltop above the Atlantic Ocean, where 120 sailors died protecting vital shipping lanes in the First and Second World Wars, to dedicate the monument.
Schoolchildren led prayers in Gaelic and as a piper played before a two-minute silence, Dr David Greer, the local Church of Scotland minister, told the crowd: 'This memorial is not to glorify war or celebrate victory but to remind us of the sacrifice made for justice and peace.'
Veterans of the North Atlantic campaign recalled lost comrades. Neil MacNeil, 75, who joined the Royal Navy aged 19 and spent 12 days adrift in a lifeboat in 1942 after his ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat, said: 'I knew most of the men whose names are recorded. I can still picture them. We were at school together and then we all went to sea. That was how it was when we were young.
'The sea was our livelihood from the Butt of Lewis to Barra Head. You grew up in boats - fishing and sailing - and when you left school you joined the Merchant Navy. When war broke out everyone joined the Royal Navy. Many of the men found their ships torpedoed but if they were rescued they kept on taking supplies across the ocean.'
The two-metre high stone and admiralty brass monument, listing the names of 120 seamen from deckhands to commanders, was built after Captain Roderick MacKinnon, a former master mariner, raised pounds 32,000 in donations. He said: 'Six years ago I saw a man laying a wreath at a war memorial on a neighbouring island and I decided that after 70 years it was time we had one too. It was a collective shame that none had been built but after the war work was scarce. People were too busy trying to find a job to find time for a monument.'
Mr MacNeil added: 'The population went right down to around 1,500 after the war and it became difficult to get the money and the manpower . . . It would have been much better if we had put it up earlier but still, better late than never.'
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination
I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title
- 3 Are you ready for Crazy Doritos, the red-hot snack food craze sweeping Mexico’s streets?
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Isis in Kobani: US resupplies Kurdish fighters by plane - then Turkey allows reinforcements through its border
Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming that the street artist's identity has been revealed
Super-sized ships arrive in Britain: How big can they get?
Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
London bus driver allegedly kicks gay couple off for kissing
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...
£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...
£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...