Title picture: Cloudscapes, Stornoway, 1 February 2017

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Remembering Today - 31 January

On this day in the First World War, this man from the Isle of Lewis lost his life in the service of King & Country. RIP.

Master Mariner JOHN MACKAY
Iain Uisdean

Last address in Lewis: 31 Valtos,
Son of Hugh and Ann Mackay
Regiment or division: Merchant Marine
Date of death: 31 January 1919 at the age of 47
Died at home
Invalided October 1916 with pulmonary trouble
Was sailing on the Australian Coast and received his Master's Certificate in 1911.
Lewis Memorial: Uig, Timsgarry

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Voice comments

I have put on my sidebar the possibility to add a voice comment. It's only a phonecall away; you can even do it on-line through your PC's microphone. To do it by mike, you need to click on my name in the widget and you can add a voice comment from there. Look forward to hearing from y'all.

Blogger returns

I noticed that Mary [frankandmary] has rejoined us on Blogger. She is now writing a journal called Rejected Truth. If you haven't already found her, pay a visit.

Remembering Today - 29 January

On this day in the First World War, these three men from the Isle of Lewis lost their lives in the service of King & Country. RIP.

Seaman COLIN CAMPBELL

Last address in Lewis: 47 North Tolsta
Regiment or division: Royal Naval Reserve, HMS Aquamarine
Date of death: 29 January 1916 at the age of 48
Was swept overboard and drowned
Leaves widow and 6 children
Local memorial: North Tolsta

Leading boatman MALCOLM MACIVER
Last address in Lewis: 7 Steinish
Son of Kenneth and Henrietta MacLeod MacIver, of 12, Branahuie, Stornoway; husband of Annie MacIver, of 7, Steinish, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis.
Regiment or division: Royal Naval Reserve, HMS Jupiter
Service number: 225994
Date of death: January, 29th, 1916 at the age of 48
Died at Port Said
Interred: Port Said War Memorial Cemetery
Memorial reference: J. 17

Leading Seaman DONALD MACDONALD
Last address in Lewis: 20 Knock, Point
Regiment or division: Merchant Marine, SS Glenfruin
Date of death: January, 29th, 1918 at the age of 30
Ship sunk by U-boat
Lewis Memorial: Point (Garrabost)

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Remembering Today - 28 January

On this day in the First World War, these three men from the Isle of Lewis lost their lives in the service of King & Country. RIP.

Private DONALD MONTGOMERY
Last address in Lewis: 29 Lower Garrabost,
Regiment or division: 7th Cameron Highlanders
Service number: 3/5518
Date of death: 28 January 1917 at the age of 19
Killed in action
Memorial: Thiepval
Memorial reference: Pier and Face 15B
Lewis Memorial: Point (Garrabost)

Private WILLIAM MURRAY
Address not recorded
Regiment or division: 2nd Gordon Highlanders
Service number: 29012
Date of death: 28 January 1920
Interred: Eye / Aignish Cemetery
Memorial reference: E. 3. 76


Private DONALD MACAULAY
Last address in Lewis: 12 Murray's Court, Stornoway
Regiment or division: Gordon Highlanders
Date of death: 28 January 1915
Killed in action
Local memorial: Lewis War Memorial

Pictures

As I reported on the Shell Gallery, I have now scanned in a series of pictures taken over the past month in Lewis. Apart from the graveyard pics from North Tolsta, there are a few others as well, shown below. Enjoy!


Preparing for the powercut - that never was


Sunrise, 13 January


Sunset, 9 January


North Beach, Stornoway, the day after the big storm

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Remembering Today - 27 January

On this day in the First World War, these two men from the Isle of Lewis lost their lives in the service of King & Country. RIP.

Leading boatman JOHN MACAULAY

Last address in Lewis: 56 North Shawbost,
Husband of Elizabeth Macaulay, of Dunnet, Thurso, Caithness.
Regiment or division: HM Coastguard, Butt of Lewis Signal Station
Service number: 198280
Date of death: 27 January 1919 at the age of 37
Died in an accident at Butt of Lewis
Interred: Bragar Cemetery
Local memorial: West Side, Bragar

Seaman NORMAN MACLEOD
Last address in Lewis: Stornoway
Regiment or division: Royal Naval Reserve, HMS Andania
Date of death: January, 27th, 1918
Ship sunk by U-boat
Local memorial: Lewis War Memorial

Monday, 26 January 2009

Remembering Today - 26 January

On this day in the First World War, these three men from the Isle of Lewis lost their lives in the service of King & Country. RIP.

Carpenter THOMAS MACLEOD
Last address in Lewis: not recorded
Regiment or division: Merchant Marine
Date of death: 26 January 1917
Drowned in torpedoing of SS Ava

Seaman DONALD MACLEOD
Last address in Lewis: 22 Swordale,
Regiment or division: Royal Naval Reserve, HMS Pembroke
Service number: 2223/D
Date of death: 26 January 1917 at the age of 38
Died of illness at home
Interred: Eye / Aignish Cemetery
Memorial reference: E. 2. 52

Quartermaster MURDO SMITH
Last address in Lewis: 25 Leurbost
Son of Isabella Smith (nee McLeod), of 25, Lurebost, Lochs, Stornoway, and the late John Smith.
Regiment or division: Merchant Marine, SS Ava
Date of death: January, 26th, 1917 at the age of 30
Ship sunk by U-boat
Memorial: Tower Hill
Local memorial: North Lochs, Crossbost

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Remembering Today - 25 January

On this day in the First World War, this man from the Isle of Lewis lost his life in the service of King & Country. RIP.

Seaman DUNCAN NICOLSON
Last address in Lewis: 22 Gravir,
Son of Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm Nicolson, of 22, Gravis, Lochs, Stornoway, Ross-shire. Was present at Antwerp, 1914.
Regiment or division: Royal Naval Reserve, HMS Laurentic
Service number: 5305/A
Date of death: 25 January 1917 at the age of 22
Drowned in sinking of HMS Laurentic
Memorial: Chatham Naval, panel 26
Local memorial: Pairc, Kershader

Burns Night 2009

Is there, for honest poverty
That hings his head, and a' that;
The coward-slave we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, and a' that
Our toils obscure, and a' that
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The Man's the gowd for a' that -

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, and a' that,
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine,
A Man's a man for a' that.
For a' that, and a' that,
Their tinsel show and a' that;
The honest man, though e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that. -

Then let us pray that come it may,
As come it will for a' that,
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth
Shall bear the gree, and a' that.
For a' that and a' that.
It's comin yet for a' that
That Man to Man the warld o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Blogging

Please be advised that I am currently blogging on the Shell Gallery until 2 February.

Remembering Today - 24 January

On this day in the First World War, this man from the Isle of Lewis lost his life in the service of King & Country. RIP.

Private MALCOLM MACLEOD
Last address in Lewis: 35 Bayhead Street, Stornoway
Regiment or division: Scottish Rifles
Date of death: 24 January 1917 at the age of 19
Died of wounds sustained previously day at casualty clearing station
keen to serve in the war, he joined up in Glasgow and got himself drafted for foreign service after only 3 months' training. After a fortnight at the Base he was sent into the firing line, and on his second day in the trenches was mortally wounded
Local memorial: Lewis War Memorial

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Wind & rain

Winter in the Western Isles of Scotland isn't so much cold, more like wet and windy. Last Saturday's 100 mph winds were extreme, but by no means unheard of. I am at a latitude of 58 degrees north, but on an island in the North Atlantic, 40 miles off the north coast of Scotland. The 'warm' Gulf Streams laps our shores, although water temperatures of 10C / 50F do not rank as particularly tropical. However, if you cast your eyes west towards the equivalent coast in North America, you'll come across Labrador. Currently, their daytime maximum temps range from 0 to -20C (that's 30 to 0F). Ours rarely sink below zero in the daytime.

In summer, temperatures are equally moderate; last summer's highs of 25C / 77F were very unusual. It is found to be 'hot' if the mercury exceeds 20C / 68F.

When I travel to Holland tomorrow, I shall be flying via Glasgow and London Gatwick. The latter airport will be lashed by winds up to 60 mph, so I can look forward to a fair bit of disruption. And waiting at airports is one of my least favourite pastimes.

22 January

Blustery old day, but mainly dry. Sun is out as I type, and that has been the rule through the morning as well.

Gather that Obama felt he had to retake his oath of office, after the Chief Justice and himself fluffed their lines on Tuesday. Better double safe was the mostly likely line of reasoning.

A subsidy for the golf course at Scarista in Harris has been withheld by Sportscotland, because the course is not open on Sunday, out of respect for Sabbath observation in the island. Sportscotland have stated that it will only award subsidies if there is no discrimination present in the facility in question, and if it is open 7 days a week. Scarista's golf course is located in the dunes right above the beach on the western shore of the island, with stunning views to the mountains in North Harris. The Western Isles MP has come out forcefully against the decision, but in my mind, the closure of Scarista on Sunday is one of those unfortunate contradictions. It ranks shoulder to shoulder with planes flying out of the airport at Stornoway on Sunday, but no ferry out of the port.

Tomorrow, I shall be travelling to Holland for a 10-day visit, partly to celebrate my father's birthday. Although my last visit ended only 17 days ago, it is one of those important milestones that follow the death of a close relative. Unless I find something else to write about before tonight, I shall resume posting on the Shell Gallery on Saturday 24 January. That will also be the day that the Remembering Today entries will continue on Atlantic Lines. There were no casualties from Lewis that fell on January 21st, 22nd or 23rd in any year of the First World War.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Remembering Today - 20 January

On this day in the First World War, these four men from the Isle of Lewis lost their lives in the service of King & Country. RIP.

Seaman EVANDER MACDONALD

Son of Angus and Catherine Ferguson McDonald, of Back, Stornoway; husband of Catherine McLennan McDonald, of 15, Coll, Back, Stornoway, Ross-shire.
Last address in Lewis: 15 Coll
Service, unit: Mercantile Marine, SS Bulgarian
Service number: 2797/C
Date of death: 20 January 1917 at the age of 40
Ship sunk by U-boat
Memorial / cemetery: Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 26
Served in the South African War.

Seaman MURDO MACLEOD
Son of John Macleod, of 18, Lower Shader, Barvas, Stornoway.
Last address in Lewis: 18 Lower Shader
Service, unit: Royal Naval Reserve, HMS Victory
Service number: 4444/A
Date of death: 20 January 1919 at the age of 28
Was invalided home and died there
Memorial / cemetery: Barvas Cemetery
Local memorial: North Lewis, Borve

Leading Seaman ALEX MORRISON
Son of Norman and Annie Morrison, of Stornoway, Ross-shire.
Last address in Lewis: 19 South Dell
Service, unit: Royal Naval Reserve, SS Bulgarian
Service number: 3763/A
Date of death: 20 January 1917 at the age of 29
Ship sunk by U-boat
Memorial / cemetery: Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 26
Local memorial: North Lewis, Cross
Survived sinking of HMS Fisguard

Seaman ANGUS MORRISON
Son of Norman and Annie Morrison, of Port of Ness, Stornoway; husband of Cathrine Morrison, of 32, Habost, Port of Ness, Stornoway.
Last address in Lewis: 19 South Dell
Service, unit: Royal Naval Reserve, HMS Louvain
Service number: 2782/B
Date of death: 20 January 1918 at the age of 35
Ship sunk by U-boat
Memorial / cemetery: Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 30
Local memorial: North Lewis, Cross

This is the posting for 20 January, although today is January 21st

The final Bushism

When Barack Obama entered the Oval Office at 8.35 am this morning, he observed a minute's silence. He then opened the note, left by his predecessor George W. Bush, marked: "For number 44, from number 34".

Source: NOS.nl,
translated by myself.

EDIT: BBC.co.uk reports that the note was actually marked "For number 44, from number 43". Sounds like the NOS tripped up badly here.

Out of date

Was browsing the web, when I came across a website, claiming to be for the ferry service between Rosyth (near Edinburgh) and Zeebrugge (Belgium). This link was discontinued last autumn, but could be resumed later this year. Visiting the superscotland.com site, I came across a competition. No, I did not make an entry.

All entries must be received no later than April 30th 2003

Think someone has abandoned their site and never looked at it again.

21 January

Reaasonable day, with brightness and some showers around. Temperature stands at a meagre 5C / 41F. I gather that the severe cold in the eastern USA has abated somewhat. Tropical cyclone Fanele has made landfall in Madagascar this morning; I am awaiting reports of its impact. The last bulletin from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center on this system (before it came ashore) suggested that maximum sustained winds around Fanele's centre would peak at 115 mph.

Any GPs out there interested in a job in Applecross? This tiny community, facing the Isle of Skye on the Scottish mainland, is short of a family doctor, and is pulling out the stops to attract applicants. Read more here.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Evening notes

Barack Obama is now the 44th president of the USA, and he made an impressive speech at his inauguration, just after midday EST (5pm GMT). One of his first acts is to close the prisoncamp at Guantanamo Bay on Cuba, an order that will be issued within 48 hours.

Guantanamo Bay means Bay of Pigs, and there are serious allegations that the prisoners held there have been treated like pigs by their custodians. Who themselves behaved like pigs in doing so. Good riddance to a stain on America's record. Holding suspects without prospect of a fair trial under any jurisdiction is in total contradiction to anything the Land of the Free stands for. If any of the people held at Guantanamo is suspected of any wrong doing, they should be afforded a fair trial under international law, such as the International Courts at The Hague.

As I said in my mobile posting on Facebook, words have to be matched by actions. The closure of Camp Delta is a positive move. In his speech, Obama openly listed the problems he faces as president of the USA, both at home and abroad. He carries a burden of expectation, to which his speech only added.

Tropical cyclone Fanele is approaching the Malagasy coast, and will deal a hammerblow as a category III hurricane. That is already bad enough if it happens on the American Gulf Coast or Florida, but for a nation like Madagascar, it is devastating. It has felt the pinch from both sides, as tropical cyclone Eric, a minor tropical storm, swiped the country's east coast with heavy rains.

Hurricane update - 20 January

Tropical cyclone Fanele has done the dirty on Madagascar, and has intensified explosively to a category II hurricane. At present, the storm is headed for the southwesterly provinces of the island nation, and will strike tomorrow morning at 0600 GMT (1000 hours local time) with winds of 90 knots or 160 km/h.

PLEASE RELAY

20 January

After a clear night and nice start to the day, Tuesday is now a rainlashed and windswept old day. So, it'll be a good excuse for watching television, the inauguration of Barack Obama as 44th president of the USA. I wish him well at this difficult time.

Now that Israel has ended its military operations in Gaza, the resulting damage is becoming clear. As per usual, Israel's iron fisted approach will only serve to further antagonise the Palestinians against them, driving people into the hands of extremists. Allegations that same extremists set up positions deliberately near schools and hospitals cannot be independently verified. On the other hand, firing rockets at Israeli civilians targets out of Gaza was bound to elicit a response from Israel. This festering sore will continue to fester, with no hope of a resolution.

The weekend storms here in the Hebrides have left a trail of damage; more than a dozen cars had to be written off at Arnol, 15 miles north of Stornoway, after a wall collapsed on top of them. Conservatories and greenhouses were blown away and electricity supplies were interrupted. South Beach Street, part of the main thoroughfare in the town of Stornoway, has been closed to traffic because scaffolding on the Town Hall was destabilised by the 100 mph gusts of wind. They were left by a company, since gone bankrupt, which was repairing crumbling masonry late in 2008.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Remembering Today - 19 January

On this day in the First World War, these two men from the Isle of Lewis lost their lives in the service of King & Country. RIP.

Sapper FINLAY SMITH
Last address in Lewis: 19 Habost, Ness,
Son of Mary Smith, of 19, Habost, Ness, Stornoway, Scotland, and the late John Smith.
Regiment or division: Canadian Engineers
Service number: 887744
Date of death: 19 January 1919 at the age of 29
Wounded in action in France and lost the sight of this left eye. Returned to Canada after discharge and died of pneumonia.
Interred: Saskatoon (Woodlawn) Cemetery
Memorial reference: War P. 44. B. 55. G. C.
Local memorial: North Lewis, Cross

Private DONALD SNEDDON
Last address in Lewis: 39A Balallan,
Regiment or division: Cameron Highlanders
Date of death: 19 January 1916
Local memorial: Kinloch, Laxay

Hurricane update - 19 January

Tropical cyclone Fanele is currently in the Mozambique Channel, between Mozambique and Madagascar, to the southeast of Africa. This system is carrying winds of 50 knots (up to 60 mph), and will slowly gather further strength before making landfall in southwestern Madagascar on Thursday as a category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. The storm will likely make landfall in the Southwestern Region (Atsimo-Andrefana, in Toliara province). Bearing in mind the impact of other cyclones on Madagascar (one of the poorest countries on earth), the effect of Fanele will most likely be severe.

PLEASE RELAY

19 January

Although the highest of the winds have disappeared, the weather remains wild and windy in the islands. It prompted some unusual measures last night, when a woman gave birth to twins prematurely at 27 weeks in the Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway. A Royal Navy Sea King helicopter brought two consultants from Glasgow, but conditions were deemed too severe for the helicopter to take the babies and doctors back. So, the duty Hercules was scrambled from RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire to take them over to Glasgow, where they arrived at 7 am this morning. The babies are described as being in a very poorly condition; their mother remains in hospital here in Stornoway, but is expected to join them tomorrow.

President-elect Barack Obama will be sworn in tomorrow; a day after Martin Luther King day, which is today. MLK would have celebrated his 80th birthday today. He was assinated 40 years ago. Whether the election of a dark-skinned president goes some way towards realising King's dream is the object of many a person's hope in America, like I wrote yesterday. I hope it does.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Remembering Today - 18 January

On this day in the First World War, this man from the Isle of Lewis lost his life in the service of King & Country. RIP.

Seaman MURDO MACKAY
Last address in Lewis: 13 Aignish
Son of John MacKay, of 13, Aignish, Stornoway.
Regiment / service: HMS Vivid, Royal Naval Reserve
Service number: 3093/A
Date of death: 18 January 1917 at the age of 26
Died in Plymouth Hospital
Memorial / cemetery: Aignish / Eye cemetery, E. 3. 60
Local memorial: Point (Garrabost)
Took part in the defence of Antwerp and was one of the few RNR men who escaped after the fall of that city, making his way on foot across Holland dressed in clothes given to him by a friendly Dutch farmer.

Grief

I read a blog, written by American author Elizabeth M. Parsons. Today, she wrote about Letting Go. How do you handle grief, in other words. My response was:

Every person is the sum total of their personality and their experiences in life. Grief is a natural and necessary emotion to come to terms with loss. It cannot be banished altogether, as that would warp your personality. The people that have passed on were once an integral part of your life, so sadness at their loss is normal. However, neither can you allow grief to take over your life, as that would carry the same peril.

Read Liza's post, and leave a comment - both there and at this post.

Obama

Barack Obama will be inaugurated as 44th president of the United States of America on Tuesday, January 20th. Expectations are high, from a multitude of quarters. George 'Dubya' Bush is bowing out as one of the most impopular presidents in US history, and the reasons for that are well documented.

Obama, as a dark-skinned man, carries a burden of expectation from non-white Americans. Several decades on from the abolition of segregation in America, there are still vast differences between various sections of society related to race and ethnicity. The emphasis seems to have shifted a bit towards Latino Americans (from south of the Rio Grande), on account of a large influx of illegal immigrants. But the disaster created by hurricane Katrina in 2005 has underlined the problems still existing regarding African Americans.

American foreign policy does not serve to make it friends in every corner of the globe. The newly ended war in the Gaza Strip was a timely reminder of the festering sore called the Middle East. America's unwavering support for Israel and its iron-fisted approach towards the Palestinian problem at the very least raises eyebrows. The Palestinian problem is one of the Israelis own making, after kicking out hundreds of thousands of people from their homes in the 1940s, and then leaving them without hope or prospects in sprawling refugee camps on the periphery of the Jewish state. A fertile breeding ground for extremist nutcases, using religion as a pretext for any old atrocity, citing the treatment of Palestinians as justification for their deeds. I do not foresee a resolution for the Palestinian question under Obama's tenure of the White House (2009-2012).

Iraq does give food for hope, and I'm not saying that to fill this post with words. The Iraqis themselves have kicked out a large section of Al-Qa'eda militants of their own accords. It is a justified demand that foreign troops remaining in their country leave at the earliest opportunity. In spite of a steady trickle of car-bombs in Baghdad and other places, this could still be achievable in Obama's time as 44th president without Iraq descending into anarchy and succumbing to the lure of Al-Qa'eda or indeed Iran-inspired extremism.

Generally, I hope that Obama manages to avoid the mistake, made by every US president since 1776, that solving any foreign problem with an impact on the USA just requires despatching the US Cavalry and think of the consequences later. Will Obama manage to kick out Robert Mugabe?

18 January

Well, we weathered the storm and have come out the other end without problems. Apart from a town-wide bindance and some stray litter, nothing much has been damaged as a result of the storm. There was a fire in the town overnight, but that was not related to the wind. It has claimed one life.

The winds continue to cause disruption on ferry sailings, as more gales (this time of force 8 only) are forecast, particularly further south.

Sunday dawned grey and cold, and when I went out for an exploratory walk at lunchtime, some pretty heavy snow was falling. Temperatures are too high for it to settle.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Height of the storm

Winds of 103 mph, curtains of seaspray flying in. Metal penals blown off a gate, flown away to heaven knows where. Lethal projectiles in this weather. Bin fell over full of bottles, cannot go outside to investigate, too dangerous. Streetlights failing here and there, can't see the Coastguard Station lights (200 yards away) at times through spray.

Remembering Today - 17 January

On this day in the First World War, these two men from the Isle of Lewis lost their lives in the service of King & Country. RIP.

Sergeant WILLIAM HECTOR MATHESON
Last address in Lewis: Seaforth House, 23 Scotland Street, Stornoway
Son of Mr. and Mrs. Murdo Matheson, of 72, Church St., Ayr, Scotland. Native of Stornaway, Isle of Lewis.
Regiment or division: 20th Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment)
Service number: 57775
Date of death: 17 January 1917 at the age of 36
Killed in action
Interred: Maroc British Cemetery, Grenay
Memorial reference: I. M. 17
Local memorial: Lewis War Memorial

Seaman DONALD MACDONALD
Last address in Lewis: 20 Crowlista,
Son of Donald and Margaret Macdonald, of 20, Crowlista, Miavaig, Stornoway, Ross-shire.
Regiment or division: Merchant Marine, SS Windsor Hall
Service number: 3911/A
Date of death: 17 January 1918 at the age of 28
Ship sunk by torpedo
Memorial: Chatham Naval
Memorial reference: 30
Lewis Memorial: Uig, Timsgarry


Stormy night

The wind has picked up since about 7.30pm, and at last reading (8.20pm) was blowing at 56 mph, with gusts to 78 mph. Bits and pieces flying about, some streetlights are out. One person was killed when her car was struck by a falling tree in Northern Ireland earlier on. The automated weatherstation at Eoropie, near the Butt of Lewis (25 miles north of here) ceased to transmit data about 10 minutes ago.

The public advice is for people to stay inside and not to travel. Bus services here in Lewis stopped running at 6pm. The height of the storm will coincide with high tide between 10 and 12 o'clock tonight, which may also cause problems.

Here we go

From 7pm onwards, this severe weather warning applies to us:

Severe gale or storm force winds are expected over the Hebrides and the western fringes of the mainland later today and tonight. Gusts of 90 to 100mph are likely with some disruption to power supplies and transport, and danger to life.

17 January

My attention is focused on an Atlantic low-pressure system that is currently heading our way. Its central pressure will deepen from 980 mbar at midnight last night to 945 mbar tonight. That's a very fast rate of development, and the weather charts tell me to expect very high winds. Gusts to 90 mph are forecast for the night. We're battening down the hatches up here. At the moment, it is bright and sunny, with a stiff breeze from the south. It is cold, only +4C. I know, over in the States there are places down to -35C at the moment (that's -30F).

The search for the 21-year old Merchant Navy cadet, missing since Boxing Day, continues in South Uist. The official search has been called off, but individual islanders are still going round.

The credit crunch is a prominent piece of news at the moment, and it is already having quite a serious effect on the economy. Chains of highstreet stores are closing down every day, car producers are feeling the pinch. And in the last four months ago, the oil producing nations around the Arabian peninsula have lost 2.5 trillion dollars in revenue. I am desperately searching for my ounce of compassion.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Strange alert

I was checking the National Weather Service website when amongst all the possible alerts related to extreme weather featured a Child Abduction Alert. Curiosity drew me there - you can find it here. It is an effective way of drawing the public's attention to such an emergency. But a bit strange on a weather site nonetheless.

Extreme weather: high winds

We have a severe weather warning out for our area. Comhairle nan Eilean Siar = Western Isles Council.
  • Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Northern Constabulary are monitoring weather conditions in the Outer Hebrides as high winds are expected tomorrow night through to Sunday morning. Drivers are urged to exercise caution.
  • Mainly Southerly winds of up to 80-90mph are predicted during the overnight period and particularly around midnight. High tide will also occur around midnight.
  • If the weather becomes severe, people are advised to stay indoors and not travel. Loose objects lying around in gardens etc. should be put away or secured.
  • Neighbours and friends may wish to check that elderly people are okay.
  • Bus services could be subject to alterations on Saturday night.
  • The Comhairle and the Police will continue to monitor the situation and further information will be issued as appropriate through the media.

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Beware when buying medicines off the Net. They may be counterfeit.

Friday 16 January

Good morning from a bright but windy Stornoway. Windy? Wait until midnight tomorrow night and you'll see us with winds of 50 mph and more. At the moment, it's doing 30 mph, so Aeolus is nicely sticking to the speedlimit.

Zimbabwe continues to be the number 1 disaster country in the world. The central bank has issued a banknote for 100,000,000,000,000 Z$, worth about 30 US$ at this moment. Inflation is running at 231,000,000%. Apart from the economy, health care is also in a state of collapse. Robert Mugabe was once a hero for his country. He has managed to wreck it.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Evening notes

I am very relieved that the aircrash in New York City, where an airbus came down in the Hudson River, claimed no lives. The A320 struck a flock of birds, disabling its engines, and forcing the pilot to bring the plane to an emergency landing in the Hudson River. Passengers then evacuated the aircraft and stood on its wings and fuselage awaiting rescue. Ferry boats quickly came to their aid, and all 148 passengers and crew are safe.

The British government announced today that Heathrow Airport, west of London, will have a third runway. This means that hundreds of houses nearby will have to be demolished. It is claimed that tens of thousands of jobs will be created, and the congestion in the air alleviated. More details here.
John McDonnell, who is the MP for Hayes and Harlington, the constituency in which Heathrow lies, walked onto the floor of the House and seized the ceremonial Commons Mace in protest. He was named by the Deputy Speaker, which means the Honourable Member is censured - in the case of Mr McDonnell, he is banned from the House for a week.

If you are in the eastern or central USA, please take care in the current extreme conditions. I have access to a website showing weather conditions across the States, and I don't envy anyone who has to put up with daytime temperatures of -30C. Strange to see temperatures in California up to +25C at the same time.

Remembering Today - 15 January

On this day in the First World War, this man from the Isle of Lewis lost his life in the service of King & Country. RIP.

Able Seaman DONALD MACLEOD

Last address in Lewis: 23 Lower Garrabost,
Son of Donald and Christina Macleod, of 23, Garrabost, Stornoway, Lewis.
Regiment or division: Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, HMS Attentive II
Service number: Mersey Z/769
Date of death: 15 January 1917 at the age of 22
Died of wounds, in hospital
Interred: Ramscappelle Road Military Cemetery, Belgium
Memorial reference: IV. D. 4.
Lewis Memorial: Point (Garrabost)

Windy nook


We're in for a couple of rough days out here. The lampposts swing in the wind, you can barely walk up or down the street and bits and pieces go thump in the night. The Calmac disruptions table (that's the ferries, shown above) has more red/orange than green, meaning that nothing moves. And it's only a force 7 (gusting to 45 mph). On Saturday, we can look forward to our third storm of the winter. One positive note: after my iced-up feet of yesterday (outside temps of 4C), it is now a lot milder at 10C, as I indicated in previous posting.

15 January

Breezy day, with the wind up to force 7 at the moment. Temperature has risen through the night, from 4C at sunset to 10C at the moment. Saturday looks like a very stormy day, possibly the third force 11 storm this winter.

The islanders of Rum voted 15 to 2 in favour of taking control of their own island. No indigenous islanders are left, they are all employees of SNH. However, they are determined to make it a place for themselves, and I wish them every success. Kinloch Castle is not included in the buy-out; that remains in the stewardship of SNH.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

The Internet

Do you remember sitting in a chatroom, watching people chat, or even chatting yourself? Do you remember receiving so many forwards that your mailbox was ready to explode? How about receiving an email from someone just searching for a friend. Did you wonder who these people might be that are behind the keyboard?

Online we meet new people from all around the world. Some we chat with just once and then we go on. Others we chat with time and time again, and a friendship is made. Others become our email buddies, and we look forward to their emails each day, but have you ever really wondered who was really behind the keyboard?

So often we meet a friend in chat we stay up all night chatting, sometimes we laugh so hard we cannot type, other times we cry and our keyboards are stained from tears. We chat about our lives and help solve each others' problems, we lend a shoulder if we can. Did you ever think to yourself,

who is really behind that keyboard?

Did you ever chat with someone that promised you the world and that your friendship will be forever, and then they are gone? Do you forget about them and move on, or do you wonder "who was that person really, that was behind the keyboard?

Have you ever hid behind your keyboard, pretending to be something you are not, just to boost your ego? As you sat there and typed have you ever lied, thinking "who cares, the person behind the keyboard, it is only a fake person?" Did you ever hurt someone thinking "it's only a game"?

Well, behind each and every keyboard are very real people, some might be heartless cold people, not caring who they hurt, but then there are people that are caring, loyal, honest and all kinds of people hoping for some companionship online.

Behind the keyboard can be someone who is seriously depressed and their only hope is to make a friend, maybe an aging person who once had a family, but now they live too far apart to see one another, perhaps there is someone that cannot walk anymore or a
person so ill they are in the house forever.

As we enter the world of the internet we should remember, it is a very real world and behind each and every keyboard is a person who has a heart. No one has a life that is pain free, so as we go online whether in chat or just emailing, we must remember to treat each person the way we want to be treated, to respect each others' feelings, and to offer friendship, because the truth is we really do not know who is behind the keyboard or what kind of hurt someone may be feeling. To be the best to others that you can be should be the "key" to a good, honest life.

Forwarded to me in 2005

Remembering Today - 14 January

On this day in the First World War, this man from the Isle of Lewis lost his life in the service of King & Country. RIP.

Seaman MURDO GUNN
Last address in Lewis: North Tolsta
Regiment or division: Royal Navy, HMS Pembroke I
Service number: 1565/C
Date of death: January, 14th, 1920 at the age of 44
Died of illness
Interred: North Tolsta Cemetery, Lewis

Photo videos

In October 2008, I travelled to Orkney. As per usual on such an occasion, I came back with a large number of pictures. I have now compiled those into photo-videos. Enjoy!



October 4

October 5

October 6

October 7

October 8

Isle of Rum

In my previous post, I mentioned the island of Rum. Just a few facts.

Rum was cleared of its indigenous population in the 1820s, who were packed off to Canada. None now remain. Private owners have kept the island as their playground, taking them shooting and fishing. At the end of the 19th century, the Bullough family, textile tycoons from Accrington in Lancashire (England) decided to build a castle there. Kinloch Castle remains as it was at the start of the 20th century, with mind-boggling opulence in an area of Scotland more noted for its grinding poverty at the time. A Steinway grand-piano (which I played twice), 8 ft high Japanese vases, a billiard room. At one time, conservatories lined the exterior of the castle, fully heated. Humming birds flitted around these, until the central heating broke. Their remains are now pinned up in a glass case. Kinloch Castle was occupied by its owner for 6 weeks out of every 52 in the year. Its demise began with the First World War, when the staff were called up. By 1957, the last owner, Lady Monica, had been taken across the island to be laid to rest in the family mausoleum at Harris (different from the Harris south of Lewis). The Nature Conservancy Council were gifted the island for a nominal amount, and they established a study area for red deer.

Rum is a stunning place, but also very sad. Author John Love wrote a book about its history, called A Landscape without Figures. Permanent population 0. Current population is all workers for SNH (successor to NCC).

This set on Flickr.com shows 128 images of the island, including many from within Kinloch Castle. I told its history in a post on Northern Trip from October 2007, when I last visited. A photo compilation can be viewed here. The orchestrion plays here.

14 January 2009

Bright and sunny day out here, with no wind. Temperatures not very high, 4C / 39F, and high-level cloud is moving in from the south.

In the Isle of Rum, 100 miles south of here, residents are voting to take over management of certain amenities. Rum is an island, measuring 8 by 8 miles, showing a diamond shape on the map. It has some stunning scenery, with mountains rearing up to 2,800 feet about sealevel. It has been owned by government agency Scottish Natural Heritage (and its predecessors) since 1957, and was a study area for red deer for many years. The 17 adults who are eligible to vote are expected to agree to the takeover. Their plans include the establishment of 5 new crofts and the building of new housing, which would take the number of residents from 30 to 80. I'll devote a separate post to the island. Knowing one of the prime movers behind this buy-out move personally, I have no doubt that this will be a success.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Remembering Today - 13 January

On this day in the First World War, these four men from the Isle of Lewis lost their lives in the service of King & Country. RIP.

Seaman JOHN STEWART
Last address in Lewis: 50 Vatisker
Son of Kenneth Stewart, of 50, Vatisker, Back, Stornoway.
Regiment / service: HMS Pembroke, Royal Navy
Service number: 3131/A
Date of death: 13 January 1917 at the age of 27
Died of illness
Memorial / cemetery: Gress Cemetery
Local memorial: Back

Seaman DUNCAN MACKINNON
Last address in Lewis: 18 Brue
Son of Malcolm and Kirsty McKinnon, of Brue Barvas; husband of Annie McKinnon, of 18, Brue Barvas, Stornoway, Ross-shire.
Regiment / service: HMS Viknor, Royal Naval Reserve
Service number: 3053/B
Date of death: 13 January 1915 at the age of 40
Drowned in mining of HMS Viknor
Memorial: Chatham Naval, panel 14

Seaman ALEX MACIVER
Last address in Lewis: 26 Leurbost
Son of Donald and Margaret Maciver, of 26, Luerbost, Locks, Stornoway, Ross-shire.
Regiment / service: HMS Viknor, Royal Naval Reserve
Service number: 2523A
Date of death: 13 January 1915 at the age of 24
Ship sunk by mine
Memorial / cemetery: Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 14

Private KENNETH MACINNES
Last address in Lewis: 3 Coulregrein
Regiment / service: 1st, Seaforth Highlanders
Service number: 10637
Date of death: 13 January 1916
Killed in action in Mesopotamia
Memorial / cemetery: Basra Memorial, Iraq, Panel 37 and 64
Local memorial: Lewis War Memorial

Close of era

Ken points out that when the Bush family leave the White House in a week from now, they will do so minus one family member: their cat. The 18-year old feline died on Sunday.

I never had a lot of time for George W.'s politics (Iraq, Katrina, US healthcare to name but a few disasters), but as a cat-lover myself feel very sad that he and his family lost Sierra. Her death will certainly mark the end of an era, in more ways than one.

From a personal point of view, I wish them well.

13 January

Bright and sunny this afternoon, not cloudless though. Am watching the lunchtime ferry coming into port, a wee bit on the late side. Further south, the search is continuing for the seaman, who went missing in the early hours of Boxing Day. A helicopter undertook several sweeps of the area in the north of the island of South Uist, some 75 miles south of Stornoway. No trace was found, in spite of hopes that gales over the weekend would have uncovered something.

An on-line petition has been set up to be handed to Prime Minister Gordon Brown by April 20th, for him to investigate the excessive delivery charges for people in remote areas of Scotland, such as the Western Isles and Highlands. Anything delivered by Royal Mail, provided it weighs less than 25 kg, will be subject to one rate irrespective of destination. The same should apply to private delivery companies. Please note: only UK residents can sign the petition.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Remembering Today - 12 January

On this day in the First World War, this man from the Isle of Lewis lost his life in the service of King & Country. RIP.

Seaman KENNETH JOHN MACLEOD
Last address in Lewis: 27 Upper Bayble
Regiment / service: Royal Naval Reserve
Date of death: 12 January 1918 at the age of 24
Drowned off Italian coast
Local memorial: Point (Garrabost)
Served with Gordons, discharged with strained heart, resulting from lifting heavy sandbags in trenches. Joined Navy.

Kidney cancer support network

Jane, who suffers from kidney cancer, has written about an internet-based support network for sufferers, carers and others interested in that form of cancer. I would like to take this opportunity to relay the link - also check out Jane's post.

12 January

Good morning from the Western Isles, where the weather has finally come out of its weekend funk. The sun is out (through some grey clouds) and the rain has stopped - just. The gales that have buffeted us for two days have ceased.

Today 4 years ago, the islanders of South Uist were faced with the fact that five of their number had perished in the hurricane of the preceding night. Two children, their parents and a grandfather drowned when the cars they were travelling in were swamped and carried away by waves on the South Ford causeway, linking South Uist to Benbecula to the north. Their death is remembered today. The abiding image of that tragedy is reproduced below, courtesy BBC News.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Meme

Picked up this one from Linda's blog (Linda in WA).

Just boldface the items that you HAVE done, and leave the rest normal…

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33 Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (what's with all of the Paris questions?!)
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets, or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (ew!)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Time



The Stornoway arts centre An Lanntair [The Lantern] was built in 2004/5. At the time, a time-lapse camera on the ferry terminal (just a little distance away) was recording progress. The above video shows the result. The poem Time, read in English and Gaelic, is by local poet Murdo MacFarlane who died 25 years ago. More info on this blog.

A year to go

On January 16th, solo sailor Reid Stowe will only have 365 days (i.e. 1 year) to go of his 1000 days at sea challenge. He left the United States 629 days ago on board the schooner Anne to remain at sea for 1000 days, without touching land or without resupplies. Although his fellow sailor, Soanya, had to leave the ship in 2008 (due to pregnancy), Reid has carried on. At the moment, he is headed southeast down the southern Pacific, making towards Cape Horn. Read more here.

11 January

Today is very unpleasant with strong winds and heavy rain at times. Winds are at galeforce with occasional showers. Not much improvement in sight over the next few days. The frost of recent weeks will be swept out of southern areas of the UK today. Spare a thought for the people of Queensland, who will find their night disturbed by tropical cyclone Charlotte. This is coming ashore in the far south of the Gulf of Carpentaria with winds of 40 mph. About as bad as we're having here, except the rainfall totals will be a lot higher.

Four years ago today, hurricane force winds swept the Western Isles, claiming 5 lives in the process. Damage was severe, with flooding and wind damage. My diary entry for the day can be found here.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Journals reading

I’ve been terribly remiss this week in not reading journals. At all. Apologies. Will make an effort tomorrow, as it is just a little bit selfish to write but not read.

Remembering Today - 10 January

On this day in the First World War, these two men from the Isle of Lewis lost their lives in the service of King & Country. RIP.

Gunner MALCOLM MACLEOD
Last address in Lewis: 5 Knock, Point,
Regiment / service: SS Mereddio, Mercantile Marine
Service number: 4440A
Date of death: 10 January 1918 at the age of 20
Missing following sinking of ship
Memorial / cemetery: Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 30
Local memorial: Point (Garrabost)

Chief Officer NORMAN MACLEOD
Last address in Lewis: 10 Bells Road, Stornoway
Regiment / service: SS Yankalilla, Mercantile Marine
Date of death: 10 January 1919
Died of influenza on board ship

Evening notes

I am posting this via Windows Live Writer, which I just downloaded. You can write posts off-line, add anything you want to add, and post it once you are on-line. I don’t know how I’m going to like this, but it might be an idea for those of you with unreliable internet connections. Google “Windows Live Writer” to download the latest version.

The gale has ceased, but it remains windy. The ferry went out on time at 2.30pm, and is expected back at 9pm. This is the current Saturday schedule, but I can’t imagine it would be a very enjoyable crossing today.

Am going to make supper in a minute, an Indonesian dish called Nasi Goreng, using dried herbs which I brought in from Holland on Monday. Should be interesting.

10 January

Filthy weather today, with a force 9 gale blowing in from the Atlantic. The satellite picture shows the back of the rain approaching rapidly from the west. No ferries this morning, but the services will be reviewed by lunchtime. Quite a few people visit the Western Isles in winter, to see weather like this. I am always interested in extreme weather, although I won't readily venture outside. Was asked what it was like to drive in conditions like this - I cannot advise (don't drive), but would think you'd have to be extra careful.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Remembering Today - 9 January

On this day in the First World War, this man from the Isle of Lewis lost his life in the service of King & Country. RIP.

Corporal LOUIS MACLEAY
Last address in Lewis: 14 Ballantrushal,
Son of Roderick and Margaret Macleay, of 14, Ballantrushal, Barvas, Stornoway.
Regiment or division: "B" Coy. 7th Seaforth Highlanders
Service number: 204506
Date of death: 9 January 1918 at the age of 19
Died of wounds
Interred: Tincourt New British Cemetery
Memorial reference: IV. E. 10.
Local memorial: North Lewis, Borve

His brother, Roderick MacLeay, perished on 18 May 1915 on the Western Front.

9 January

An overcast day in the Western Isles, with the wind set to increase from its current strength of 30 mph (force 6 to 7) to severe gale force later tonight. The first gale of the year. At the moment, we're the warmest place in the UK, with a tropical +8C on the thermometer. Over the weekend, that will rise further to possibly 12C / 54F. The Atlantic is flexing its muscles, pushing the cold out of England in the next few days.

I'm going to have fun and games today, as my trial version of Norton Security expires. This means I won't be getting updates anymore. Problem with Norton is that you have to get updates manually, which is a pain. So, I'm going to chuck Norton and replace it with AVG for virus protection and ZoneAlarm for firewall and spyware.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Four years ago

Was browsing through my archives (remember Northern Trip?), and came across a diary entry for 8 January 2005. At the time, I was in the village of Kershader, 22 miles south of Stornoway, and the bus journey there was a seriously wintry affair, with a thick layer of ice on the road just south of Leurbost. Three days later, hurricane force winds slammed the islands, with gusts up to 134 mph. Five people lost their lives in the South Ford between Benbecula and South Uist, when the two cars they were travelling in were swept into the sea by a huge wave. Since Boxing Day, people have been scouring the island of South Uist for a 21-year old seaman who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. On land, at sea and under water - not a trace.

The first 100 days

I noticed that my Blogoversary button announced that the (first) anniversary of Atlantic Lines will be in 266 days' time. Meaning, that we've been on the go for 100 days tomorrow. It was on September 30th that AOL kindly informed us that we'd lose AOL J-land on October 31st. Consequently, a lot of us shut up shop with AOL and moved to Blogger. Much has happened since the shut-down. My own participation has dwindled substantially for various reasons, to a few posts each day, down from about a dozen every day until May 2008.

I hope that things will continue to come together, and that we can pull a long nose at AOHell come October 2009.

Remembering Today - 8 January

On this day in the First World War, these three men from the Isle of Lewis lost their lives in the service of King & Country. RIP.

Private DONALD MACKAY

Last address in Lewis: 3 Back,
Regiment or division: 2nd Gordon Highlanders
Service number: 3/5956
Date of death: 8 January 1915
Killed in action
Interred: Rue-Petillon Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix
Memorial reference: I. C. 41.
Lewis Memorial: Back

Leading Seaman ALLAN MACKINNON
Last address in Lewis: 18 Brue,
Son of Malcolm and Christina MacKinnon (nee Matheson), of Brue, Barvas, Lewis; husband of Effie MacKinnon, of 61, South Bragar, Barvas, Stornoway, Lewis.
Regiment or division: Royal Naval Reserve, SS Torcello
Service number: 3322C
Date of death: 8 January 1917 at the age of 37
Died of dysentry in Alexandria
Interred: Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery
Memorial reference: A 25

Private MURDO MACKAY

Last address in Lewis: 48 Carloway,
Son of Malcolm and Marion Macleod MacKay, of 48, Carloway, Isle of Lewis.
Regiment or division: 1st Cameron Highlanders
Service number: 6896
Date of death: 8 January 1915 at the age of 34
Killed in action at La Bassee
Had served with the Camerons in the South African war and rejoined from Canada in 1914
Served in Egypt with 3rd Bn. Seaforth Highlanders.
Memorial: Le Touret, Panel 41 and 42
Lewis Memorial: Carloway

8 January

This year is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, writer of the book on evolutionary theory - survival of the fittest. His theories still provide much food for debate today. He published his magnum opus, backed up by observations, in 1859.

I have so far not commented much on events in Gaza, and will not say much about them now. Except to say that the Israeli and Palestinian people are condemned to each other, gnawing on the old bones of strife, resentment and pain from the past. Others in the region use their unfortunate circumstance as an excuse to fan the flames of hatred. The Israelis are to blame for the current conflagration as much as the Palestinians. I don't see a way forward in that crisis at all.

Not much happening here today - the sun has disappeared behind clouds and the wind is picking up. Not showing my face out of doors, trying to get rid of the last of my Christmas cold.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Remembering Today

7 January
On this day in the First World War, these 14 men from the Isle of Lewis lost their lives in the service of King & Country. RIP. The vast majority died in present-day Iraq.

Seaman DONALD MACLEAN
Last address in Lewis: 21 Callanish,
Son of Finlay and Annie Maclean.
Regiment or division: 1st Seaforth Highlanders
Service number: 3/7031
Date of death: 7 January 1916 at the age of 22
Killed in action at Persian Gulf
Memorial: Basra
Memorial reference: Panel 37 and 64
Lewis Memorial: East Loch Roag, Callanish

Private NORMAN MACIVER
Last address in Lewis: 43 Coll,
Son of John and Isabella MacIver, of 43, Coll, Back, Stornoway.
Regiment or division: 1st Seaforth Highlanders
Service number: 3/7178
Date of death: 7 January 1916 at the age of 20
Killed in action in Mesopotamia
Memorial: Basra, Iraq
Memorial reference: Panel 37 and 64
Lewis Memorial: Back

Private ANGUS MACKAY
Last address in Lewis: 20 Cross,
Son of Donald and Rachel MacKay, of 20, Cross, Ness, Stornoway.
Regiment or division: 1st Seaforth Highlanders
Service number: 3/7470
Date of death: 7 January 1916 at the age of 19
Killed in action in Persian Gulf
Memorial: Basra
Memorial reference: Panel 37 and 64
Local memorial: North Lewis, Cross

Private DONALD MACDONALD
Last address in Lewis: 18 Habost, Ness
Regiment or division: Seaforth Highlanders
Date of death: 7 January 1916 at the age of 21
Killed in action at the Persian Gulf
Local memorial: North Lewis, Cross

Private JOHN MACLEOD
Last address in Lewis: 16 Lionel,
Regiment or division: 1st Seaforth Highlanders
Date of death: 7 January 1916 at the age of 20
Killed in action at the Persian Gulf
Local memorial: North Lewis, Cross

Private ALEX MACDONALD
Last address in Lewis: 21 Lionel,
Regiment or division: 1st Seaforth Highlanders
Service number: 7047
Date of death: 7 January 1916 at the age of 21
Killed in action in Persian Gulf
Memorial: Basra
Memorial reference: Panel 37 and 64
Local memorial: North Lewis, Cross

Private ALLAN GRAHAM
Last address in Lewis: 6 Lower Garrabost,
Son of Allan and Mary MacKay Graham, of 6, Garrabost, Stornoway.
Regiment or division: 1st Seaforth Highlanders
Servcie number: 3/7431
Date of death: 7 January 1916 at the age of 18
Killed in action in Mesopotamia
Memorial: Basra
Memorial reference: Panel 37 and 64
Note: CWGC quotes date of death 18 January 1916
Lewis Memorial: Point (Garrabost)

Private PETER GRAHAM
Last address in Lewis: 9 Maciver's Buildings, Stornoway
Regiment or division: 1st Seaforth Highlanders
Date of death: 7 January 1915 at the age of 23
Killed on Persian Gulf
Local memorial: Lewis War Memorial

Private DONALD MACLEOD
Last address in Lewis: 2 Portvoller,
Regiment or division: Canadians
Date of death: 7 January 1917 at the age of 18
Killed in action in France
Lewis Memorial: Point (Garrabost)

Private DONALD NICOLSON
Last address in Lewis: 21 Ranish,
Son of Roderick and Annie Mackinnon Nicolson, of 21, Ranish Lochs, Stornoway.
Regiment or division: "C" Coy. 1st Seaforth Highlanders
Service number: 3/7157
Date of death: 7 January 1916 at the age of 20
Killed in action in Mesopotamia
Memorial: Basra, Iraq
Memorial reference: Panel 37 and 64
Local memorial: North Lochs, Crossbost

Seaman RODERICK GILLIES
Last address in Lewis: 20B South Dell,
Son of Murdo and Annie Gillies, of 20, South Dell, Ness, Stornoway, Ross-shire.
Regiment or division: Royal Naval Reserve, HMT St Leonard
Service number: 20647DA
Date of death: 7 January 1920 at the age of 20
Ship sank in a gale
Memorial: Chatham Naval
Memorial reference: 32
Local memorial: North Lewis, Cross

Seaman JOHN MURRAY
Last address in Lewis: 21 Swainbost,
Son of Donald and Flora Murray, of 21, Swanibost, Ness, Stornoway, Ross-shire.
Regiment or division: Royal Naval Reserve, HMD St Leonard
Service number: 22055/DA
Date of death: 7 January 1920 at the age of 19
Ship sunk in a gale
Memorial: Chatham Naval
Memorial reference: 32
Local memorial: North Lewis, Cross

Lieutenant JOHN MACLEOD

Last address in Lewis: 19 Swordale,
Regiment or division: 1st Seaforth Highlanders
Date of death: 7 January 1916 at the age of 42
Killed in action in Mesopotamia
Memorial: Basra
Memorial reference: Panel 37 and 64
Lewis Memorial: Point (Garrabost)

Private DONALD MACLEOD
Last address in Lewis: 51 Upper Bayble,
Regiment or division: 1st Seaforth Highlanders
Service number: 3/7372
Date of death: 7 January 1916 at the age of 20
Killed in action
Memorial: Basra Memorial
Memorial reference: Panel 37 and 64
Lewis Memorial: Point (Garrabost)

7 January

Quite a reasonable day out here, leaving to one side some drizzle in the afternoon. Temperatures of 7C are not exactly fantastic, but better than the overnight lows of -20C in Holland. Went out to North Tolsta on the bus just before 2pm, to visit that village's graveyard. Photographed 15 gravestones, which is rather more than the 4 I expected to find. Returned up the steep access road in time for the bus back to Stornoway, which was the schoolbus. It went right round North Tolsta, dropping off all the wee ones outside their doors. It was a run round all the other villages, taking 50 minutes to cover the 13 miles to town.

Watched a documentary, originally broadcast on New Year's Day, about the Iolaire Disaster, now 90 years ago. Very moving - you cannot begin to put yourself in the shoes of the people that survived the tragedy.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Blogging

I promised a decision on my on-line activities for today. You'll be pleased to hear I'll be staying as a blogger, but far less prominent than before. Those who followed me on the Shell Gallery will have got a taster, in other words, a sort of diary, interspersed with the Remembering Today entries. There is not one today, as there are no casualties that fell on January 6th during any of the years of World War I who came from the Isle of Lewis. I'll also try to keep up with you all, but am not promising to make a daily attendance.

My digital camera, in case you did not gather from the Shell Gallery, has failed and is due to go away for repairs by the end of this week. So, no pictures for the time being. I do have a film back-up, but this costs me £10 per roll of film, so am reserving those for my images of wargraves across the Isle of Lewis. Weather permitting, I'll be visiting a couple of cemeteries this week.

6 January

Have returned to Stornoway, arrived back last night at 8.15pm. Long journey, took me about 15 hours door to door. Everything went well and according to schedule. Am still a bit tired, so will write a detailed account tomorrow.

The weather today has been quite mild, 8C, in comparison to the conditions in Holland, which were snowy and extremely cold yesterday. Tonight, they are expecting overnight lows there of -17C / 0F. Rather them than me, and I'm happy to be under the influence of the Atlantic rather than Siberia.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Remembering Today

5 January
On this day in the First World War, this man from the Isle of Lewis lost his life in the service of King & Country. RIP.

Chief Petty Officer KENNETH CAMPBELL
Last address in Lewis: 21 Lower Bayble,
Son of Donald and Isabella Campbell; husband of Mary Campbell, of 21, Lower Bayble, Stornoway.
Regiment or division: Royal Navy, HMS Pembroke
Service number: 155385
Date of death: 5 January 1917 at the age of 40
Died in hospital in Chatham
Served in the Royal Navy for 27 years
Interred: Eye / Aignish Cemetery
Memorial reference: C. 2. 55.
Lewis Memorial: Point (Garrabost)

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Remembering Today

3 January
On this day in the First World War, this man from the Isle of Lewis lost his life in the service of King & Country. RIP.

Seaman DONALD Senior MACRAE

Last address in Lewis: 21 Sheshader,
Regiment or division: Royal Naval Reserve, HMS Victory
Service number: 2559A
Date of death: 3 January 1919 at the age of 26
Died of illness
Interred: Aignish / Eye Cemetery
Memorial reference: C. 8
Lewis Memorial: Point (Garrabost)

scheduled post
Currently blogging on the Shell Gallery

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Remembering Today - The Iolaire Disaster

1 January
On this day in 1919, about two hundred men from the Isle of Lewis, elsewhere in the Hebrides and the United Kingdom lost their lives in the service of King & Country in the sinking of HMY Iolaire outside Stornoway Harbour. The ship ran aground at time of posting (1.55 am), and foundered 90 minutes later. Of the ship's company of about 280, only 75 survived.

Further details on this webpage.

The 90th anniversary of this tragedy will be commemorated at Holm Point, Stornoway, today at midday. The below picture shows the location of the sinking.