View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

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.

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

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.


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.