View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Tuesday 4 August

Overcast but with a fair amount of brightness among the clouds towards the southeast. The odd shower is possible, as shown on the rainfall radar. You'd have to be very unlucky to catch one.

I've been extracting some statistics from the transcription of the Roll of Honour for Lewis. Of the 6,030 names on the roll, nearly 570 served in a Canadian unit. More than 700 came from Stornoway, not surprising as this was (and still is) the largest centre of population in Lewis.

The most common surnames were Macleod and Macdonald, which combined comprise one third of the Lewis contingent.

Half of the men from Lewis served in the Navy, including Naval reserves (2,400). The other half were in the landarmy, in units like the Seaforth, Gordon and Cameron Highlanders as well as the Ross Mountain Battery.

Some 1,150 died, and each year of the war (excluding 1914, but including 1919) claimed about 200 of them. Half of the fatalities were killed in action, either on land or at sea. According to the Roll of Honour (sic), 172 lost their lives in the Iolaire disaster (see disclaimer at the end of this post). The majority of those that died were aged 18-23.

The vast majority of medals awarded were Mons Star and 1914 Star, both given to those involved in the fight for Antwerp and the withdrawal from Mons to the Marne in late 1914.

As the Isle of Lewis has more than 100 villages (including Stornoway), it will take me a number of days to compile the webpages for each village. They will appear under my own website, which will be fully revamped with a shift towards local history.