View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


In the compilation of “Faces from the Lewis War Memorial” (which remembers the Fallen from the Isle of Lewis in World War I), there are quite a few names with very little information. It sometimes takes a little bit of effort to disentangle the web and let the light from the past shine more clearly. An example.
The Roll of Honour mentions an Iver Maciver from 9 North Shawbost, who, serving with the Canadians, died of wounds in 1916 at the age of 21. I just couldn’t cross reference him - not with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, not with the Canadian Virtual War Memorial, and not with the CEF records on Libraries and Archives Canada either.

Until this evening. Looking at the page for North Shawbost again, it occurred to me that Kenneth Maciver, also quoted at 9 North Shawbost, might be the brother of “Iver”. Kenneth Maciver is reported to have been born at Lochcarron, so I did a search on ScotlandsPeople for Macivers in Lochcarron around 1895 - and who came out but Evander Maciver. Born to the same parents as Kenneth.

Using the sources quoted above, I now search for Evander Maciver, dying in 1916 - and this was the result:

Last address in Lewis: 9 North Shawbost,
Son of John and Isabella Maciver, of Carnan House, Shawbost, Stornoway. Born at Lochcarron, Ross-shire.
Service unit: 52nd Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment)
Service number: 440086
Date of death: 9 July 1916 at the age of 21
Died of wounds
Interred: Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, grave VIII. C. 6
Local memorial: West Side, Bragar

Evander was born at Lochcarron, northeast of Kyle, on 9 August 1894
When he enlisted for service, in the Manitoba town of Sewell in Canada, he stood 5 ft 5 in tall.
He is described as of fair complexion and fair-haired with light blue eyes.
Evander was a Presbyterian, and a carpenter by trade.

Rest in peace.

Hurricane update - 12 October

Hurricane Paula, which was not even a recognised tropical cyclone 24 hours ago, has intensified to category II status on the Saffir Simpson hurricane wind scale. This means that the storm carries maximum sustained winds of 100 mph. The system is located east of the Yucatan Peninsula and will move north along the peninsula's coastline, then curve away east and weaken. The National Hurricane Center issued an intermediate advisory at 1745 GMT (1345 EDT) to reflect an unexpected round of strengthening.

Tuesday 12 October

Further details continue to emerge about the death of Lewis-based aid worker Linda Norgrove in Afghanistan. Prime Minister David Cameron spoke at a press-conference yesterday, saying that she may have died after US forces threw a fragmentation grenade into the compound where she was being held. Either that, or her captors detonated a bomb vest. Ms Norgrove's parents are understandably very upset, even more so after that revelation. They have not issued any statement to the media, as investigations into the exact circumstances of their daughter's death have to run their due course. Today, some of Linda's friends visited her parents in Mangersta, a remote community, some 40 miles west of Stornoway. I'll only go so far as to say that "friendly fire" is one of those horrible statements emanating from any "theatre of war", much like "collateral damage". In the heat of combat, mistakes and errors of judgment are unavoidable. Some people are asking what she was doing in such a dangerous part of the world - well, she was involved with a programme, steering farmers away from growing opium poppies. I'll close this post by stating that in a small community like Lewis, and even more so a thinly populated district such as Uig, or a tiny township like Mangersta - population 28.

Today was overcast and cool after a cold night, with the overnight low at +3C; daytime max was 11C / 52F. Autumn has now arrived.

10:10:10 on 10.10.10

Monday 11 October

Another sunny and cloudless day, but a tad cooler than the weekend. Went into town for an amble around shops at 1pm. Passed the ferry terminal where a couple of cattle trucks were awaiting boarding - the cows on board were lowing loudly. I wouldn't relish the prospect of sitting on a cattle truck for 3 hours either. The refurbishment of Perceval Square is nearing completion.

Out of sight of the above image the toiletblock is still undergoing renovation, which requires 30 million pennies to be spent. That's a lot of - yes, I know.

After nightfall, I had a message saying the Northern Lights were out, so I went to a dark part of Stornoway, where light pollution was low and with a clear view of the north: Mossend. The streetlights were out along that road, so I managed this 4-second exposure (digitally enhanced) of the Aurora.