View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Wednesday 9 March

A very cold start to the day, with snow on the ground. This readily melted after the sun came up, but on higher ground it will have stayed all day. Heavy snow and hail showers punctuated late morning and afternoon, almost putting us back into winter. However, the seeds in the bird feeders were sprouting enthusiastically, showing that the equinox is only a matter of days away. High winds will affect the southern isles overnight; we further north should avoid the worst of those stormforce winds. The overnight freight ferry Muirneag is not sailing at any rate.

I have continued to transcribe the war diaries of the 2nd Seaforth Highlanders in the First World War, now well into 1915. The troops made it through the 2nd battle of Ypres, and I shall rejoin them in spirit six months later in northern France. I have also uncovered another WW1 casualty from Lewis who merits inclusion on the CWGC registers, but is not there. He died in New Zealand a few months after being invalided out of Gallipoli.

Gallipoli is a name of infamy in the annals of the Great War. Allied forces were going to land on the Gallipoli peninsula, which lies at the western entrance to the Bosporus, which in turn leads to Istanbul. In 1915, this was the capital of the Ottoman [Turkish] Empire, an adversary of the Allies. The landings, carried out by British, Australian and New Zealand forces, claimed thousands of lives as a result of strategic blunders. On both sides, it should be said.