Monday, 6 February 2006

Historical research

<![CDATA[ As some readers may be aware, I have done a little bit of historical research during my current stint in the island. My post regarding the Iolaire was written on the 2nd, but not published until the 6th February, because I was still working on it. Net result is that people may well have missed it. My own fault.

Nonetheless, I would like to plug it again: a list of survivors and casualties of the Iolaire Disaster is available on the web, by visiting this page. Feel free to leave comments.

When you do research into anything related to the First World War in Lewis, you inevitable end up going through the Roll of Honour. This is an incredible piece of work, listing virtually everybody from the island who was involved in that conflict. It lists by village, house or croft number each person, the unit they were with, and what (if anything) happened to them.

A few crucial events are highlighted, and the Iolaire Disaster is one of them. The heroes of Buzancy is another, as is the Ross Mounted Battery. It makes very saddening reading, because you see relatives, friends or neighbours of whom one may survive, the other is killed, drowned at sea or is lost in battle. Injuries are sometimes mentioned, or some feat of forgotten heroism on the field of war. Some of their descendants are likely to still live at the very address listed in the Roll of Honour.

Pictures are also included, remarkably, and this really brings it home what a horrendous war the Great War was. But also, that it was a completely different era, it was 90 years ago, and it's about to disappear from living memory. Only 4 survivors are left at time of writing. ]]>

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