Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Roll of Honour - II

Some sobering statistics were extracted from the transcript of the Roll of Honour.

Out of the 6,030 names, more than 500 were recorded as serving in the Canadian forces.

Each year of the war, from 1915 until 1919, saw the loss of 200 island men. The year 1914 is an exception, as the war did not start until August; 1919 is also an exception, because the war was over. The sinking of HMY Iolaire brought about that year's total.

The majority of the 1,150 fatalities mentioned in the Roll of Honour are quoted as "killed in action". This includes battles at sea as well as on land. They were mainly men under the age of 30, with the largest number in the age group under 25.

Naval forces accounted for half the Lewis contingent, with the land army in the other half. The RAF (and its predecessor Royal Flying Corps) had 28 Lewismen serving in it.

Outside Stornoway, the villages of Habost (Ness), Coll, Back, Knock (Point), Leurbost, Ranish and North Tolsta contributed each more than 100 men. The largest loss was suffered by North Tolsta, to where 50 did not return, out of 216 who enlisted. Men (and nearly 30 women) enlisted from virtually every village in the island, including the distant hamlet of Hamnaway in Uig - nowadays 8 miles from the nearest road, in those days 30 miles from any decent road.

Finally, the most common family names were Graham, Macaulay, Campbell, Smith, Murray, Maclean, Mackay, Morrison, Maciver, Mackenzie, Macdonald and Macleod - the latter surname contributing more than 1,270.


  1. So very interesting, we should never forget.

  2. Just back from a holiday in France, I made a point of visiting the memorials in the villages at which we stopped. On average 20-30 names were found even in the smallest hamlets. I didn't try to count the names on the memorials in the towns, there were too many. The scale of the slaughter is hard to believe, with two from the same family being common and three not unusual.

  3. a thought provoking post, Arnish- as ever.

  4. The old Servicemen and Fallen must be remembered.
    The men are passing away and Service Legions are closing due to lack of members. Lets hope the young
    people are taught what sacrifice was given by these men for our freedom.