As one who lost many relations in the two world wars I feel most grateful to the SNP government for establishing a fund to restore Scottish war memorials.
In the two world wars Scotland made a military contribution greatly above her due and fair share having regard to the Scottish proportion of the British population.
In WW1 out of ten infantry battalions with the heaviest losses six were Scottish regiments.
At the Battle of Arras thirty eight Scottish battalions went over the parapets, a larger number than the whole British army at Waterloo.
While we widely acknowledge the contribution made by Scottish soldiers, Scottish seamen are seldom mentioned. In 1916 at the Battle of Jutland one of the major losses was the sinking of HMS Invincible.
Killed on this ship were eleven naval reservists from the Isle of Lewis, They were all ex-fishermen serving as gunners and their ages ranged from 18 to 50.
In December, 1939, proceedings in the House of Commons were halted in order that the Prime Minister could pay tribute to the gallantry of the crew of AMC Rawalpindi whose heroic fight aroused the admiration of the whole world.
Twelve of the gallant gunners on this ship were naval reservists from the Isle of Lewis. Eight of them were killed and four became German prisoners.
Scottish seamen served with distinction on naval and merchant ships and on vessels from Empire countries and the USA.
Let us hope that Scottish MPs and MSPs put aside their political differences when marking the 100th anniversary of the First World War.
Donald J Macleod, Aberdeen AB22 8WY
I am writing to say I am appalled at a recent decision taken at a full meeting of Western Isles Council to grant planning permission for the erection of 3/4 dwelling houses to be used as self-catering businesses at Quidinish, South Harris which present a threat to the indigenous and long established businesses in the area.
There were 13 objections to the development which, in a sparsely populated area, is a not inconsiderable number. The objectors have been ignored.
The continued and unwavering support afforded to the controversial fish farming industry by Western Isles Council is also irrational.
Even as I write this there are lorry loads of dead and diseased fish being transported through Harris to Uist via the Berneray passenger ferry, to be disposed. What are the health and safety issues from such a stinking cargo?
It would seem that the Western Isles Council is content to let Harris and the Western Isles be taken advantage of. Shame on them!
C A Williams, Dunbartonshire G83 0AZ
It was good to see Rev. Iain back on the pages of the Gazette. His weekly column was missed, and I hope and pray improved health for him (Viewpoint 3.1.13).
Iain touched on an interesting point this week, wondering how long it will be possible to preach the truths of the Bible publicly, in a society which tolerates everything except that which is overtly Christian.
We cannot know the day nor the hour, but what we can say is that society in large measure is now uncaring of any possibility of there being a God, and in like manner uncaring of any possibility of there being a Satan. They would judge both to be equally laughable.
Nor in the least does it trouble society that a force for evil constantly rages against a force for good in the world, indeed across the fair earth men and women war against God and each other entirely unaware of the Satanic hand controlling them.
The words of Jesus indicates that prior to His return the situation is set to worsen beyond our imagining.
Satan on the ascendency, albeit on his last legs but terrible and dreadful still, days in which believers will cut and run, and those who endure to the end will be saved.
Unlikely there’ll be churches then as we’ve know them, nor even preaching as we’ve known preaching, but to comment on Iain’s point, we may be sure that the dear Saviour’s name will yet have mention in those days.
Keith Fernie, Inverness IV2-3RW
EDITORIAL - SNP Resignation
It’s choppy waters for the SNP party in the Western Isles this week following the resignation of the Secretary of the Uist and Barra branch, Andrew Walker.
Explaining what had prompted the move Mr Walker offered some heavy criticism of the party at a local and national level, whilst also taking aim at the sitting SNP MP and MSP.
The SNP may well shrug off the criticisms as political manoeuvring and sour grapes. However the party also needs to be aware this criticism is widely held. The way the whole RET issue has been handled in the islands was badly thought out and managed causing a lot of resentment.
This has now been compounded with the issue of same-sex marriage which has caused a lot of unease in these islands where traditional values are dearly held.
Currently the SNP has a strong base in the Western Isles, however they need to mind their step if that support is to continue.