Lest we forget - Remembrance weekend

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For the ninety-eighth time after the guns fell silent at the end of the Great War we take time to remember the fallen from the many conflicts that have since taken place.

In Stornoway, Remembrance weekend starts on Friday from 10.45am at the Ross Mountain Battery Memorial, Drill Hall on Church Street, where there will be a short service and a two minute silence.

Pupils from Stornoway Primary School along with local dignitaries will place Poppy wreaths at the memorial. In the evening the 7 Scots (the local Army Reserves) will hold a Beaumont Hamel evening to remember the 100th anniversary of this, the last battle of the Somme, in 1916.

This was in fact one of the few successful actions on the Somme, where forces from the 51st Highland Division were heavily involved, a unit that included many men from these Islands.

The impact of war on this region can be seen most clearly in a special project which captured living memories from the Great War and highlighted soldiers and their families’ moving stories.

Critically acclaimed book ‘Dol Fodha na Grèine’ (The Going Down of the Sun) was published two years ago and detailed the impact of the war on Ness.

This year the Ness Historical Society organised an emotional and moving trip to visit the WWI battlefields and war graves in Belgium and France.

The group of 40 visited the battle sites and burial places of their forebears. For three members of the group, who all lost family, the trip was not only an act of homage but also a quest. For Annie MacSween, as she was one of the founders of the society.

It also gave Roddy Murray the opportunity to realise a life long wish and visit the grave of one his Uncles.

And for Anne MacLeod, who is employed by the Historical society, and was the organiser of the trip.

Next week ‘Trusadh’ will follow their journey with the programme being aired on BBC ALBA at 9pm on Monday, November 14th.

Remembrance weekend will continue in the Islands on Saturday, November 12th when the annual service will take place in Tarbert at the newly refurbished Harris War Memorial from 10.45am.

Other services on Saturday are at Melbost at 1pm followed at 2pm with the re-dedication of a propeller that was presented by one of the few people to sink a U-Boat during World War II.

This event will take place at Stornoway Airport.

On Sunday many communities will be holding their own Service of Remembrance, with the main one at Martin’s Memorial Church, Stornoway.

This will be followed by the wreath laying ceremony at the Lewis War Memorial, which earlier this year, also underwent significant restoration work to repair stonework, windows, overhanging turrets, steps and the entrance area.

This weekend will also see the new Memorial at Barvas, the UK’s newest war Memorial, in use for the first time.

It is believed that up to 10% of Scotland’s estimated 6,000 war memorials are in either ‘poor’ or ‘very bad’ condition.

The Centenary Memorials Restoration Fund’s £1 million is available to support the repair and conservation of any war memorial of any type anywhere in Scotland.

The scheme was launched in April 2013 and will run through the centenary of World War I.

Funded by the Scottish Government and Historic Environment Scotland, the scheme is administered by War Memorials Trust.

And in this Remembrance week another Island restoration project was awarded funding from the trust to aid repairs.

Tolsta Community Council have been awarded £2,930 to aid pointing repairs and address an unsuitable treatment on their Memorial’s bronze panel, which obscures the lettering of the inscriptions.

With just two years left until Armistice Day 2018 the War Memorials Trust is encouraging people to visit their local Memorials to check conditions and to raise any concerns with them as funding is still available.

To find out more about the restoration fund visit: website