Is­land re­mem­bers its fallen sol­diers

The Oban Times - - News -

Spe­cial ser­vices were held in churches through­out the is­land on Re­mem­brance Sun­day to hon­our the mem­ory of those who lost their lives in the two world wars and other con­flicts.

Fol­low­ing the tra­di­tional acts of wor­ship, at­tended by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of vol­un­tary and uni­formed or­gan­i­sa­tions, wreaths were laid at the war memo­ri­als in the var­i­ous is­land parishes.

A spe­cial Ar­mistice Day ser­vice was con­ducted by par­ish min­is­ter Rev­erend Va­lerie Wat­son at the mil­i­tary ceme­tery at Kil­choman.

Among those buried at Kil­choman are 75 of the 431 Amer­i­can ser­vice­men and crew who per­ished when the HMS Otranto sank off the nearby Machir Bay fol­low­ing a col­li­sion with an­other ves­sel when on con­voy duty on Oc­to­ber 6, 1918. It also marks the last rest­ing place of the ship’s cap­tain Ernest David­son.

Good sea­son for mu­seum

The Mu­seum of Is­lay Life at Port Char­lotte has com­pleted an­other suc­cess­ful sea­son and re­ports vis­i­tor num­bers are up by 10 per cent on pre­vi­ous years. Those us­ing the fa­cil­ity in­clude a num­ber of over­seas visi­tors seek­ing in­for­ma­tion on for­bears whose roots were de­cid­edly Ileach.

Amongst the points of in­ter­est to both locals and visi­tors was a First World War ex­hi­bi­tion and a dis­play de­voted to the life and ca­reer of lo­cal war hero Rev Dr Don­ald Caskie, a former min­is­ter of the Scots Kirk in Paris who earned the so­bri­quet ‘The Tar­tan Pim­per­nel’ for his role in ar­rang­ing an es­cape route for al­lied troops from Ger­man-oc­cu­pied France.

Re­cently, the mu­seum was pleased to re­ceive arte­facts from the es­tate of the late Betsy West, as well as copies from her ex­ten­sive pho­to­graph col­lec­tion. While there was much to cel­e­brate, the mu­seum trustees were greatly sad­dened by the death of Gina McAus­lan, a sec­re­tary and minute sec­re­tary who made a val­ued con­tri­bu­tion to the smooth run­ning of the fa­cil­ity.

Thanks to fund­ing from the Schroder Foun­da­tion and other sources salary pro­vi­sion for two staff mem­bers will con­tinue over the win­ter months and be­yond. Amongst the task to be un­der­taken by the re­tained staff will be the scan­ning of more than 3,000 black-and- white pho­to­graphs and post­cards, as well as the li­brary ob­ject con­tents. Plans are also afoot to digi­tise the vast col­lec­tion in the mu­seum ar­chives, in­clud­ing let­ters, pam­phlets, re­ports and press cut­tings.

The is­land mu­seum is housed in a former Free Church of Scot­land prop­erty, with the col­lec­tion held on be­half of the peo­ple of Is­lay. The ex­tra fund­ing will en­sure that the con­tents are kept in the best pos­si­ble con­di­tions and, as much as pos­si­ble, will be read­ily avail­able to both visi­tors and locals.

Top gun

Build­ing con­trac­tor and lo­cal RNLI branch sta­tion man­ager Is­lay MacEachern was the top shot at the eighth an­nual clay pi­geon shoot held at Bal­lard on Jura in mem­ory of Calum Bell of Port Ellen.

Is­lay’s per­fect 50/50 score se­cured him the com­mem­o­ra­tive quaich, while the ladies’ cham­pi­onship went to Christy MacFar­lane. Awarded the high­est scor­ing ju­nior shot prize was An­gus MacMil­lan, the youngest win­ner to date in this sec­tion. The tro­phies were pre­sented by Calum’s mother Mag­gie Bell and a later auc­tion raised £1,000, for the Les Hoey MBE DreamMaker Foun­da­tion, a char­ity that sup­ports chil­dren with life-threat­en­ing ill­nesses.

Among those ben­e­fit­ting from this char­ity is lo­cal cou­ple Mar­garet and Rus­sell Aitken’s young daugh­ter Isla.

The Bell fam­ily thanked all who sup­ported the 30-bird shoot and praised the or­gan­i­sa­tional skills of Wil­lie Mac­Don­ald.

Hugh Smith, 4, Flora Street, Bow­more, Is­lay PA43 7JX. Tele­phone: 01496 810 658.

Is­lay MacEachern re­ceived his quaich

from Mag­gie Bell.

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