Re­mem­ber­ing those who gave their lives that we might live

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

Thirty-nine sol­diers from the Slate Is­lands who fell in the First World War are hon­oured on the Kil­bran­don war memo­rial on the Isle of Seil.

Ex­actly 100 years af­ter the Great War be­gan in 2014, re­tired ar­chi­tect He­len Glen­nie of Clachan Seil started in­ves­ti­gat­ing the per­sonal sto­ries be­hind each of the in­scribed names.

Her ex­ten­sive re­search, foren­si­cally gath­ered over the past two years, filled an en­tire wall at the Scot­tish Slate Is­lands Her­itage Trust ex­hi­bi­tion in Seil Hall in Oc­to­ber, ex­hib­ited be­side repli­cas of the war memo­rial and a First World War trench.

‘I did not think it would take this

long,’ He­len told The Oban Times. ‘It all started pour­ing out. I wanted to find out about their lives, their reg­i­ments and how they died.’

He­len is now com­pil­ing their sto­ries into a book to be sold at the trust’s El­len­abe­ich mu­seum in the new year, ti­tled The Lost Men of Kil­bran­don.

He­len writes: ‘There are 39 men listed on the memo­rial at Balvicar as hav­ing died dur­ing the First World War – a high pro­por­tion for this small parish. Four sets of brothers were killed, along with four cousins and four hus­bands, and there were 16 men with no known graves. Three men drowned in ac­tion with U-boat sub­marines, and some died at home af­ter suc­cumb­ing to the dread­ful pneu­mo­nia pan­demic of Septem­ber 1918 to April 1919. In all, there are 18 dif­fer­ent reg­i­ments rep­re­sented and five dif­fer­ent ves­sels. Vir­tu­ally 20 per cent of the is­lands’ young men were lost.’

This year marks the 100th an­niver­sary of the Bat­tle of the Somme, one of war’s blood­i­est bat­tles, when more than 1,000,000 men were killed or wounded, in­clud­ing seven from Kil­bran­don parish. But 2016 also marks the cen­te­nary of two more First World War bat­tles – in Me­sopotamia and the Ypres- Salient in Bel­gium – and three more losses from the Slate Is­lands.

Be­low, thanks to He­len’s re­search, we re­mem­ber a few, as the coun­try nears Ar­mistice Day to­mor­row (Fri­day Novem­ber 11) and Re­mem­brance Day on Sun­day.

The model of the Sommes trench and Seil War Memo­rial.

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