Friends com­mem­o­rate sac­ri­fice of Oban he­roes

The Oban Times - - HERITAGE - By MYRA GRIF­FIN, sec­re­tary/trea­surer Friends of Kil­bride

ON SUN­DAY Oc­to­ber 1, two months of plan­ning came to fruition when, at the in­vi­ta­tion of Friends of Kil­bride, around 50 peo­ple gath­ered at Kil­bride his­toric site at Ler­ags, near Oban, to com­mem­o­rate the lives and deaths of three First World War sol­diers, whose un­timely ends are com­mem­o­rated on their 19th-cen­tury fam­ily stones.

The ex­is­tence of these stones had come to light fol­low­ing a ca­sual visit to Kil­bride by a Cana­dian vis­i­tor. A search of the records showed that the McCul­loch fam­ily stone recorded the deaths in ac­tion of Sergeant Iain McCul­loch, Cameron High­landers, and Gun­ner Don­ald McCul­loch, Tank Corps.

By pure co­in­ci­dence, the McIn­tyre fam­ily stone, also erected in the 19th cen­tury, stands al­most side by side with that of the McCul­lochs, and records the death of Pri­vate Hugh McIn­tyre of the 48th High­landers of Canada.

These two mark­ers, erected 160 years ago, po­si­tioned al­most ad­ja­cent to each other seem to be the only two Kil­bride mark­ers as­so­ci­ated with First World War.

That par­tic­u­lar McCul­loch line seems to have been oblit­er­ated with the death of Don­ald, on Au­gust 2, 1917. Ian died in ac­tion in 1915, and their re­main­ing sis­ter mar­ried late in life, and ap­pears to have had no chil­dren of her own.

Hugh McIn­tyre, a stone­ma­son by trade, em­i­grated to Canada in 1912, vol­un­teered with the Cana­dian High­landers on the out­break of war, and man­aged a few days’ leave home in Oban be­fore be­ing killed in ac­tion at St Ju­lian, Bel­gium, in 1915.

How­ever, with the as­sis­tance of the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment and lo­cal re­searcher, Jill Bowis, we were able to make the Kil­bride con­nec­tion known to the McIn­tyre fam­ily, some of whom now live in and around Ed­in­burgh.

Cather­ine and Colin, great­niece and -nephew re­spec­tively of Hugh, and other McIn­tyre fam­ily mem­bers at­tended the ser­vice, and took an ac­tive part. Cather­ine led us in a Gaelic hymn, while Colin cer­e­mo­ni­ously planted a com­mem­o­ra­tive tree.

The non-de­nom­i­na­tional ser­vice was led by the Rev­erend Du­gald Cameron of Kil­more and Oban Par­ish Church, the Gaelic scrip­ture be­ing de­claimed by Anne Fergusson.

Piper Don­ald MacDougall, Seil Crofts, played the lament The Tak­ing of Beau­mont Hamel and the pi­broch, The Old Woman’s Lament.

Friends of Kil­bride Elaine, Han­nah, Deb­o­rah, Alis­tair and Keiran contributed to the af­fair giv­ing freely of their time in var­i­ous tasks, di­rect­ing traf­fic, set­ting out Café Kil­bride for the post-ser­vice brunch and gen­er­ally en­sur­ing the com­fort and safety of our guests. Karen’s and Anne’s home-bak­ing was lit­er­ally the ic­ing on the cake of Sil­ver Laced Cater­ing’s whole­some spread.

BBC Alba trans­mit­ted a record­ing of the event in its news pro­gramme.

Dur­ing the ser­vice, a gale of wind and the rain swept in from the At­lantic, as we shel­tered be­neath canopy and um­brella. But our spir­its were up­lifted as we looked back to that tragic time and thought of the self­less sac­ri­fice made not only by our three Hielan’ lad­dies, but a sac­ri­fice made by some 10 mil­lion com­bat­ants of all na­tion­al­i­ties, and by three mil­lion non-com­bat­ant civil­ians, caught up in that tragic, ul­ti­mately sense­less, con­flict.

Friends of Kil­bride would like to ex­press their grat­i­tude to all those who par­tic­i­pated or contributed.

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about Friends of Kil­bride, its aims and ob­jec­tives, please visit the Face­book page, or web­site at www.friend­sofk­il­

Around 50 peo­ple braved the in­clement weather to at­tend the com­mem­o­ra­tion ser­vice at Kil­bride.

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