Faces from the Lewis War Memorial

Faces from the Lewis War Memorial has been compiled to keep alive the memory of those from the Isle of Lewis who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the service of King and Country between 1914 and 1919. The "Faces" refer to the portrait photographs, sourced from the Roll of Honour, which have been added to 400 of the entries. More than anything else, these underline the poignancy of the loss of these islanders.

This article, describing the impact of the onset of war in Stornoway, paints a picture of brave young men, eagerly setting off for war when the call came. Four years, three months and a few days later, Armistice was declared. The impact on the island can perhaps best be summarised with some cold statistics.

* Every second man from Lewis joined up, in the Army, Royal Navy or Mercantile Marine.
* Every sixth man who joined up did not return.
* Two hundred lost their lives within sight of Stornoway Harbour, when their transport, H.M.Y. Iolaire, foundered on the Beasts of Holm on 1 January 1919.

The approximately 1,300 names on this site are grouped by the village from which the men last departed the island. There is no complete list of casualties, originating from the Isle of Lewis. Many lived away from the island by the time they joined up, whether it be elsewhere in the United Kingdom or overseas. Any reference to these men would have pointed to their last residence or next-of-kin; which would not necessarily have been in the Isle of Lewis.

The following sources were employed to compile this list:

* Loyal Lewis Roll of Honour 1914-1918, Stornoway Gazette, 1921
* War memorials in Lewis
* Cemeteries in Lewis
* Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
* Veteran Affairs Canada
* Australian War Memorial
* Museums New Zealand
* The various Historical Societies in the island
* Hebridean Connections
* Scotland's People
* Croft histories (Stornoway Library)
* Ancestry.co.uk

The listings are presented by parish and by village.
At the moment, the information on each casualty is being placed on an individual page, with a link from the village page. This is an on-going process, which has (so far) covered the town of Stornoway. The names from casualties from rural Lewis are following in due course.

It is appropriate, at this point, to quote the Tolsta Chaolais resident, who remarked that there are 18 names on his local war memorial, the majority of whom fell during the Great War. 

"Why did men from this village have to die because an Archduke was shot dead in Sarajevo?"

Last updated: September 2014