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

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I found this very moving listing through a link from a blog, which commented on how the Iolaire disaster cannot be mentioned. I would echo that - my mother and antecedents were from the island and I was dumbfounded when I first read of the disaster, because no one in the family had ever once spoken of it or alluded to it. The families of this island have given much in both world wars.

LT said...

what a lovely idea. My grandfather was at Stornoway. I hope you don't mind but I have linked you to my grandfathers blog ?

danno said...

I note that Pvt John Macdonald, poor lad, lies in the Basra Memorial (Iraq).
It's 3 January 2008. What does it all mean? Please excuse a simple question from another island.
Dan in Manhattan, NYC.

ADB said...

Danno,
The First World War (1914-1918) also took place in Mesopotamia, now present-day Iraq. Many men were lost on that battlefield, the remains of some were never found. Only their name is recorded on the now badly damaged memorial in Basra.

AktoMan said...

Thank you.

Duncan
/genlink: Cromore & Leurbost

Anonymous said...

It is probably worth noting that the German proposal for a Berlin - Baghdad railway was probably a bigger factor in igniting the first world war than the serbian assiasination. Among the first destinations of British troops was Basra. In many respects one could argue that the "First World War" continues to this day.

ADB said...

The assassination in Sarajevo was the flashpoint that set the powder-keg alight. It had been assiduously assembled by all major players across Europe, augmented by a host of unholy alliances which ensured total conflagration.

patrick anderson said...

My father's cousin was Cecil ADDISON , rector of the Nicholson Institute from the 1950s /1960s and when he was Rector of the school would have been in what is now the town's Museum . He would have seen the Great War Memorial for the School each day as he walked into his Office .

We will remember them ...

Anonymous said...

Hello, I found this list very moving, especially seeing the photo's. I am trying to find out more of my father John Mackenzie, son of John and Annie of Stornaway.
He was lost at sea on May 8th 1943 while serving as a Royal Naval Reserve on A/S H.M.DANEMAN.

Is there a memorial for W.W.11
Can anyone assist me please?

Lewis History said...

Anonymous, a World War II tribute is published on http://lewiswwar2.blogspot.com/. In order to help you, I need to know what John Mackenzie's last place of residence in Lewis was; Stornoway is used as a common denominator for everybody from Lewis in some instances.

David James said...

I found this site by chance. It's good to know someone cares. However I failed to find any information on John Macaulay who is buried in Balrothery Nth Co Dublin. See this link to CWGC; http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2000823
Today I am moved to try and find his grave and pay my respects.
David James

M. I. Pirie said...

Thank you for your time and dedication in creating this site in honour of the men of Lewis. They will not be forgotten.