Gairloch Folk


Gairloch War Memorial

Gairloch Parish 1939-45 Records

Ross and Cromarty Heritage Society is indebted to Mr Donald Mackenzie of Mellon Charles, Aultbea, for providing such detailed information on the servicemen of Gairloch Parish who served in World War 2.

The information provided by Mr Donald Mackenzie is deserving of photographs.  If any relatives of the men concerned would care to provide such, please contact Ross and Cromarty Heritage Society at rchs@maryburgh.org.uk   

Gairloch Folk

In Memory of those from Gairloch Parish who were lost in the 1939-1945 war.

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn,
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them."

"They grew up in peace at their own fireside
They filled their homes with glee,
Now, their graves are scattered far and wide
O'er mount, and vale and sea."

AULTBEA AREA

In Memory of Alexander Mackenzie, Boatswain S.S. Egret, Merchant Navy, who died on 3rd December 1944 aged 57.
Commemorative Information:
Ancona War Cemetery, Italy. Plot 2, Row B, Grave 20.  Alexander Mackenzie, 24 Sand, Laide, Aultbea. Boatswain, S.S. Egret. Died in hospital in Italy.

In Memory of Alexander Maclennan, Able Seaman, S.S. Scottish Trader (London), Merchant Navy, who died on Saturday, 6th December 1941, age 31.  Son of Murdo and Ellen Josephine Maclennan, of Achnasheen, Ross and Cromarty.

Commemorative Information
Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial, London, United Kingdom.  Grave reference: Panel 94.

Location:
The Tower Hill Memorial, which commemorates men of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets who have no known grave, stands on the south side of the garden of Trinity Square, London, close to The Tower of London. The Memorial Register may be consulted at Trinity House Corporation, Trinity Square (Cooper's Row entrance), Tel. 0171 480 6601, which will be found behind the Memorial.

Historical Information:
Tower Hill Memorial 1914-1918. This memorial stands on Tower Hill, London, on the south side of the pleasure garden of Trinity Square. The Memorial consists of a vaulted corridor 21.5 metres long, 7 metres wide, and 7 to 10 metres high. It is open at each end. It has three wide openings at the front and back, in which are placed pairs of columns. It rises in the middle in rectangular blocks. It is built of Portland stone finished with a circular treatment. The names of the War Dead are carried on bronze panels, covering the eight main masonry piers which support the roof. They are arranged alphabetically under their ships of the Merchant Service. 1939-1945. When the question arose of commemorating the men of the Merchant Navy who lost their lives during the 1939-1945 War and have no known grave, it was the general desire that the new Memorial should be combined with the existing 1914-1918 Tower Hill Memorial to form a complete whole. The architect achieved this by designing a semi-circular sunken garden adjoining the 1914-1918 Memorial; in this way a sufficient wall area was obtained to record the total of nearly 24,000 names, without building high walls on Tower Hill. The garden is 2 metres below the general level of Tower Hill Gardens, so that the surrounding walls rise only one metre above that level. From the 1914-1918 Memorial, stone steps flanked by high stone pylons, on which are the Merchant Navy badges and wreaths, lead down to the sunken garden. Between the flights of steps is the main dedicatory inscription, which reads: "1939-1945 THE TWENTY-FOUR THOUSAND OF THE MERCHANT NAVY AND FISHING FLEETS WHOSE NAMES ARE HONOURED ON THE WALLS OF THIS GARDEN GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR THEIR COUNTRY AND HAVE NO GRAVE BUT THE SEA" This inscription is guarded by sculptured figures in stone representing an officer and a seaman of the Merchant Service. The internal face of the semi-circular wall surrounding the garden is cased in bronze, which bears in relief the names of the men commemorated. At regular intervals round this bronze casing are seven stone sculptured allegorical figures representing the Seven Seas. The garden itself is primarily a lawn, surrounded by a stone path on which there are oak seats. In the centre is a "pool" of bronze, engraved as a mariner's compass, and set to magnetic north. An introductory part of this register, containing a plan of the Memorial and an index to the Panels, together with a description of the work of the Mercantile Marine, is also available separately for each World War.

Ali Mortie Mor, 5 Laide, Aultbea. Was lost with Hector Matheson, his school pal, when S.S. Scottish Trader was sunk in the Atlantic with no survivors.

In Memory of Alexander Urquhart Macleod, Private 2932210, 5th Battalion, Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, who died on Monday, 26th October 1942, aged 23.  Son of Alexander and Annabella Macleod, of Aultbea, Ross and Cromarty.

Commemorative Information
Cemetery: El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt.  Grave reference: XIII. D. 26

Location:
Alamein is a village, bypassed by the main coast road, approximately 130 kilometers west of Alexandria on the road to Mersa Matruh. The first Commission road direction sign is located just beyond the Alamein police checkpoint and all visitors should turn off from the main road onto the parallel old coast road. The cemetery lies off the road, slightly beyond a ridge, and is indicated by road direction signs approximately 25 metres before the low metal gates and stone wing walls which are situated centrally at the road edge at the head of the access path into the cemetery. The Cross of Sacrifice feature may be seen from the road. Within the cemetery will be found the Alamein Memorial, through which the access path to the cemetery passes, and the Alamein Cremation Memorial which will be found in the south-eastern part of the cemetery.

Historical information:
The El Alamein War Cemetery contains the graves of men who died at all stages of the western desert campaigns, brought in from a wide area round about, but especially those who died in the Battle of El Alamein at the end of October 1942, and in the period immediately before that. There are over 7,000 war casualties commemorated in this cemetery.

"Ali aig Ali Rob", 12 Bualnaluib, Aultbea. Killed in North Africa at the Battle of El Alamein.

In Memory of Donald Macleod, Gunner 1152555, 11 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, who died on Friday, 25th May 1945, age 39.  Son of Alexander and Isabella Macleod;  husband of Alexandra Campbell Macleod, of Bootham, York.

Commemorative Information
Cemetery: Phaleron War Cemetery, Greece.  Grave reference: 21. D. 1.

Location:
Phaleron War Cemetery lies a few kilometres to the South-East of Athens, at the boundary between old Phaleron district and Kalamaki district. It is on the coast road from Athens to Vouliaghmen, 5 kilometres west of the international airport. Within this cemetery will also be found the Athens Memorial and the Phaleron Cremation Memorial.

Historical Information:
The site of what is now Phaleron War Cemetery was chosen originally by the 4th British Division as a burial ground for British casualties of the Greek Civil War (December 1944 - February 1945). Subsequently the military authorities, in conjunction with the Greek Government and the Army Graves Service, decided that it would be the most suitable site for a 1939-1945 War cemetery for the whole mainland of Greece. To this last resting place were brought from battlefield graves, temporary military cemeteries and from various civil cemeteries the British and Commonwealth casualties of the 1941 campaign. The 23rd and 24th Graves Registration Units and the 21st and 22nd Australian War Graves Units worked together at this task. In 1961 the remains of two airmen of the Royal Air Force were brought in from Killini (St Dionisos) Churchyard, where permanent maintenance of the graves could not be assured. The special memorials commemorate men known to have been interred in certain groups of graves in the cemetery, but whose individual graves cannot be precisely located within these groups. They are inscribed "Buried near this spot". In addition, other special memorials commemorate sailors, soldiers and airmen re-buried in the cemetery from original graves which, owing to the destruction by the enemy of local records, could not be identified. These memorials bear the inscription "Known to be buried in this cemetery". Thirty British and twenty-three French sailors, soldiers and civilians who, after serving in the Crimean War, died in Greece, were buried in the Anglo-French Crimean Cemetery, New Phaleron. In 1966 when that cemetery could no longer be maintained, the remains were reverently exhumed and reburied and the memorials re-erected, in a plot situated in the North-East corner of Phaleron War Cemetery.

Donnie aig Ali MhicLeod, 3 Mellon Udrigle, Laide. Wounded in Sicily. Died in hospital in Greece. His two first cousins were lost in the 1914-1918 War.

In Memory of George Macleod, Able Seaman C/JX 172170, HMS Asphodel, Royal Navy, who died on Thursday, 9th March 1944, age 26.  Son of John and Annie Macleod, of Laide, Ross and Cromarty;  husband of Annie Macleod.

Commemorative Information
Memorial: Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent, United Kingdom.  Grave reference: 75, 3

Location: TheMemorial overlooks the town of Chatham and is approached by a steep path from the Town Hall Gardens.

Sheoras Sheoc, Gruinard. Lost when Frigate HMS Asphodel was torpedoed off Spanish Coast, at 1.30 am. Only 5 on watch were survivors. 55 were lost.

In Memory of Alexander Macrae, Cook, S.S. Romsey (Liverpool), Merchant Navy, who died on Friday, 4th September 1942, aged 27.  Son of Alexander and Catherine Macrae.

Commemorative Information:
Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial, London, United Kingdom.  Grave reference: Panel 131.

For details of location and historical information, see above.

Known as "Tal", 11 Mellon Charles, Aultbea. Was lost when the tug Romsey was rammed and sunk off Greenock by the Irish Mail boat at night.

In Memory of Hector Matheson, Able Seaman, S.S. Scottish Trader (London), Merchant Navy, who died on Saturday, 6th December 1941, aged 32.  Son of Alistair and Janet Matheson, of Laide, Ross and Cromarty.

Commemorative Information:
Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial, London, United Kingdom.  Grave reference: Panel 94.

For details of location and historical information, see above.

Eachainn a' Ghille Bhuie, 23 Laide, Aultbea. Was lost when his ship was sunk in the Atlantic. There were no survivors.

In Memory of Fred Prosper, Stoker 2nd Class - C/KX 102629, HMS Exmoor, Royal Navy,
who died on Tuesday, 25th February 1941, aged 23.

Commemorative Information:
Memorial: Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent, United Kingdom.  Grave reference: 48, 2.

Location:
The Memorial overlooks the town of Chatham and is approached by a steep path from the Town Hall Gardens.

Known as "Fred a' Loch", 39 Mellon Charles, Aultbea. Was lost when the Destroyer HMS Exmoor was torpedoed in the English Channel. There were no survivors.

GAIRLOCH AREA

In Memory of John Fraser, Private 2881990, 5/7th Bn., Gordon Highlanders, who died on Saturday, 24th October 1942, age 28.  Son of Murdo and Annie Fraser; husband of Barbara Fraser, of Lea Frondra, Scalloway, Zetland.

Commemorative Information
Cemetery: El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt.  Grave reference: XIX. A. 21.

Location:
Alamein is a village, bypassed by the main coast road, approximately 130 kilometers west of Alexandria on the road to Mersa Matruh. The first Commission road direction sign is located just beyond the Alamein police checkpoint and all visitors should turn off from the main road onto the parallel old coast road. The cemetery lies off the road, slightly beyond a ridge, and is indicated by road direction signs approximately 25 metres before the low metal gates and stone wing walls which are situated centrally at the road edge at the head of the access path into the cemetery. The Cross of Sacrifice feature may be seen from the road. Within the cemetery will be found the Alamein Memorial, through which the access path to the cemetery passes, and the Alamein Cremation Memorial which will be found in the south-eastern part of the cemetery.

Historical information:
The El Alamein War Cemetery contains the graves of men who died at all stages of the western desert campaigns, brought in from a wide area round about, but especially those who died in the Battle of El Alamein at the end of October 1942, and in the period immediately before that. There are over 7,000 war casualties commemorated in this cemetery.

Known as Iain a' Bhuichan.  Born at Big Sand, Gairloch. Was killed at El Alamein, North Africa.

In Memory of William Duncan Fraser, Seaman, LT/JX 206480, HM Trawler Recoil, Royal Naval Patrol Service, who died on Saturday, 28th September 1940, age 24.  Son of Duncan and Mary Fraser, of Lonmore, Gairloch, Ross and Cromarty.

Commemorative Information
Cemetery: Poole (Parkstone) Cemetery, Dorset, United Kingdom.  Grave reference: Row R. Grave 47.

Known as Uilleam Ruadh, of 52 Lonemore, Gairloch. Was lost when trawler Recoil was sunk in English Channel. Willie's was one of two bodies recovered. 

In Memory of William Graham, Private 14383053, 6th Bn., Seaforth Highlanders, who died on Wednesday, 12th April 1944, age 22.  Son of James and Mary Graham, of Glasgow.

Commemorative Information
Cemetery: Beach Head War Cemetery, Anzio, Italy.  Grave reference: IX. A. 5.

Location:
Anzio is a coastal town 70 kilometres south of Rome. To reach Anzio take the Route No. 148 Superstrada Motorway, which runs between Rome and Latina. Turn off the Superstrada at the No. 207, following the signs towards Anzio. The route is well signposted from the Superstrada. The Cemetery lies 5 kilometres north of Anzio town on the No. 207 and Commission signs are visible 150 metres from the cemetery. There is a small parking area at the main entrance. Beach Head War Cemetery should not be confused with Anzio War Cemetery which lies just off the No. 207, one kilometre north of Anzio. The cemetery is permanently open and may be visited anytime.

Historical Information
The site of the cemetery, which is on level ground, originally lay close to a casualty clearing station. Burials were made direct from the battlefield after the landings at Anzio in January 1944; and later, after the Army had moved forward, many concentrations were made from the surrounding country. There are now a small number of 1914-18, and over 2,000 1939-45, war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, nearly 300 from the 1939-45 War are unidentified. Within the cemetery is a small memorial to the Royal Artillery Pilots of the 655th Air Observation Post Squadron RAF. It was erected during the war near the cemetery but, in 1948, after being knocked over by a plough, it was transferred to the cemetery for safety. Two other regimental memorials stand in the Beach Head area. One to the 6th Battalion The Gordon Highlanders and the other to the 2nd Battalion The Sherwood Foresters; both are situated north of Anzio.

Known as Billy, of Aird Farm, Badachro.  Was killed in Italy.

In Memory of Alick Ewan Mackenzie, First Engineer Officer, M.V. Jad, Merchant Navy,
who died on Thursday, 14th September 1944, age 29.  Son of Murdo and Barbara Mackenzie; husband of Catherine Mackenzie.

Commemorative Information
Cemetery: Gairloch Old Churchyard, Ross and Cromarty, United Kingdom.

Known as "Clappie", Sea Crest, Port Henderson. Died in hospital of illness contracted on the ship he served on.

In Memory of Hector Mackenzie, Carpenter, S.S. Penolver (Falmouth), Merchant Navy, who died on Tuesday, 19th October 1943, age 42.  Son of Murdo and Mary Mackenzie, of Gairloch, Ross and Cromarty.

Commemorative Information:
Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial, London, United Kingdom.  Grave reference: Panel 80.

For location and historical information, see above.

Eachainn Ruadh, Badininal, Gairloch. Was lost when his ship was sunk in the Atlantic. No survivors.

In Memory of Kenneth Mackenzie, Cook, SS Kyleglen (Liverpool), Merchant Navy, who died on Sunday, 15th December 1940, age 45.  Husband of K. Mackenzie, of Farnham, Surrey.

Commemorative Information
Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial, London, United Kingdom.  Grave reference: Panel 62

For location and historical information, see above.

Kenny (Gaity), 6 Port Henderson. Brother of Murdo. Was lost off the coast of Newfoundland when his ship was mined and sunk. No survivors.

In Memory of Murdo Mackenzie, Sailor, Netherlands Merchant Navy, who died on 23rd May 1941, age 26.

Commemorative Information:  Gairloch Old Churchyard

Mortie Iain Mhoir, of Red Point, Gairloch. Was drowned in Gourock Bay when he slipped off the mooring buoy to which they were tying the ship.

In Memory of Murdo Anthony Mackenzie, Chief Steward, 45789, HM Yacht Grive, Naval Auxiliary Personnel (M.N.), who died on Saturday, 1st June 1940, age 51.

Commemorative Information:
Memorial: Liverpool Naval Memorial, Lancashire, United Kingdom.  Grave reference: Panel 13, Column 2

Location:
The Memorial is situated on the Mersey River Front at the Pier Head, Liverpool, close to and behind the Liver Buildings and the end of James Street. From the end of the M62 motorway follow the signs for the City Centre and Maritime Museum. The Liverpool Memorial consists of a circular column, faced in Portland stone, on a raised semi-circular platform; on its summit is a device of reflecting lenses, suggestive of a beacon. The platform is approached from the promenade by a flight of steps and is surrounded by a wall. At the head of the steps, at each end of the wall, there is a globe; one side being a celestial globe ornamented with the signs of the Zodiac, and the other side being a terrestrial globe showing the countries and seas of the world. Set in recesses in the wall are the bronze panels that bear the names of over 1300 casualties. At the base of the column, facing the steps and the promenade, beneath the Naval badge of the Naval Crown, wreath, and foul anchor, is carved the inscription: THESE OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE MERCHANT NAVY DIED WHILE SERVING WITH THE ROYAL NAVY AND HAVE NO GRAVE BUT THE SEA. 1939 - 1945

Historical information:
It was impossible during the war for the Navy to man all the auxiliary ships that served with it. Accordingly, early in the war a manning depot was established at Liverpool for dealing with those men of the Merchant Navy who agreed to serve with the Royal Navy under the terms of what was known as a T.124 agreement, and became subject to Naval discipline while generally retaining their Merchant Navy rates of pay and other conditions. They served in various types of auxiliary vessels, at first mainly in armed merchant cruisers, but also in armed boarding vessels, cable ships, rescue tugs, and others on special service. The maximum number of T.124 officers and men exceeded 13,000. Among ships a large proportion of whose complement belonged to this service, the Rawalpindi and the Jervis Bay won unique renown from the circumstances of their end; but men from over 120 ships are commemorated on the memorial which it was decided to erect at Liverpool. The great majority of Merchant Navy men, who did not serve with the Navy but with merchant ships, are commemorated on the Merchant Navy Memorial, on Tower Hill, London. This memorial was unveiled by the Admiral of the Fleet, The Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope, KT, GCB, OM, DSO, on the 12th November 1952.

Murdo (Gaity), 6 Port Henderson. Was lost on the yacht Grive at the evacuation of Dunkirk. He was the first casualty from the Parish of Gairloch.

HMS Grive, an old 816 ton steam yacht which saw service in the 1914-18 war, was requisitioned in 1939 and was skippered by 67 year old Captain Lambert, who came out of retirement to perform this duty. The Grive arrived in Dunkirk on 27th May 1940, and during the next three days and nights rescued 2000 men of the B.E.F. The Grive was sunk on 1st June with the loss of the entire crew apart from one officer, Sub-Lieutenant J. K. Miles, who was later awarded the DSC.

In Memory of William Knox Mackenzie, Private 2822998, 4th Bn., Seaforth Highlanders, who died on Tuesday, 11th June 1940, age 22.  Son of Mrs C. Mackenzie of Gairloch, Ross and Cromarty.

Commemorative Information:
Memorial: Dunkirk Memorial, Nord, France.  Grave reference: Column 125

Location:
The Dunkirk Memorial stands at the entrance to the British War Graves Section of Dunkirk Town Cemetery, which lies on the eastern outskirts of the town on the road to Veurne (in Belgium).

Willie Knox, 16 South Erradale, Gairloch. Was killed at St. Valery.

In Memory of Hector Macpherson, Private 2820304, 4th Bn., Seaforth Highlanders, who died on Tuesday, 4th June 1940, age 28.  Son of Donald and Annabella Macpherson.

Commemorative Information
Memorial: Dunkirk Memorial, Nord, France.  Grave reference: Column 125

Location:
The Dunkirk Memorial stands at the entrance to the British War Graves Section of Dunkirk Town Cemetery, which lies on the eastern outskirts of the town on the road to Veurne (in Belgium).

Known as Eachainn Dhomhail Mhor, of South Erradale, Gairloch. Was killed at St.Valery.

In Memory of Donald Macrae, Private 2818604, 4th Bn., Seaforth Highlanders, who died on Thursday, 6th March 1941, age 33.  Son of Roderick and Mary Macrae, of Badachro, Ross and Cromarty.

Commemorative Information:
Cemetery: Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Brandenburg, Germany.  Grave reference: 14. E. 2.

Location:
The Cemetery is in the district of Charlottenburg, 8 kilometres west of the city centre, on the south side of the Heerstrasse. From Theodor Heuss Platz in the district of Charlottenburg, near the exhibition hall complex and next to the Olympic Stadium, follow signs for Spandau, proceeding along the Heerstrasse. The Cemetery lies on the Theodor Heuss Platz. Visitors should drive beyond the cemetery to the traffic lights, then turn left directly onto a small one way street running parallel to the Heerstrasse. The Cemetery entrance is on this small one way road.

Historical Information
The site of Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery was selected by the British Occupation Authorities and Commission officials jointly in 1945, soon after hostilities ceased. To this War Cemetery were moved the graves from the Berlin area and from Eastern Germany. The great majority of those buried here, approximately 80 per cent of the total, were airmen who lost their lives in the air raids over Berlin and the towns in Eastern Germany. The remainder were men who died in prisoner of war camps in these regions, some of whom were victims of the notorious forced march into Germany of prisoners from camps in Poland, in front of the advancing Russians. It is said that during the battle for Berlin there was severe fighting between Russian and German forces in the cemetery area. Districts from which graves were transferred to this war cemetery include Leipzig, Konigsberg, Iena, Dreseen, Halle, Rostock, Tetlow, Wismar, Mittenwalde, Neuburzdorf, Magdeburg, Grunberg, Doberitz, Buchholz, Halberstadt, Blankenburg, Gotha, Tannenburg, Potsdam, Weder, Tessau, Stralsund, Schweren, Munsdorf, Brandenburg and Schonwalde. From the Olympischestrasse Cemetery in Berlin came 88 war graves. That cemetery contained a large number of burials which were not the responsibility of the Commission, and permanent maintenance of the war graves to the Commission's standards would have been impossible. There are in addition non-war graves, i.e. graves of men of the British Occupation Forces or their dependents, or of members of the Control Commission. Special memorials commemorate men known to be buried in certain groups of graves in the cemetery, whose graves within these groups cannot be individually identified. They bear the superscription "Buried near this spot".

Known as Donnie Taillear, of Kintyre Cottage, Badachro. Was wounded and captured at St. Valery. He died in captivity.

KINLOCHEWE AREA

In Memory of William David Matheson, Lance Corporal 2820824, 4th Bn., Seaforth Highlanders, who died on Friday, 4th October 1940, age 23.  Son of Duncan and Maria Matheson, of Kinlochewe, Ross and Cromarty.

Commemorative Information:
Cemetery: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.  Grave reference: 59. K. 2.

Location
The cemetery is 5 kilometres south west of Kleve. From Kleve take the Hoffmannallee from the town centre, which becomes the Materbornerallee. This road enters Reichswald Forest and becomes the Grunewaldstrasse. Follow the directions from Gennep, and on entering Reichswald Forest the cemetery is situated 500 metres on the left.

William D. Matheson, Kinlochewe. Was wounded and taken prisoner at St. Valery. Later died in captivity.

In Memory of Charles Tough, Private 14656576, 2nd Bn., Seaforth Highlanders, who died on Thursday, 26th October 1944, age 19.  Son of James Cassie Tough, and of Isabella Crawford Tough, of Balnain, Inverness-shire.

Commemorative Information:
Cemetery: Nederweert War Cemetery, Netherlands.  Grave reference: I. E. 9.

Location:
Nederweert is a village 38 kilometres north west of Roermond, 21 kilometres south east of Eindhoven and 5 kilometres north east of Weert. The cemetery is signposted on the N266 Nederweert-Helmond road, which is indicated from the Nederweert exit on the A2 Motorway Eindhoven-Maastricht. The Cemetery is 150 metres west of the church and the same distance east of the road from Weert to Helmond. The entrance to the cemetery is closed to vehicles and visitors must walk the 50 metres to the Commission plot.

Historical Information
Nederweert was liberated by British troops on 21st September, 1944. The front line until 14th November was close by, following the Zuidwillemsvaart and Wessem-Nederweert canals; during that period there were casualties from patrol activity and from daily German shelling of Nederweert, besides some deaths in German minefields. After the British crossed the canals and went on rowards the Maas, burials continued in the war cemetery from the surrounding area. There are now over 350 1939-1945 War casualties commemorated in this site.

Charles was attached to the Airborne Division and was killed at Arnheim. Buried in Holland.

POOLEWE, INVERASDALE AND COVE

In Memory of Roderick Cameron, Ordinary Seaman, S.S. Romsey (Liverpool), Merchant Navy, who died on Wednesday, 4th September 1942, age 18.  Son of Murdo and Jane Isabella Cameron.

Commemorative Information:
Cemetery: Gairloch New Cemetery, Ross and Cromarty, United Kimgdom.  Grave reference: Sec. 4. Grave B1.

Roddie Mhuirchaidh Mhic, 23 Midtown, Inverasdale. Lost when the Romsey was rammed and sunk off Greenock by an Irish mail boat.

In Memory of Archibald Lawrie, Corporal 2817034, Seaforth Highlanders, who died on Friday, 25th October 1940, age 29.  Son of John Lawrie and of Catherine Lawrie (nee MacDougall), of Poolewe;  husband of Abigail Lawrie, of Poolewe.

Commemorative Information:
Cemetery: Londubh Old Churchyard, Ross and Cromarty, United Kingdom.

Archie, brother of Duncan, came through the horror of St. Valery only to be tragically killed when he fell off an army lorry travelling to their camp in Strathpeffer. He had been married for only 6 weeks.

In Memory of Duncan Lawrie, Sergeant 2817976, 4th Bn., Seaforth Highlanders, who died on Monday, 10th June 1940, age 28.  Son of John and Catherine Lawrie.

Commemorative Information
Memorial: Dunkirk Memorial, Nord, France.  Grave reference: Column 124.

Location:
The Dunkirk Memorial stands at the entrance to the British War Graves Section of Dunkirk Town Cemetery, which lies on the eastern outskirts of the town on the road to Verune (in Belgium).

Duncan was wounded at St. Valery. His brother Archie last saw him stretchered to an ambulance, but was never seen again.

In Memory of Ian Maciver, Private 2827546, 7th Bn., Seaforth Highlanders, who died on Monday, 26th June 1944, age 24.  Son of Donald and Jessie Barbara Maciver, of Poolewe, Ross and Cromarty.

Commemorative Information
Cemetery: St Manvieu War Cemetery, Cheux, Calvados, France. Grave reference: IV. D.8.

Location:
This cemetery is reached from Caen by taking route D9 westwards. After about 8 kilometres the road by-passes St Manvieu village, while Cheux lies 2 kilometres to the left. You will find St Manvieu War Cemetery on the right hand side.

Historical Information:
The men who lie buried in St Manvieu War Cemetery died for the most part in the fluctuating and severe fighting from mid-June to the end of July 1944 in the region between Tilly-sur-Seulles and Caen. Plots XI, XII, XVII and XVIII contain German graves. There are now over 1,500 1939-45 war casualties commemorated in this site.

Ian Domhall an Taillear was killed at Caen, France.

In Memory of Angus Mackenzie, Lance Corporal 14815053, 7th Bn., Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, who died on Saturday, 24th March 1945, age 18.  Son of Mary Maclennan, of Inverasdale, Ross and Cromarty.

Commemorative Information:
Cemetery: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.  Grave reference: 52. F. 1.

Location:
The cemetery is 5 kilometres south west of Kleve. From Kleve take the Hoffmannallee from the town centre, which becomes the Materbornerallee. This road enters Reichswald Forest and becomes the Grunewaldstrasse. Follow the directions for Gennep, and on entering Reichswald Forest the cemetery is situated 500 metres on the left.

Known as Angus Cu, of Firemore, Inverasdale. Was killed when crossing the river Rhine in Germany five weeks before the war ended.

In Memory of Donald Murdo Mackenzie, Ordinary Seaman, S.S. Romsey (Liverpool), Merchant Navy, who died on Friday, 4th September 1942, age 15.  Son of Donald Mackenzie, and of Jean Mackenzie, of Fort William, Inverness-shire.

Commemorative Information
Memorial: Tower Hill Memorial, London, United Kingdom.  Grave reference: Panel 131.

For location and historical information, see above.

Known as Murdo Jean of 1 Cove, Inverasdale. Was also lost on the Romsey.

From different people I have heard a very sad story about this lad. Like most Highland boys he was a non-swimmer and when the Romsey was sunk he managed to hang on to a raft which was floating around amongst all the flotsam. Also in the crew of the Romsey was Donald's neighbour, Kenny MacRae, who was a very good swimmer. Kenny came across Donald and managed to get him lying across the raft. He then pushed Donald and the raft through the water for an hour and a half across to a depot ship anchored at the other side of the River Clyde. By the time he arrived he was exhausted, so the depot crew took over, and sent Kenny to get dry clothes and some rest. But Kenny could not settle down and soon returned to see how Donald was, only to be told that they had lost hold of him and that he had drowned.

Who can understand what Kenny's feelings were?

In Memory of John MacLean, Able Seaman, S.S. Romsey (Liverpool), Merchant Navy, who died on Friday, 4th September 1942, age 38.  Son of Alexander and Annie MacLean, Middle of South boundary.

Commemorative Information:
Cemetery: Gairloch Old Churchyard, Ross and Cromarty, United Kimgdom.

John, known as "Shondan Ali Enn", 4 Cove, Inverasdale. Was also a Romsey casualty. 

In Memory of Duncan Urquhart, Private 14209294, 7th Bn., Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), who died on Sunday, 25th June 1944, age 25.  Son of Alexander and Maryann Urquhart, of Poolewe, Ross and Cromarty.

Commemorative Information:
Cemetery: Ranville War Cemetery, Calvados, France.  Grave reference: III. F. 20.

Location:
Ranville is best reached by taking the D513 northeastwards out of Caen, and after about 9 kilometres turning left at Herouvillette. Go north for one kilometre and then turn left into Ranville village. The War Cemetery is on Rue des Airbornes.

Historical Information
Ranville was the first village to be liberated in France, when the bridge over the Caen Canal was captured intact in the early hours of 6th June, 1944, by troops of the 6th Airborne Division. A great many of the graves are those of men of the 6th Airborne Division, who were landed by glider and parachute nearby to take vital bridges over the Orne and the Caen Canal. There are now over 2,000 1939-45 war casualties commemorated in this site. In the adjoining churchyard British soldiers are buried around the perimeter wall. All landed by parachute or glider and died on 6th/7th June 1944.

Known as Duncan Swift. Killed in France near Caen, his schoolmate Ian MacIver was killed the next day.

In Memory of Robert Rose Urquhart, Private 2991922, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, who died on Monday, 2nd April 1945, age 23.  

Commemorative Information:
Cemetery: Ravenna War Cemetery, Italy.  Grave reference: I. B. 10.

Location:
The War Cemetery lies on a communal road one kilometre south of the SS16 from Ravenna to Ferrara near the village of Piangipane in the Commune and Province of Ravenna. The turning from the main road is at the 143 kilometres stone, 12 kilometres west of Ravenna, and is marked with a CWGC sign, pointing in the direction of the cemetery, and a road sign marked 'Piangipane 4 kilometres'. Continue along the minor road until a further CWGC sign is seen. The entrance to the cemetery is located on the left hand side of the road. The cemetery is permanently open and may be visited anytime.

Historical Information
The site for the cemetery was selected by the Army in 1945 for burials from the surrounding battlefields. Ravenna was taken by the Canadian Corps at the beginning of December 1944, and the burials in the cemetery there reflect the fighting for the Senio line and the period of relative quiet during the first three months of 1945. Many of the men buried there were Canadians; one of the last tasks of the Canadian Corps before being moved to north-west Europe was the clearing of the area between Ravenna and the Comacchio lagoon. Others are Indians from the 10th Indian Division, and New Zealanders. The Cemetery also contains the graves of 30 1914-18 war casualties concentrated in March 1974 from Gradisca Communal Cemetery, Italy, and three other burials concentrated from other minor cemeteries in italy. There are now over 30 1914-19 and nearly 1,000 1939-45 war casualties commemorated in this site.

Known as Bertie Cordie. Was killed in Italy a month before the war ended.

GAIRLOCH PRISONERS OF WAR

William Chisholm, Leacnasaide, Gairloch. (Known as Paddy)
Kenneth MacAskill, 4 Melvaig, Gairloch.
Alick Mackenzie, Red House, Badachro, Gairloch. (Known as Ali Fada)
Donald Mackenzie, 14 Port Henderson, Gairloch. (Known as Domhall Long)
George Mackenzie, 4 Strath, Gairloch. (Known as George Table)
John Mackenzie, 41 Lonemore, Gairloch. (Known as Johnny Doss)
Kenneth Mackenzie, 12 Mihol, Gairloch. (Known as Kenny Dol Chearr)
Murdo C. Mackenzie, 4 Strath, Gairloch. (Known as Bunny Table)
William Mackenzie, 41 Lonemore, Gairloch. (Known as Willie Doss)
Hector Macleod, 56 Lonemore, Gairloch. (Known as Heckie)
Duncan Macpherson, 7 Port Henderson, Gairloch. (Known as Noonie)
Donald Macrae, Kintyre Cottage, Badachro, Gairloch. (Known as Donnie Taillear)
William David Matheson, Kinlochewe.

All these boys served in the 4th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders, attached to the 51st Highland Division, and were taken prisoners at St Valery, France, on 11th June, 1940. Freed in early May 1945.

Donald Macrae, Gairloch, and David Matheson, Kinlochewe, died of wounds in captivity - David on 4th October 1940, and Donald on 6th March 1941.

Shortly after was was declared on 3rd September 1939, the British Army was sent to France and for nine months was face to face with the Germans with hardly a shot being fired. This was known as "the phoney war". Suddenly, on 10th May 1940, the Germans burst through Holland, Blegium and France, driving the British and French before them. Holland surrendered on 14th May and Belgium on 24th May. It seemed the only hope for the British was to retreat to Dunkirk where there was a good sea port from which the Navy could evacuate them. This they did, leaving the 51st Highland Division behind to delay the Germans, giving the main army time to get to Dunkirk. However, for some reason as yet unexplained, the German drive halted and for four days did not move. Some maintained that they had to wait for supplies of ammunition and food as they were advancing too fast.

A book, written by a Christian officer who believed in Divine intervention, told of the British King asking for a day of humiliation and prayer for the Sabbath. The Germans halted on the Saturday. The writer pointed to Isaiah 65 verse 24 - "and it shall come to pass that before they call I will answer".

During these four days Dunkirk was wholly evacuated - 338,000 soldiers were brought back to Britain, There was an unusual thick fog over the English Channel, hindering the enemy planes. Small wonder it was called "the miracle of Dunkirk"! There were altogether 887 boats and ships involved.

After four days' rest, on 4th June 1940, the Germans restarted their drive, pushing the 51st Highland and the French into a tight corner at St Valery. They had no way of escape, so were forced to surrender and were taken prisoners.

This was on 11th June 1940. The long march started that night. The prisoners walked 220 miles in 14 days, sleeping out in open fields and sometimes lying in pools of water. They then travelled 130 miles - possibly by barges on the River Rhine - through Holland. One diary recorded that they tied up for the night at Tiel (Holland) "crammed like sardines - cold, hungry and dirty".

They disembarked at Wesel (Germany) and from there travelled by train for 500 miles to different prison camps in Germany.

It is impossible for anyone who did not go through the experience to understand what that journey was like. these Gairloch boys travelled in the heat of summer in cramped, humid conditions, the train windows fastened shut to prevent anyone trying to escape. Their trip of 850 miles was finally over on 7th July 1940 after three weeks and five days without a wash, shave, or change of clothing.

Although all these men are now deceased, let us not forget they sacrificed five years of their young lives to give the 338,000 the opportunity to escape to re-arm, fight, and win another day.

AULTBEA PRISONERS OF WAR

Donald Mackenzie, 30 Mellon Charles, Aultbea. (Known as Donnie Challan)
Kenny Mackenzie, 6 Isle Ewe, Aultbea. (Known as Kenny Sandie)
John Maclennan, 56 Mellon Charles, Aultbea. (Known as Iain Choinnich Bhig)
Donald Macleod, 4 Achgarve, Laide. (Known as Domhnall Ruaraidh)

The above four were taken prisoners when their ship, M.V. Port Hobart, was sunk by the German battleship, Admiral Sheer, in the Caribbean on 24th November 1940.

We were 13 weeks at sea on different ships and finally arrived in Germany on 25th March 1941, not having had a wash, shave or change of clothing. I remember my socks as holes with a bit of sock around them. In all that time our families at home did not know if we were dead or alive until they were notified by the Red Cross in the middle of April 1941. Years later I heard an interesting and true story about a godly elder in Mellon Charles, Murdo Maclean, who, in his morning worship, read in Jeremiah chapter 31, verses 16 and 17: "Thus saith the Lord, behold! refrain from weeping and thine eyes from tears, for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord, and they shall come again from the land of the enemy." " And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border."

He accepted this as a message he had to deliver to parents who had been grieving for four months for their sons. He dutifully did this as soon as he could.

We must admire this good man's faith in the Lord he believed in and gave him the message. He lived long enough to know we were alive, but died before we arrived home safely on 8th May 1945.

Donald Mackenzie
May 2000


Locals - click to view
Terms & Conditions     © Ross and Cromarty Heritage