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Eriskay War Memorial

With the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War being commemorated in November 2018, CEE thought it would be fitting for Eriskay to have its own memorial to its war dead.

The first thing we did was to get a list of our First and Second world war dead from the Kildonan War Memorial. As well as Eriskay war dead we included Kilbride, Ludag and South Glendale. We put notices in the church bileag and on our Facebook page asking for information about the men who died and if there was anyone, we were not aware of.


As we researched those who had died locally, we discovered that some of the ‘Uist’ men were actually born and brought up in Eriskay, moving to Uist in their early teens. This discovery encouraged us to research and identify all the men by their ‘sloinneadh’. We did this by using census records and the Scotland’s People website. Researching these men was heartbreaking as we recognised the families, learned about their lives before going to war and the stories on how they died. They became real, not just names on a war memorial.

We wanted our memorial to be more personal and made the decision to include the townships and the families to which each of these men belonged so that anyone visiting could identify their own family connection instead of the men becoming another statistic.


We met with Lorraine Burke, Hebridean Graphics, in Taigh Chearsabhagh on numerous occasions and worked with her to get the plaque we wanted. She was very patient with us and gave us lots of advice as to the best way to map it out. We wanted first World War on one side and Second World War on opposite side. To break it up we thought it would be fitting to have words or poem in middle portion.


We decided on two poems and a reading from scripture (suggested by Father Ross). The poems we thought were most fitting were a verse from the poem ‘For the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon translated into gaelic and a verse from the poem “The War Memorial” by Donald John Mac Donald, Peninerine.


The scripture reading was taken from John 15:13.


Thanks to Lorraine’s imaging techniques we were able to have various images in the background. We chose an image of the township of Baile, with the church in the distance as it was when the men from the first war left the island. We then added in images of fishing boats, an Eriskay Pony and the photographs we had of those men whose name appears on the plaque.


The plaque is situated in the old graveyard beside the graves of the unknown sailors who also lost their lives during the war.  We hope this is a fitting tribute to the men of Eriskay who left their native island never to return.


The plaque was unveiled on Sunday 11th August 2019 by Mairead MacInnes (Mairead Eachainn) at a memorial dedication ceremony in the old graveyard. Father Ross officiated at the service which was very moving. After a two-minute silence the Flowers of the Forest was played by Iagan MacInnes (Iagan Dunnachadh bhig) on the very bagpipes his grandfather John MacMillan (Iain Aonghas Iain bhig played on the battlefields during the First World War.  An emotional moment for all those present.


We are grateful to all those who supported our project by sharing information and photographs and generously donated through our coffee mornings and exhibition to enable us to have our own war memorial on our own island. 


List of funders


Western Isles Development Trust (WIDT)

Heritage Lottery Fund

CNES Small Gaelic Grant   

Gaelic Book Council

Community Fundraising 

CEE Own Funds


It was quite fitting that when we took the photographs of the plaque as, coincidentally, there was a lone piper playing a pipe tune as the sun went down on the Rudha Caol, something you don’t normally see on Eriskay!


Gan cuimhneachadh

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