Archives » the Great War

Kilrenny War Graves

Kilrenny is a village in Fife, as near to Anstruther – and Cellardyke – as almost makes no difference, separated only by a (short stretch of) road.

I spotted a Commonwealth War Graves sign on its graveyard’s entrance and went to investigate. There were two graves.

Private G Corstorphine, The Black Watch, 10/8/1917, aged 25:-

Commonwealth War Grave, Kilrenny, Fife, Scotland

Private J Doig, The Black Watch, 15/11/1915, aged 20:-

War Grave, Kilrenny

In addition three private gravestones mentioned war dead.

James Anstruther Moncrieff, killed in action, HMS Invincible, 31/5/1916, aged 22. Presumably in the Battle of Jutland:-

Kilrenny Memorial

Alexander W Henderson, lost at sea by mine explosion, 14/8/1917, aged 29:-

Kilrenny Commemoration

Similar name but a different gravestone yet obviously the same incident. Andrew Henderson, killed at sea by an explosion, August 1917, aged 53:-

Kilrenny Grave Commemoration

Lance Corporal James Murray, 48 Canadian Highlanders, Canadian Expeditionary Force, 22/4/1915, aged 21:-

Kilrenny War Commemoration

Keiss War Memorial

Keiss is in Sutherland, Scotland, on the A99 between Wick and John O’Groats. The War Memorial stands a bit away from any houses in a square plot of land beside the road.

Keiss War Memorial, Sutherland

It is inscribed, “Keiss Quoad Sacra Parish. The dedication is “To the memory of the fallen in the Great War 1914-1919,” and towards the base, “Also 1939-1945,” below which are six names for that second conflict. You can also see here that flat, almost treeless, landscape of north-east Sutherland, which acts as a kind of preview for Orkney:-

Keiss War Memorial Closer View

View towards village, showing Great War names:-

Keiss War Memorial Names

View towards North Sea, showing Great War names:-

Keiss War Memorial

Some corner of a foreign field…. Wietje Farm Cemetery

Wietje Farm Cemetery is close to Ypres (Ieper,) Flanders, Belgium, just off the N313 road. The access is up a grassed path between two houses into a field growing crops. The path continues round the edge of the field until it is at a right angle to the cemetery to which it then leads.

115 Commonwealth servicemen of the Great War are buried here along with one German.

Wietje Farm Cemetery From Access Path

Wietje Farm Cemetery, Flanders, Belgium

Graves and Cross of Sacrifice:-

Wietje Farm Cemetery, Graves

The German grave; Unteroffizier O Hoffmeister, R Inf R, 22/9/1917. This lies off to the left of the previous photo:-

Wietje Farm Cemetery, German Grave

Wick War Memorial

Wick’s War Memorial is situated by the main road into the town from the south, near the bridge over the Wick River.

Wick War Memorial

Closer view. A figure of Victory on a stone pillar:-

Wick War Memorial Closer View

Dedications. The Great War: “In honour of all those who suffered and in proud and grateful remembrance of the fallen sons of the Burgh of Wick who died for home and freedom in the Great War 1914-1919.”

World War 2: “Also in honoured and grateful remembrance of all those of this Burgh who gave their lives in the Second World War 1939-1945.”

Wick War Memorial Dedications

Memorial Wall (right):-

Wick War Memorial Wall 1

Memorial Wall (left):-

Wick War Memorial Wall 2

Poppy Watch 2017

It was one month and one day before Armistice Day this year (ie on October 10th) when I saw my first paper poppies beside a shop’s till. If you were to wear them for all that time they would have surely have deteriorated beyond use.

On Friday 20th Oct I saw one in the wild (as it were.) A young girl at the entrance to Kirkcaldy Library had just “dropped her flower.” She didn’t seem to know what it represented.

At least the politicians haven’t – quite – got round to it yet. Unless I’ve missed them.

My first sighting on TV this year was on Saturday night (21st Oct) and it was sported by an Italian! That is just bizarre. OK they were our allies in the Great War but in (most of) World War 2 we were enemies – even if their soldiers’ hearts weren’t really in it. (The Italian in question was Chelsea’s manager Antonio Conte. This just goes to show the unpleasant overtones of coercion associated with poppy wearing by public figures these days.)

Tonight came the first “normal” TV appearance – on the BBC’s Countryfile. Three weeks before Remembrance Day. And how long before it was the piece filmed?

I will make my contribution to the Earl Haig Fund as usual this year but reserve my right not to wear the poppy. I’ll say it again. The servicemen it commemorates died for my right not to be forced to wear one.

Evie War Memorial

Evie is a small village close to the Broch of Gurness in the north of mainland Orkney.

This simple pillar stands to the side of the A 966 road from Evie to Birsay.

War Memorial, Evie, Orkney

The inscription reads, “In memoriam. Died for King and Country in the Great War 1914-1919.”

Inscription, War Memorial, Evie, Orkney

The names on the memorial all date from 1917 and 1918:-

Names, War Memorial, Evie, Orkney

More Names, War Memorial, Evie, Orkney,

Stromness War Memorial

A statue of a woman on a plinth, this stands on the outskirts of Stromness beside the main road to Kirkwall:-

Stromness War Memorial

Statue and Plinth. Dedication, “In memory of the gallant dead who gave their lives for honour and freedom in the European War 1914-1919.”:-

Statue and Plinth, Stromness War Memorial

View looking towards town:-

Stromness War Memorial Looking Towards Town

Names for 1915-17:-

Stromness War Memorial

Names for 1917-18:-

Stromness War Memorial, Names for 1917-18.

Additional plaque. After 1917:-

Stromness War Memorial, After 1917

Names for 1939-45. “To the glory of God and in memory of those who made the supreme sacrifice in the Second World War 1939-45.”:-

Stromness War Memorial, Names for 1939-45

Approaching Orkney

Island of Stroma, Pentland Firth. Stroma is not part of Orkney proper but lies to the south:-

Island of Stroma, Pentland Firth

A fortification on Flotta, Orkney. Hard to tell at the distance; it may have been from the Great War, World War 2 or both:-

A Fortification on Flotta, Orkney

Fortifications on South Ronaldsay, Orkney. World War 2 vintage:-

Fortifications on South Ronaldsay, Orkney

More Fortifications on South Ronaldsay. Artillery emplacements. These are almost Art Deco in style:-

More Fortifications on South Ronaldsay, Orkney

Ahoy, Hoy!

Ahoy-hoy was the suggestion of the inventor of the telephone Alexander Graham Bell for the greeting people should use when answering the telephone. I couldn’t avoid thinking of it as we approached the island of Hoy across Scapa Flow on the ferry crossing from the terminal at Houton to Lyness.

Hoy from ferry:-

Hoy from Ferry across Scapa Flow)

Approaching Lyness:-

Approaching Hoy from Ferry across Scapa Flow

Plaque at Lyness Ferry Terminal commemorating the salvaging of ships from the scuttled German High Seas Fleet in Scapa Flow. Apparently the metal from the ships found use in the space programme as it was uncontaminated by radioactive fallout:-

Plaque at Lyness Ferry Terminal, Hoy, Orkney

Old Fortified Building on Hoy seen from Lyness Naval Cemetery. This must have been to do with either or both of the World Wars:-

Old Fortified Building on Hoy

The Hoy Hotel. Art Deco/Moderne style. We met an Australian photographing the building. He had come to Hoy as that was his surname:-

The Hoy Hotel, Hoy, Orkney

Photo in the Lyness Naval Museum of the Garrison Theatre, Hoy, built by the Royal Marines. Now no more except for the foyer:-

Lost Art Deco on Hoy

War Graves, Mainland Orkney

The churchyard cemetery at St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, had a Commonwealth War Graves sign on it. There were two, both Seaforth Highlanders from the Great War.

Private J Brass, 30/10/1918, aged 18:-

Kirkwall War Grave

Private J McKay, 11/11/1918, aged 21:-

War Grave, Kirkwall

Similarly, in Stromness’s Warebeth Cemetery on the shores of Hoy Sound, W Parsons, Second Hand, RNR, HM Trawler Dale Castle, 8th December 1918:-

Stromness War Grave

And at Orphir, Lance Bombardier J W Bews, Royal Artillery, 26/3/1941, aged 20:-

Orphir War Grave

Also in Orphir cemetery was this dedication to James Oliver Flett, Airborne Division, who died on active service, 22/4/1944, aged 22:-

Grave at Orphir

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