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WW1 Eigg soldiers

10 young men from Eigg between the ages of 18 to 20 took part in World War 1. Nine fought in the trenches of Flanders, one was sent to fight in Thessaloniki. Only half of them survived.

Seven men came back. 2 died withing a few years, lungs destroyed by mustard gas: John MacLellan at Croft 3 and almost next door, Neil MacLellan died withinh 3 years, victims of the first ever instance of chemical warfare.

Five survived.

One of them,Donald Archie MacLeod, the gamekeeper's son at Croft 8 brought back a Military Medal from Delville Woods, one of the fiercest battles of the Somme campaign.His younger brother Ronald , who served as sniper had survived it.

Ronald Macleod and Angus MacLellan: one came back, the other didn't

In the MacLellan family on the next croft next,  at Tigh an t-Sithean, all the sons  were lost. The three older sons Archibald, Angus and Donald MacLellan were Killed in Action in the first few years of the war. Donald, getting a Military Medal for his action. When they fell,  they were with men from Arisaig when they fell, all part of the huge losses suffered by their regiment, Cameron Highlanders.

What sadness when their only surviving brother, Neil, died also, only 3 years after coming back? it is hard to imagine the pain this must caused their parents and sister.

Others that came back were the 2 brothers from Croft 1, Hugh Mackinnon and Angus Mackinnon. They served in different regiments, Angus being drafted later during the war.  Hugh who served in the Dardanelles and could quote Latin poetry saw Mount Olympus and compared it to the Coolins of Rum.

Hugh wrote of his feelings on his return, half of his friends gone. He composed the song which is read at the Eigg War memorial, a lament to the carefee lads of his youth, and the sadness of never seeing them again.

Eigg 2018 commemoration

To follow.

At the war memorial

Pages of the sea

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