Respect the fallen
As one who lost many relations in the two world wars I feel most grateful to the SNP government for establishing a fund to restore Scottish war memorials. In the two world wars Scotland made a military contribution greatly above her due. In the First World War out of ten infantry battalions with the heaviest losses, six were Scottish.
At the Battle of Arras 38 Scottish battalions went over the parapets, more than the whole British army at Waterloo. While we widely acknowledge the contribution made by Scottish soldiers, Scottish seamen are seldom mentioned.
In 1916 at the Battle of Jutland one of the major losses was the sinking of HMS Invincible. Killed on this ship were 11 naval reservists from the Isle of Lewis, Western Isles.
They were all ex-fishermen serving as gunners and their ages ranged from 18 to 50.
In December, 1939, proceedings in the House of Commons were halted in order that the Prime Minister could pay tribute to the gallantry of the crew of AMC Rawalpindi, whose heroic fight inspired the admiration of the whole world.
Twelve of the gallant gunners on this ship were naval reservists from the Isle of Lewis. Eight of them were killed and four became German prisoners.
Scottish seamen served with distinction on naval and merchant ships and on vessels from Empire countries and the USA.
Let us hope that Scottish MPs and MSPs put aside their political differences when marking the 100th anniversary of the First World War.
Donald J MacLeod
Bridge of Don, Aberdeen
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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