AROUND 50 people gathered at the two war memorials in the Staffin district on Remembrance Sunday to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
In a very welcome but unusually mild and calm November afternoon, the services at the monuments in Culnacnoc first, and then in Staffin, were held to honour those local men who never returned home, as well as Allied airmen who tragically perished in the Taobh Sear.
Led by Donald MacDonald, Glasphein, the service at 2.30pm saw Janet Lamont from Valtos lay the Remembrance wreath at Culnacnoc with 20 people in attendance.
Retired London fireman and Culnacnoc native Donald MacLeod then read out the names of all the soldiers and seamen listed on the memorial who died in the First and Second World Wars including the patronymics or sloinneadh of each individual, which is a key feature of both services every year.
A two-minute service was observed and Dòmhnall Alasdair MacDonald, Glasphein, played Flowers of the Forest on the small pipes.
The Culnacnoc memorial was built in 1921 and commemorated initially the seven former pupils of Valtos School who died in WWI. Other names of those who served in various capacities during both World Wars were added later. Before the school was demolished in the late 1930s it stood directly above the memorial.
Donald MacDonald also delivered the second service at the Staffin War Memorial, next to the Kilmartin River, with 30 local people attending and Dòmhnall Alasdair again playing the pipes.
Angus Ross, Ellishader, read out the names of the Staffin men along with their sloinneadh. He also named the American crew members of the Flying Fortress which crashed into Beinn Edra at the very end of the Second World War. A plaque remembering the men was added to the monument several years ago. Wreaths were laid by Ewen MacLeod, Garafad, on behalf of the American servicemen, Liz MacFarlane, Stenscholl for Bun Sgoil Stafainn and Colin Wilson, Trotternish Avenue, for Staffin Community Council / Trust.
The Staffin memorial was moved to its present location in 1996 after the new double-track A855 road built in the mid-1980s effectively saw it bypassed where it sat in its previous location at a’ Choille Bheag by Iain (The Herd) MacDonald’s house overlooking Staffin Bay.
It was unveiled by Miss Livingstone of Flodigarry in late September 1921. It is carved out of grey granite, with the plinth made from hewn stones and was funded by public subscription. The memorial is the only one in Skye and Lochalsh commemorating a soldier who died during the Boer War.