Dunvegan residents mark Great War centenary

Hundreds of locals and visitors gathered on Monday to witness a parade of Navy, Army and RAF personnel, plus Army cadets and representatives of the Royal British Legion and HM Coastguard, as Dunvegan stood still to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

The parade, led by the Isle of Skye Pipe Band, was part of a com­memorative event organised by Dunvegan Community Council. It included the laying of wreaths at the memorial, the passing of a symbolic sword from a retired, serving and cadet soldier and prayers in Gaelic and English.

The Lord Lieutenant, Janet Bowen, addressed the parade and assembled crowd, praising the spirit of the community that lost 45 men in the First World War. John Laing, deputy Lord Lieutenant, read the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ and dedicated prayers were given by Reverend Geoff McGee and by Donald MacKenzie in Gaelic.

Children from Dunvegan Primary School presented the first of 45 trees which will be planted behind the war memorial as a lasting tribute to the fallen.

Following a minute’s silence, there was a fly-past from an RAF Typhoon and individual poppy crosses were placed upon the memorial.

After the service, the parade marched down to the village hall where local volunteers laid on tea and cakes for all. Donations to the National Armed Forces charity, the Soldiers, Sailors and Airman’s Families Association, were collected and amounted to a total of £524.

Meg Gillies, chief development manager for Skye and Lochalsh Council for Voluntary Organisations, said: “I can barely remember a time when I felt more proud to be a Sgiathanach than I was yesterday, watching that wonderful proud procession walk back through Dunvegan — it was a truly memorable day. The organisation, love and care put into the day was evident, as were the sincerity and solemnity. Well done, Dunvegan Community Council — you are an inspiration to the rest of the island.”