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CWGC Tobha Mor, South Uist


Skipman
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In Howmore Old Churchyard, on Tobha Mor, South Uist, there is a CWGC stone for Pte 22711 D MacPhee of the 6th Cameron Highlanders who died on the 16th of April, 1919.

In Howmore Old Graveyard, again on Tobha Mor, there is a the grave of an unidentifed seaman of the Royal Navy, buried on 18th August, 1918.

A friend is visiting this area and wonders why the Sailor's grave is out on its own and not in the main graveyard near the other one (although it is in the family plot) . Any thoughts?

Mike

Forum Howmore-Old-Graveyard sailor.JPG

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It's hard to speculate today on any decision taken a hundred years ago.  I'd guess the decision might have been made to place an unknown individual in unconcecrated ground immediately adjacent to the (Protestant) Church.  There are similar situations down where I am - the immediate churchyard being exclusively reserved for the active local congregation with unconcecrated extensions in use.  Today, when religious views are less rigourously enforced and inclusive, it does seem strange.

"This site (the sailor's grave) is in South Uist and stands beside the ruins of a crofter's house, thirty yards from the Old Churchyard, and is subject to no Authority. It contains the grave of an unidentifed seaman of the Royal Navy, buried on 18th August, 1918."  The 1926 GRRF (Glasgow Area Report 336) reads "Unknown Soldier found drowned September 1918?" and "Not known by Police, or Parish Clerk, or local inhabitants to be buried here.  Further enquiries being made."  This detail is crossed out and clarified to what we see on the headstone with a reference to Glasgow Area Report 382 which must clarify. Clearly the provision of a headstone gives substance to the detail.

I'd like to see what Glasgow Area Report 382 might say but havn't got a clue where to start. 

 

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Many thanks replying and that's interesting. What is and where did you find "The 1926 GRRF (Glasgow Area Report 336) "?

 

Cheers Mike

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5 minutes ago, Skipman said:

 What is and where did you find "The 1926 GRRF (Glasgow Area Report 336) "?

McPhee's paper trail provides the parallel path.  It's all on the CWGC site at Casualty Details | CWGC.   This is a Report on the condition of the two graves as part of a systematic inspection of all UK IWGC graves post War. 

Glasgow Area Report 336 was easy to find but I suspect Glasgow Area Report 382 might beat us.  That is the key to the decision to erect a headstone.

I'd speculate that aged Protestant fishermen/locals recovered the body and did the decent thing for an unknown.  However, to contradict that, the "local police, Parish Clerk and local inhabitants" know nothing when asked in 1926.  

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I'm wondering now if this grave is actually in a forgotten area used as Common (or Paupers) ground.  Headstones and grave markers rarely feature in these so he might not be alone.  An old map might reveal something. Finally, Maybe CWGC (Scotland West) have had similar background enquiries and might also have the answer regarding the illusive Glasgow Area Report 382?   Here's a similar photo (public domain) from 2006 (and also showing the Youth Hostel in the background) with the fence newer and complete.

Unkown Sailor.jpg

Edited by TullochArd
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Yes interesting photos fron Canmore.  The second image reveals the CWGC headstone in it's stark and apparent detached isolation.  I'm all the more convinced there will be more unmarked graves in that area and at some lost point this was a area of of Common ground.  It would only seem reasonable and proper to bury an unknown in an area like that. Interesting that he changes from "Soldier" to "Sailor" and "Royal Navy" is specified ....... there has to be some hard evidence to justify that.  Back to Glasgow Area Report 382 I reckon.

 

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