Les Wilson will hold a book launch in Bowmore Distillery for his new book The Drowned and the Saved, When War came to the Hebrides. It's a book about the horrors of World War 1 on Islay, which is now 100 years ago. This year there will be many events around Scotland to commemorate World War 1 and Islay plays an important role. The war arrived directly on the shores of Islay with the sinking of the Tuscania and Otranto resulting in the deaths of over 500 mainly American servicemen. A new website has been built with many stories of that time as well as the major events which will take place this year. See https://ww100islay.com/.
A quote from the Drowned and the Saved book review in the Ileach: "As a journalist, Les eschews overtly flowery language, but his writing is no less descriptive for it. The detailed personal stories paint pictures of tragedies that, reading of them, is fortunately the closest we will ever come. Information has been taken from log books, letters and interviews which outline the personal experiences of individuals caught up in the most horrific of situations. The level of detail hammers home the hellish nightmare of the sinkings. Les weaves in those stories with what was happening on Islay itself; local people responding to flares and galvanising themselves and others to help the stricken, all the more complicated with no telephones on Islay in 1918." Continue reading...
"The super-human work of Sergeant Malcolm MacNeill (Lord Robertson’s grandfather), the most senior policeman on the island, in identifying all dead through identity discs, fingerprints and other belongings.The story of Islay carpenter, James MacTaggart, whose diary highlighted the mundane events of the early part of the week through to salvaging lifeboats, making coffins and crosses and attending funerals, as the week progressed. The Drowned and the Saved is a remarkable read - an authentic record of two tragic events which have gone down in the history of both the United States and the United Kingdom - but also a real page-turner."
The launch party is on Monday 29th January and will start at 6pm in the tasting room. Refreshments will be provided and all are welcome. The book is already for sale locally at Roys in Bowmore and onAmazon.