In January 2015 the first edition of These Men are Worth your Tears was published. A book written by Stuart Graham which covered the horrors of WW1 and tells the story of the many soldiers from Islay and Jura who went to war for their country, and of those who never returned from the battlefields on the continent, leaving local families behind grieving for their loved ones.
Today, Armistice Day 2018, 100 Years After the end of the Great War, I've read the second edition of Stuart Graham's book and was moved by the personal stories of events on Islay and elsewhere, as well as seeing the many photos and reading the sometimes intimate stories of local casualties. The names of the soldiers who paid the highest price possible can be found on the war memorials in the villages on Islay and Jura:
Well over 200 soldiers from Islay and Jura were killed in the Great War. The memorial in Bowmore has 37 names on it, Port Charlotte 37 as well, Portnahaven 13, Kilmeny 22, Port Ellen 78 and Jura 14.
Names on a memorial, well known for some, unknown for others, but very much respected by us all. In Stuarts book they become more than a name as you can read where they served in the war, which battles they fought, from which families on Islay and Jura they are from and where they lived. There are also many photos, giving these brave heroes a face. Continue reading...
As far as history books are concerned, I think this is one of the best books about Islay and Jura's more recent history. Stuart, together with the help of others, had already done a tremendous amount of work to find out what happened to all these men listed on the memorials. There were originally 16 men listed on the War Memorials who it proved difficult to establish what happened to them, how, when and where they died. In this updated edition several readers of the first edition helped by providing further information. Other descendants got in touch to add more details from their family history.
Stuart said: A significant piece of Islay history only became known to me after the first book was published. The account of the astonishing and heroic rescue of over 600 men from the stricken Otranto by Lt. Frank Craven, the commander of HMS Mounsey, stands among the finest in the history of the Royal Navy. This remarkable story along with other discoveries and developments have been included in this edition.
The book has almost double the pages of the original although the pages are slightly smaller. It contains over 170 illustrations from a variety of sources. Many of these were taken from the archives of the Oban Times. Others were the my own. There are also contributions from descendants. The commemorations held in February and May feature too, in an expanded Appendix.
The events happened one hundred years ago. There are descendants who are keenly aware of their family history. Others are less aware thanks to a combination of circumstances and the passing of time. This is my attempt to ensure the men’s stories live on.
All proceeds from the book will be donated to the Museum of Islay Life. The book can be purchased from The Celtic House, the Museum of Islay Life or myself at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01496 860 320