we will continue to update our site visitors with the progress
of our Study and let you know what other events will be happening
along the way. As originally planned, The Far From Home project
is still on schedule and will be completed over the next two years.
In 2017 or 2018, we are planning one-off trips to Jersey (3 locations
each with one casualty), Guernsey (1 location and a single casualty)
and the Isle of Man (again, 3 locations each with one casualty)
to complete our commitment to Far From Home. Once again, with
the additional expense of costly sea crossings to these islands,
we are still actively looking to secure sponsorship for these
final laps of our marathon journey which to date has spanned over
In addition, many of the burial places of Canadian casualties
were unknown until found by the authors. Their names were listed
either on the Brookwood Memorial Wall in Surrey, or in one of
the Books of Remembrance. Through extensive research, once each
burial place was discovered, the location has been added to our
list of new places to visit, including one in the Republic of
Ireland and another in Northern Ireland.
If you would like to contribute to our Centennial Memorial Project,
please click here. All sponsorship
will be acknowledged on this site and highlighted in any future
hard copy reports or seminar papers produced by us. Your support
will be hugely appreciated.
In 2018, our 868th and final destination
is likely to be at St Peter Port, Guernsey in the Channel Islands,
Subject to prior approval from the local authority, we are planning
to plant a Canadian Maple Tree. It will be a fitting way to mark
the end of our Far From Home project and will be a permanent reminder
of the huge sacrifice given by the Canadians who fought with Britain
during The Great War.
Our next article about the Great War Canadians has been completed
and submitted to the Editor of the Western Front Association Magazine
“Stand To!” We look forward to seeing it in print
sometime in the Autumn of 2017.
Currently, we are able supply an individual DVD for any one of
the 3898 Canadian service men and women who are commemorated in
England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. In addition, our
website can also supply an individual DVD by location or county.
Please refer to Our
Catalogue (click here) for full details.
With the final addition of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man,
Our Catalogue will include all 3898 casualties
in our Far From Home project.
Diana & Adrian
is the report on our trip to Scotland in June 2015
Our planned trip to 161 locations in search of the 307 casualties
all around Scotland took place over 26 days in June 2015. It was
completed in almost continuous wet, windy or cold weather. Often,
a combination of all three elements. The Scottish press reported
that it was the coldest June since 1972! Unfortunately, owing
to strike action (or should it be inaction?) at Caledonian MacBrayne
Ferries, we were unable to fulfil our commitment to visit the
three off-shore islands of Lewis, Colonsay and Benbecula. However,
we hope to obtain photographs of the five graves on these islands
in the near future.
road trip itself was extremely gruelling. We were grateful that
our energy levels and overall fitness were sufficient to enable
us to complete the marathon journey of almost 4000 miles. Starting
up the east coast of Scotland via Edinburgh (2 nights), Stirling
(1 night), Dundee (3 nights), Aberdeen (3 nights) and Inverness,
we frequently detoured into numerous tiny villages and hamlets
where our Canadians are commemorated.
was also necessary for us to spend additional time in Inverness
at the Tomnahurich Cemetery which is a vast 19th century burial
ground. The cemetery is dominated by Tomnahurich Hill which rises
over 220 feet above the surrounding land and is covered in a series
of thick terraces of trees. In common with many other Scottish
cemeteries, we had no section plan to guide us around the site.
Having spent hours searching for our graves, we were thankful
to enlist the extremely willing help from some of the cemetery
workers. With their assistance, we were finally able to locate
some of the hard to find private headstones, one of which was
located on the flat hilltop.
several reasons, we decided to stay in Inverness for three nights
between the 11th to 14th June. Firstly, we were delighted to meet
members of the Scotland North Branch of the Western Front Association
and were able to thank them personally for their very generous
sponsorship donation. We enjoyed a breakfast meeting with Derek
Bird (Chairman) and branch members Jill Stewart and Glen Ross.
by Derek, we then went to Cluny Hill Cemetery at Forres to find
the three Canadians buried there. One of these casualties was
a 22-year-old French Canadian soldier named Pte Antonio Hébert
who disappeared from Sluie camp on 30th April 1918. Sadly, he
chose to commit suicide by hanging himself from a tree along the
banks of the nearby River Findhorn. However, his body was not
found until 1921, when his remains were discovered by two
local lads out for a walk.
story is so sad that we decided to retrace his final journey.
With local help at Logie Steading, we were able to determine approximately
where the tragedy took place. The River Findhorn is a really beautiful
setting and quite deserted. We felt it was important to spend
some time in quiet reflection, to acknowledge the tragic death
of this particular soldier and the thousands of others who died
during the Great War.
the morning of Sunday 15th June, we resumed our journey northwards
and stayed at Thurso, close to John O’ Groats. Catching
a Pentland Ferry over to mainland Orkney and then an Orkney Ferry
from Kirkwall to the Isle of Eday (15 miles further north), we
were lucky to be offered excellent accommodation at the Eday Youth
Hostel, which we had all to ourselves for the one night we were
there. There are only two small B & B’s on the Island,
one was temporarily closed and the other was full.
back on the mainland, we ventured west and found our way to the
tiny village of Nedd, our most challenging and remote Highland
location. It was only reached after a nail-biting white knuckle
drive along nine miles of single track road that mimicked a scenic
railway! When we arrived at Nedd in the rain, one of the amused
locals pointed out the cemetery. It was situated at the top of
a steep hill above Nedd but totally inaccessible by car. Undaunted,
we donned boots and waterproofs, slowly trudged our way upwards
to the top of the hill and found ‘our’ two Canadians.
The compensation for all this effort was the magnificent view
over the village and across Loch Nedd into the mountains beyond.
A shortage of time and the atrocious weather that day prevented
us from lingering too long, as we had booked overnight accommodation
in Ullapool, nearly 40 miles further down the west coast.
this stage, we were confronted by the insoluble obstacle of the
Caledonian MacBrayne ferry strikes. It was patently obvious we
would be unable to get to and from the Isles of Lewis, Benbecula
or Colonsay. Instead, we reorganised our itinerary to continue
with the trip regardless. Making our way south through Oban to
Campbeltown, we visited several more small and out of the way
locations off the main road.
we were able to hop on a late morning ferry to the Isle of Arran
where we found our Canadian without any delays. Later that same
afternoon, we caught yet another ferry from Arran across to Ardrossan.
Using Kilmarnock (2 nights) as our base, we visited Ayr and several
other locations in Ayrshire.
up, our biggest challenge! Glasgow required another three night
stay as there were twenty-two of our cemeteries in and around
the city. Again, with no section plans available, we had fortunately
arranged ahead of time that Cemetery personnel would meet up with
us and direct us to all the graves on our list. We were extremely
fortunate to meet Robert Stewart (Glasgow City Council) and Ricky
Williams (North Lanarkshire Council) who enabled us to successfully
complete our programme of visits. To save time, Robert and Ricky
had suggested we provide them with a list of all the cemeteries
and graves we needed to find prior to our arrival. As promised,
they had located each one in advance for us. We are extremely
grateful to them both.
Glasgow on 24th June, we headed southwards towards Dryfesdale
Cemetery at Lockerbie which is the site of the memorial to all
270 victims of the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing. After a quick loop
into England, we made a whistle non stop tour through Gretna Green
on our way to Dumfries.
last motel stay was at Dumfries (2 nights). On Day 25, our mission
was to find the final four cemeteries, none of which were in close
proximity to each other and all with just a single casualty. A
slow drive towards Stranraer and then south to the Mull of Galloway
brought us to Kirk Maiden on Luce Bay. Then, we headed to the
Clachan of Penninghame which is approached via a narrow unclassified
road leading to a farm track.
final two churchyards were at Kirkbean and Kirkton. Afterwards,
we simply collapsed into the car with sheer relief. Mission accomplished!
We had managed to complete 302 out of the 307 Scottish memorials
and visited 156 of the 161 different locations from our original
left Dumfries in the rain on Friday 26th June and arrived back
home to sunshine at teatime exhausted but elated after a lengthy
journey of just over 400 miles.
most challenging destination by far was the disused church set
amongst rolling fields at Rothiemurchus near Aviemore. It took
three separate sets of directions and some significant back tracking
before we were finally successful. There was just a very small
wooden sign which read ‘Church’ on an iron gate. We
had to clamber over a three foot high iron rail fence (the gate
was rusted shut), follow a 150 metre barely discernible path across
a field under cultivation and carefully make our way down a rutted
slope through woods for a further 150 metres to find a long closed
church and churchyard. There was just one casualty there.
on the trip, we were warmly welcomed by everyone we met in Scotland
and their hospitality was outstanding. Wherever we went, the cemetery
staff took a huge pride in their work and were delighted to help
us. Our grateful thanks to them all for their patience in helping
us to find all the graves and memorials we wanted.
would like to thank all our sponsors who contributed to our Scotland
trip for without their support it would not have been possible.
A list of all our sponsors can be found by following the link
on the ‘Sponsorship’ page on our website:
In particular, we would
like to thank the Western Front Association for their generous
sponsorship. In addition to a contribution from the National organisation,
we were absolutely delighted by the response from five Western
Front Association branches.
Diana & Adrian