The 4th of August 2014 marked 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War, and in the villages of Lochbroom, in towns up and down the country and further afield, people will have paused to think, to remember the fallen, those fortunate to have made it back, the sacrifices made by so many.
The Parish of Lochbroom, thanks to the incredible work of Mr. and Mrs. Fraser of Leckmelm from 1919 until its publication in 1921, was provided with a detailed record of each local lad who gave his life in the Great War. I first came across this book as a child, eager to learn about the man after whom I was named, Private Roderick Maclean, the younger brother of my grandmother Dora. So in his memory, and in memory of the other Men of Lochbroom, I have taken the opportunity of this anniversary to make their names, their stories, known and available to all.
This website is the digital version of a wonderful book that was published by Mr. and Mrs. Frasier in 1921 that recorded the names and details of the men from the Parish of Lochbroom who lost their life in the First World War. The original book only given to a few families when it was privately printed back in 1921, but as a Parish we are extremely lucky to have such a record available.
Mrs Fraser was also conscious of the fact that some of the fallen may have been omitted and over the last few years of research I have come across another fifteen men from the Parish who lost their lives. Some of them are commemorated on the Memorials in Ullapool, Coigach and Dundonnell. The original book listed 87 men, but only had detailed records for 86. The Memorials gave another 15, bringing the total number of men to 102. From the total of 102, I’ve found the official records for 90 so if anyone has more information on the 12 that can help us to locate their records and their final resting place that would be great.
OFFICAL RECORDS: At the end of each profile I have included a link to the official record held by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The records for 12 of the men have not been found. The information in the official records includes the location of the grave or memorial.
DIFFERENCES: Some of the information in the original book differs from what is contained in the official records. When the information is new, such as a service number that was not in the original book, I have simply added it to the profile. When the information is different, such as a change to the Rank, the age, the date of death, I have left the original information in the profile and listed the differences in the section ADDITIONAL INFORMATION. In this section I have also noted specific inscriptions found on individual graves, which are not so visible in the photos.
GRAVE LOCATION: For those whose official records have been found I have also stated the name of the Cemetery or Memorial where the men have been commemorated. If you click on the link, it will take you to a map on Google Earth showing the exact location.
GRAVE / MEMORIAL PHOTOS: I was able to visit the cemeteries and memorials in the Lochbroom area, as well as in the North of France and in Belgium in June this year. Unfortunately due to time constraints they’ve not be uploaded yet, but this will hopefully happen in the coming weeks. Also if you have any other photos or scans of documents, or letters that would be of interest, then don’t hesitate to share them with me and I’ll update the site.
FAMILY CONNECTION: The original book highlighted the connection that the individual men had with the village. It would be nice if we could update this section to indicate the connections with the village today. So if one of your relatives is one of the Men of Lochbroom and you would like to share this information then please let me know.
MEMORIALS: At the moment this section contains the lists of men commemorated on the local memorials. It will be updated with photos and links to the individual pages in the coming weeks.
As the Note at the start of the book states “Let those who come after see to it that their names be not forgotten” and I hope that this work will go someway to ensuring that. Should anyone that has the time to look at the website have additional information, photos, or who would like to update the site with their family connection then I would be very happy to hear from you. You can email me at the following:
A short word of thanks to my mate Ben, who put together the website, spending many, many hours of his own time to help me with this project. And finally, a very special thank you to my mum and to MC, who ensured that the memory of these young men was kept alive in our home.
Kenneth Roderick Lavelle