Today, Comann Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath has received £8000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a project, ‘An fheadhainn tha laighe sàmhach’, (They lie silent and still), in North Uist, including Grimsay and Berneray. Awarded through HLF’s ‘First World War: then and now’ programme, the project will focus on a major exhibition, which will be launched in Taigh Chearsabhagh Gallery 2 on Armistice Day and run for two months in the winter possibly transferring to the Museum Gallery during 2015.
To complement the existing photographic archive held by CEUT, many local people have already indicated that they have valuable artefacts to contribute and we are so grateful to them for their support. We intend to develop a digital audiovisual loop, as a central part of the exhibition, to honour the 139 men from the island who died in the war. This Gaelic/English collage of oral memories and poems from the First World War will also include research into the effects of the war on the island.
The information gathered will be digitally recorded and, with the help of Guthan nan Eilean/Island Voices, an on-line interactive archive (with a special stream for curricular material to be available to schools), will be created where everyone can access and contribute information. The archive will allow the public to discuss, contribute, share and research information about the Home Front. These will later be available as a DVD and a publication.
There will be a series of lunchtime reminiscence ceilidhs from the end of February with our project partners Caraidean Uibhist, Tagsa, and Guthan nan Eilean, to be held at Taigh Chearsabhagh. A very special date is 3.00 pm on Friday March 14th, when Sgoil Lionacleit students will be giving a presentation at Taigh Chearsabhagh, based on their visit to the battlefields last June, followed by a musical ceilidh.
An important new venture arising out of this project will be a volunteer programme, whereby over the summer we hope to recruit a rota of tradition-bearing volunteers to greet and welcome visitors to the museum.
Commenting on the award, Councillor Uisdean Robertson said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund for this commemorative project. It is important that the sacrifices of those who gave their lives in World War 1, and of those on the home front, are remembered and marked by today’s generation. I’m particularly pleased that the project will be involving young people through the local schools. Those who made the ultimate sacrifice are lying silent and still but they will never be forgotten.”
Colin McLean, Head of HLF Scotland, said “The First World War changed the face of modern history touching the lives of everyone in this country and beyond. HLF has committed to funding a variety of projects, from organisations large and small, that will create a deeper understanding of the heritage of the conflict. Some of these will capture the memories of individual soldiers, regiments or families, delve into the stories behind names local war memorials, whilst others like this project in North Uist will investigate the impact the conflict had on the whole area. We have already supported over £35m of projects from across the United Kingdom and will continue to support as many applications as we can afford that want to commemorate the centenary.”