The Great War Centenary Commemoration on Islay 2018 :: Shared Description

The first week of May 2018 saw Islay remembering the centenary of two events in which the Island and Islanders were greatly involved the shipwrecks of the British ships SS Tuscania and HMS Otranto carrying American soldiers to the Western Front.
On 5 February the SS Tuscania was torpedoed by a German submarine. 2000 men were rescued, but 220 died. The survivors were helped by the islanders, and the bodies of the dead were recovered and buried with honour. The day before the mass interment of 126 bodies it was realised that there was no American flag to fly at the burial. The housekeeper of Islay House, with three helpers, worked overnight to make a flag, with material from a local shop and a plan from an encyclopaedia, to fly at the burial. The flag was later presented to President Woodrow Wilson who, in turn, gave it to the Smithsonian Institute of American History in Washington D.C. That flag is now displayed, on loan, in the Port Charlotte Museum of Islay Life, together with many other artefacts relating to the two incidents, as well as Islay life in general.
On 6 October HMS Otranto collided with another ship in her convoy during a storm. More than 600 American soldiers and British crewmen were rescued by HMS Mounsey, but 500 men were still aboard when the HMS Otranto hit the reef off Kilchoman. Only 19 survived.
The contribution of the Islay people was commemorated by the laying of wreaths at the American Cemetery at Kilchoman, the American Monument on the Mull of Oa, and the war memorial at Port Ellen.
by M J Richardson
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19 images use this description:

NR2163 : Memorial to Captain Ernest Davidson R.N. by M J Richardson
NR2558 : The story of HMS Otranto and SS Tuscania by M J Richardson
NR2558 : The story of the Tuscania Flag by M J Richardson
NR2163 : Kilchoman Military Cemetery by M J Richardson
NR3645 : Port Ellen War Memorial by M J Richardson
NR2558 : The bell of SS Tuscania by M J Richardson
NR2163 : The American Cemetery at Kilchoman by M J Richardson
NR3645 : Poppy pebbles by M J Richardson
NR2558 : When WW1 Came to Islay's Shores by M J Richardson
NR3645 : Port Ellen War Memorial by M J Richardson
NR2163 : Wreath of Poppies at the Cross of Sacrifice by M J Richardson
NR2163 : The American Military Cemetery at Kilchoman by M J Richardson
NR2163 : The Cross of Sacrifice at Kilchoman by M J Richardson
NR2163 : Commonwealth War Graves at Kilchoman by M J Richardson
NR2163 : The Sinking of SS 'Otranto' by M J Richardson
NR2163 : The sinking of the HMS 'Otranto' by M J Richardson
NR2163 : The entrance to The American Cemetery by M J Richardson
NR2163 : The American Military Cemetery at Kilchoman by M J Richardson
NR2558 : The flag used at the burial of American victims from the SS Tuscania by M J Richardson


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Created: Sun, 20 May 2018, Updated: Sun, 19 Jan 2020

The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2018 M J Richardson, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.

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