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Kilchoman Military Cemetery

CWGC highlights Scotland's Inner Hebrides as a place of remembrance

06 October 2014

Fresh insights into naval tragedies of the two world wars that occurred in British waters will be revealed when interactive visitor information panels are unveiled on the Isle of Islay, Argyll on Monday (6 October).

Digital artefacts and stories of the naval servicemen who drowned will be made available by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to smartphones users at CWGC Kilchoman Military Cemetery and Kilnaughton Military Cemetery.

Visitors can use their phones to scan a code on the panels that links to a website revealing some of the backstories of those who drowned in the North Channel that runs between Scotland and Ireland, now buried or commemorated at the two cemeteries.

One example is that of Charles Henry Hacking. Hacking worked as a chef aboard P&O Ferries until the outbreak of the First World War, when the ship upon which he was serving was requisitioned by the British Government for the war effort. He died when his  vessel sank in October 1918, just one month before peace was declared.

Click here to visit the innovative microsite that will be accessed by those using the interactive panels at CWGC Kilchoman Military Cemetery.

The panel unveilings on the island are being made on the anniversary of the sinking of HMS Otranto, Hacking's vessel.

Speeches will be made at the two cemeteries by CWGC Commissioner Robert Fox MBE and the Chair of the Scottish WWI Commemoration Panel,  Norman Drummond, along with Councillor and Armed Forces & Veterans' Champion Maurice Corry. Pupils of Primary Seven at Port Ellen Primary School will be attending the event and will place wooden remembrance crosses on each grave.

CWGC Commissioner Robert Fox said: "From Shetland to the Borders, the CWGC ensures that the sacrifice of thousands of men and women who died during the world wars is remembered in perpetuity.

"On the anniversary of the sinking of HMS Otranto, the CWGC is pleased to be able to preserve the memory of the men who lost their lives in the North Channel during both wars through the installation of these interactive visitors panels. The new displays will make it easier for members of the public to find information about those who lost their lives and is a powerful way of engaging younger people with the history of the First and Second World Wars.

"The stories revealed on our panels on Islay also give a fascinating insight into the lesser known fact that there are more than 170,000 war graves to be found across the United Kingdom - with over 20,000 of these found north of the border at over 1,200 locations. Figures that reveal the high price paid by Scots and Commonwealth servicemen and women during the wars.

"Maintaining these graves in perpetuity is the CWGC's task but we are also extremely grateful to the staff of Argyll and Bute Council, who do so much to facilitate our work on Islay."

Click here to read the full press release.