Highlands & Islands

World War One's Battle of Festubert to be recalled

Sergeant Major William Ross with unidentified soldiers Image copyright Ross family
Image caption Soldiers from Skye during World War One

One of the bloodiest battles of World War One will be commemorated in events to be held on Skye later this week.

Soldiers from the island, as well as Kingussie and Beauly in the Highlands, lost their lives at Festubert in France in 1915.

Portree on Skye lost 10 men in a single night. In total, more than 20,000 men died over 10 days of fighting.

Three days of events will start on Friday and will include talks by historians and poetry readings.

Festubert's impact on the Highlands and Islands was recalled in BBC Two Scotland documentary, The Machine Gun and Skye's Band of Brothers, last year.

This week's commemorations will be held in Portree.

Many of the men from Skye, Kingussie and Beauly who died at Festubert had played shinty, a fact that will be recalled in some of the events.

A set of bagpipes recovered from the battlefield's trenches will be used to play the tune The Beauly Shinty Club. The music was composed by one of two brothers who died in the conflict.

Shinty commentator and historian Hugh Dan MacLennan will be among those taking part in the commemorations.

He said: "Festubert is our focus because it was one of the first great killing battles, which saw death on an industrial scale.

"Not only that, but its impact on Highland communities is beyond belief."

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