In 2018 we were awarded a grant of £34,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and this is being used to uncover the history of the war locally, improve the path up to the War Memorial, work with local schools and ensure that an important local historical document is able to be displayed.
In 1920 a large illuminated scrapbook was compiled made up of original postcards, photographs and accounts from the people of Arisaig who served in the war. Over 100 people were involved as soldiers, nurses and munitions workers and we are taking this as a starting point and aiming to trace as many of them as we can. The book entitled Arisaig and South Morar Record of Service is a unique document that was rediscovered when the Astley Hall was being refurbished in 2000. It has now been installed at the Land Sea and Islands Centre in a specially adapted display case to preserve the condition of the pages.
The path to the War Memorial has been repaired, hand rails renewed and two new benches put in place. An interpretation panel will be placed at the foot of the path.
Of the people who took part in the war from here, 22 died, many on the western front in France. Some died of illness before they reached the battlefield such as Donald MacDonald, who perished in Loanhead of measles in December 1918. Several families sent two, three or four sons to the war, such as the MacDonalds from Morroch, the Campbells from the Back of Keppoch and the Nicholsons from Arisaig House. Many of those who enlisted from here had arrived in Arisaig as children from Glasgow who were sent as boarders to stay with crofting families as an alternative to institutional care. These included David and William Ferguson who both died and Simon McKinnon who came back to run a shop in the village. Each of the stories is unique.
An exhibition is planned for January 2019 and all the historical details discovered will be recorded and kept at the Land Sea and Islands Centre for local access.