Friday, February 12, 2010

Red Cross Monument on the Island of Islay

I found several articles on the Internet about this monument.  One quotes from a Wisconsin Newspaper article (paper unknown) June 30, 1920.

The American Red Cross financed a monument to the American soldiers lost on the transports Tuscania and Otranto in 1918.  The memorial in the form of a lighthouse is "on the rocky shores of the Island of Islay off the Scottish Coast..."  Some 489 American soldiers were buried in various locations.

The Scottish clan had taken tender care of the graves and the Chief pleaded that the bodies be left on the Island but many families wanted their relatives returned, so a decision was made by the Graves Registration Service to remove them all.  On the Internet you can read about the loving care the Scottish people gave to these fallen soldiers. They were treated like family and there are reports that the people stood crying as bodies were retrieved from the sea.  America and Scotland have a bond that is difficult to explain.

"The coast of Islay is so steep and rocky that the coffins will have to be carried down steep trails cut in the rocks or lowered by ropes and tackle to a waiting barge..."  Some of the soldier were taken to their home cities,  others were taken to Arlington National Cemetery.  All were taken but one.  Six American survivors were also cared for on Islay,  Sergt. C.A. McDonald from Galesburg, IL. being one of them.

If you go to "The Armin Grewe Homepage" you can see pictures of the Island and the memorial.  The plaque reads:  "Sacred to the immortal memory of those American soldiers and sailors who gave their lives for their country in the wrecks of the transports Tuscania and Otranto, Februry 5th, 1918 - October 6th, 1918.  This monument was erected by the American National Red Cross near the spot where so many of the Victims of the disasters sleep in everlasting peace:

On Fame's Eternal camping ground
       Their silent tents are spread
While Glory keeps with solemn round
        The bivouac of the dead.

1 comment:

  1. I have read with interest the stories of the Tuscania and Otranto. In fact I checked out a few other websites regarding the same.

    I really appreciate you blog. It is very interesting!