Programme Archive Tasglann Phrògraman
Trusadh: Dol Fodha na Grèine (The Going Down of the Sun)
BBC ALBA – Monday 14 November at 9.00pm
Trusadh: Dol Fodha na Grèine
BBC ALBA – Diluain 14 Samhain aig 9.00f
POIGNANT BBC ALBA DOCUMENTARY FOLLOWS RELATIVES’ JOURNEY TO WW1 BATTLEFIELDS AND WAR GRAVES
Two years since the publication of the critically acclaimed book, Dol Fodha na Grèine, the Ness Historical Society organised an emotional and moving trip to visit the World War One battlefields and war graves in Belgium and France.
Dol Fodha na Grèine, published by the society in conjunction with Acair, documents the impact the Great War had on Ness, the most northerly island community on the Isle of Lewis. Ness is a vibrant community where neighbours have connections dating back two hundred years and it is no surprise that WW1 brought tragedy and loss which is still felt to this day.
This BBC ALBA Trusadh documentary ‘Dol Fodha na Grèine’ follows the journey of a group of 40 from Ness as they visit the battle sites and burial places of their forebears.
Between 1914 – 1918, 17 million people lost their lives during the Great War. Around 1000 were from the Isle of Lewis. The battles in the distant and bloody fields of Flanders had a devastating and lasting impact on communities within the island.
For three members of the group who all lost family, the trip was not only an act of homage but also a quest. It’s been a 40 year journey for Annie MacSween who was one of the founders of the society.
Annie said: “What really upsets me is how little we learned about it in school. How few opportunities we were given in our education to fully understand what had happened to our previous generation. The effect it had on our families and on the community. In a way, we are trying to pay back that generation for what they suffered.”
WW1 expert, Dominiek Dendooven conducts research on behalf of the group and discovers a report from the second battle of Ypres where Annie’s uncle, Lance Corporal Calum Campbell, Habost lost his life.
Dominiek studies excerpts of the report with Annie. Dominiek says: “The second battle of Ypres started with the first use ever of gas on the battlefields which at the same time was the first use ever of a weapon of mass destruction so it is highly important. That second battle also ended with a gas attack and as your uncle was killed and as he is on the Menin Gate, that signifies that he was probably killed on the battlefield in battle because that’s where most people went missing. So there is a good chance that he was actually gassed.”
Laying a wreath at the Menin Gate memorial on behalf of the society, Annie said: “There’s evidence that his remains were never found and that’s very sad. I think we are the first relatives to pay a visit here. It’s good for the family’s sake.”
The trip gave Roddy Murray the opportunity to fulfil a lifelong wish and visit the grave of one of his uncles. Roddy’s father lost his brother during the war which Roddy heard about as he grew up. Now he hopes to connect with his uncle who left and never returned.
Roddy finds his uncle’s grave in Vlamertinghe cemetery, the site of a former military hospital where about 1000 are buried. A handwritten report was found which came from the trenches on the very day that Roddy’s uncle was killed. He survived the first gas attack of world history during the second battle of Ypres, which the Seaforth Highlanders were in the midst of, and he was killed a couple of days later either at the front line or withdrawing from the front line.
Reflecting on his trip Roddy said: “We had always heard about the war and those who were lost but it’s completely different to be here, seeing the fields where the war took place, where the local lads lost their lives, and where they rest in their graves.”
Anne MacLeod is employed by the historical society, and was the organiser of the trip. Her great uncle’s son, Murdo MacLeod, died at the age of 19 over in France. He was brought up at the same address she lives at but was unaware of this until two years ago when a poppy was erected at her house as part of the community poppy trail.
Anne finds Murdo’s grave amongst the 3,000 in Dozinghem, the site of the former military hospital for those wounded in the battles in Ypres. He was one of a quarter of a million soldiers who died during the third battle of Ypres which raged for a hundred days, equating to 30 people dying per square meter.
Having visited Murdo’s resting place, Anne said: “I feel such a strong connection with this lad. We were both brought up in the same place and in the same village. I’m so happy I was able to come and it feels quite strange to be mourning after 100 years for somebody I didn’t know but I feel so close to him.”
The poignant ‘Air an Somme’ (On the Somme) song, written by the bard Donald MacDonald was first recorded by Julie Fowlis for BBC Radio Scotland’s, The Quay Sessions. She composed the melody for the song and specially recorded a studio version which features towards the end of the documentary.
Dol Fodha na Grèine is the culmination of a remarkable community project and a story which will resonate across many communities.
Produced by Mac TV for BBC ALBA, Trusadh - Dol Fodha na Grèine (The Going Down of the Sun) will be broadcast on the channel on Monday 14 November at 9pm.
Dà bhliadhna bhon a chaidh an leabhar cliùiteach, ‘Dol Fodha na Grèine’ fhoillseachadh, ’s e a’ clàradh buaidh a’ Chogaidh Mhòir air aon choimhearsnachd eileanach ann an Leòdhas, chuir Comunn Eachdraidh Nis turas sònraichte air dòigh gu làraichean bhlàir agus uaighean cogaidh a’ Bheilg agus na Frainge.
’S e Nis an sgìre as fhaide a Tuath ann an eilean Leòdhais. Ach ’s e coimhearsnachd thrang, bheothail a th’ innte an diugh ach chan eil e na iongnadh gun tàinig cruadail agus call an cois a’ Chiad Chogaidh, agus tha a’ bhuaidh sin fhathast follaiseach sa choimhearsnachd dlùth seo an-diugh.
Leanaidh sinn a’ bhuidheann de 40 neach ’s iad a’ dèanamh air làraichean cogaidh agus cladhan an sinnsearan.
Dha triùir den bhuidhinn, ’s ann mu urram agus cuideachd mu freagairtean fhaighinn dha cuid de cheistean a bha an turas. Dha Anna NicSuain ’s e coilionadh rùn thar 40 bliadhna a bh’ ann, agus i fhèin am measg an fheadhainn a thòisich a’ Chomunn Eachdraidh. Thug e cothrom dha Ruaraidh Moireach miann beatha a choileanadh agus tadhal air uaigh aon de bhràithrean athar. B’ i Anna NicLeòid a tha ag obair dhan Chomunn a chuir an turas air dòigh agus bha iomadh dùbhlan na lùib bho là gu là!
Dol Fodha na Grèine – crìoch pròiseact iongantach coimhearsnachd.
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