Fair Isle pupils’ war video reaches national final
A film about World War One veterans made by Fair Isle Primary School has been selected as one of the front runners in a national war memorial competition.
The four Fair Isle pupils uncovered real life stories in the competition, part of a campaign by the Royal British Legion Scotland to commemorate the centenary of WWI.
The film was made in partnership with Fair Isle museum and will be part of a display that was presented to the community on Monday night. The display will be unveiled to the public at the museum in May.
Our Boys tells the soldiers’ stories and shows how the loss of life during the war devastated the local community. Pupils filmed interviews with Fair Isle residents and relatives of veterans honoured on the Fair Isle memorial.
One of the stories uncovered is the tragedy of the McLean brothers who served in the same 44th battalion of a Canadian division. Kenneth and Charles McLean, the sons of the missionary teacher, died three days apart in 1916 at the battle of the Somme. The body of the older brother, Kenneth, was never found. Another brother, Donald, was wounded and off the front line before his brothers were killed.
Local man Brian Wilson is interviewed in the film talking about his Grandfather, William Stewart Eunson, who served in the Royal Naval Reserves in Shetland and died at age 36 in 1916 of meningitis. Mr Eunson was also a grandfather to Fair Isle resident Jimmy Stout.
Head teacher Nicholas Lucas said the bairns were “very proud of what they did and had a good time doing it.”
He added: “Of the 139 residents on Fair Isle at the time 26 went off to World War One and eight never returned. That’s a big part of a small community. People didn’t talk about it. It was so devastating and felt so strongly here. It changed everything on the Island. Speaking to people whose families were affected helped the pupils make a real connection to the War. It really brought it home to them”.
To read more about this story, see Friday’s Shetland Times.