Stuart and Beryl
The 11 metres (36 ft) high Brooding Soldier stands, head bowed and hands on the butt of his rifle, in honour of the Canadian 1st Division who held the line despite the German gas attacks in April 1915.
Canadian Monument ©Westtoer

Stuart and Beryl from Islay, Scotland read the inscription on the monument silently:
“This column marks the battlefield where 18,000 Canadians on the British left withstood the first German gas attacks the 22-24 April 1915 – 2,000 fell and lie buried nearby.”

“So many young men died. It is hard to understand,” Beryl says looking up the white granite column in front of her.

Islay, the Scottish west coast island that both Stuart and Beryl come from, lost over 200 men in the Great War. Most of them served with the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders as well as with the Marines. Stuart has written a book, "These Men are Worth Your Tears", about the First World War and the fate of the island men. With his book he wants to help readers, especially those with island connections, to understand what their families went through in leaving a tiny peaceful island and finding themselves in the horrors of the Western Front.

Brooding Soldier
Stuart and Beryl have already been to Flanders Fields five years ago to do some research for Stuart’s book. Now, as they visit for the second time, they have travelled all the way from Scotland to Belgium by car to look for more names: "We haven't quite seen it all," Beryl smiles. In a more earnest tone she continues: “I’m especially moved by the many inscriptions of wives, mothers and daughters on the graves. They make it very personal and take you right back to the moment when they received the news about the death of their beloved ones.”

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