The loss of the Exmouth

Stornoway Gazette, 26 January 1940
A dark week for the island
Heavy list of casualties

This week has been another tragic week for Lewis and Harris. On Tuesday 23 January news came through of the loss of seven Islesmen - six from Lewis and one from Harris - on the destroyer "Exmouth".

The "Exmouth" has been reported lost and it is understood that there were no survivors.

The first news of this heavy blow was received in Lewis on 23 January, when the relatives of the men received Admiralty telegrams stating that they were missing and feared lost. Later came the official announcement that there were no survivors.

On the same day, the Admiralty announced the names of the "Rawalpindi" survivors who are prisoners in Germany. So far as Lewis is concerned, the list contains the names only of the four men who were already known to be in Germany - Hector Macdonald, Norman Macinnes, Malcolm Mackenzie and Donald Murray.

The loss of the "Exmouth" is the heaviest blow which Lewis has sustained since the sinking of the "Rawalpindi". The Harris lad who is reported from the "Exmouth" is Malcolm Macaskill, 24 Northton. He is the third Harrisman lost at sea since the outbreak of war. The Lewis names appearing in the casualty lists are: Hector Macdonald, 10 Tolsta Chaolais; Hector Mackay, 27 Sheshader; Norman Macdonald junior, 19 Upper Bayble; John Morrison, 6 Melbost, Borve; Donald Campbell, 6 Lionel; and John D. Macleod, 9 New Holdings, Leurbost.

All were single men, except Hector Mackay, who was married last April to Effie Macaulay, 13 Sheshader. Two older brothers of Hector's were lost in the last war, one of them in the "Iolaire" disaster.

An older brother of Norman Macdonald's is at present serving in the Navy.

The loss of these two Point lads brings the number of casualties in the district since the outbreak of war to eight, and in addition there are two Point lads prisoner of war in Germany.

Tolsta Chaolais has lost a very popular and much respected lad in Hector Macdonald, who was at one time a keen member of Carloway football eleven. Two brothers are with the Navy.

The loss of John Morrison, Borve, was a crushing blow to his relatives, and especially to his sister, Mrs Graham, whose husband, Malcolm Graham, was lost in the "James Ludford" just about a month ago. Both Morrison's parents are elderly and infirm in health. The only surviving son is on service with the Navy in foreign waters.

Norman Campbell is the first Ness casualty of the war. A popular youth, and representative of a family well-known, not only in Ness but throughout Lewis, his death is much regretted.

John D. Macleod is the first casualty from the village of Leurbost, although not the first from north of Loch Erisort; John Montgomery, 16 Ranish, was the second Lewis casualty of the war.

Lewis pay homage to these brave sons, four of whom were still in their early twenties. The two older men were Hector Mackay, who was about 34, and John Morrison, who was 37.

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