Murdo Kennedy, 14 Calbost

Stornoway Gazette, 16 February 1940

When HM trawlers "Fort Royal" and "Robert Bowen" were sunk in the North Sea on Friday by enemy aircraft, Murdo Kennedy, 14 Calbost, was among the 22 men who lost their lives.
Murdo, who was about 20 years of age and unmarried, is, we understand, the first Lewisman to lose his life as a result of a Nazi bombing raid on British shipping.

He was one of a family which has a record of service for King and country which would be hard to parallel even in Lewis.His two surviving brothers are at present on active service. An older brother, Roderick, was killed on active service at La Bassee on 28 January 1915. Although on 19 years of age, he had his Mons Star. His father, also Murdo Kennedy, served for 17 years with the Seaforth Highlanders, seeing active service in India, South Africa and Egypt. He went through the Boer War, earning two medals and seven clasps. At the outbreak of war, although getting up in years, he twice offered to go on active service.

Mr Kennedy, who is still with  us, has the full sympathy of the community in his loss.

Stornoway Gazette 23 February 1940
I learned with profound regret on Saturday the 13th that HMT Fort Royal was lost, for on board the vessel was my cousin and bosom companion, Murdo, third son of Murdo Kennedy, 14 Calbost. Murdo, a reservist, was among the first contingent who left their chance of quiet age so freely for a restless bed among amidst the tossing waves. Having served on two other trawlers, in November he joined the ill-fated "Fort Royal". Popularly known as "Murdi-an t-Saighdear", he was a pleasant and extraordinarily happy person. His cheerful disposition and pleasant with endeared him to old and young. No gathering was dull when Murdi was present. Now, no more will his happy smile and pleasant wit grace our local activities. Inseparable companions from infancy, his loss to me is crushing, for, in unison with David, I could verily say of him: "thy love to me was wonderful". First to welcome me on my return and last to bid me farewell. Now, alas! that close friendship must be replaced by sweet memories of happy hours spent in brotherly and jovial companionship.

"When day is gone and night is come
And a'folk bound to sleep
I think on him that's far awa'
The lae-long night, and weep"

My heartfelt sympathy is extended to his sorrowing parents, sisters and two brothers (who are also reservists) in the tragic loss of so popular and dutiful a son and so beloved a brother.

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