- Lachlan Gillies (Lachie)
- Monday 22nd September 2008
A-nis, bha stòiridh no dhà a chuala mi timcheall air an ùpraid a bh’ ann, gu h-àraid nuair a bha na saighdearan a’ coiseachd a-nall à Ùige ‘s iad a’ dol dhan loidse shìos aig a’ chladach an sin. ‘S e Quiraing Lodge a theirear rithe an-diugh. ‘S ann a bha iad a’ dol tro Staidhseal? tràth, o dìreach a’ coiseachd toiseach a’ Ghearrain. Cò thachair a bhith shìos mun rathad mhòr ann a shineach ach croitear agus bha e a’ ruamhar le cas-chrom. Chunnaic e na saighdearan a’ tighinn agus chùm e a chùlaibh riutha, agus dìreach nuair a bha iad dìreach aige ann a shin, cha tug e feart orra. Cha do dh’amhairc e an rathad a bha iad idir agus nuair a chunnaic na saighdearan sin, stad iad, agus dh’fhalbh fear dhiubh sìos far an robh an duine a bha seo a’ ruamhar leis a’ chas-chrom. Thug e a’ chas-chrom às a làmh ‘s dè rinn e? Rinn e dà leth dhi ann a shin mu choinneamh. O, chuir seo an caothach air a’ chroitear. Dh’fhalbh e airson grèim a dhèanamh air an t-saighdear agus tha mi a’ creidsinn nan robh e air grèim fhaighinn air, bha e air a thachdadh. Ach dh’èigh iad ris bharr druim an rathaid, ge ‘r bith cò bh’ ann an charge ann a shin. Dh’èigh e: “Ma bhuineas tu dhan duine sin, brisidh mise do chas mar a chaidh a’ chas-chrom a bhristeadh.” Dè b’ urrainn dhan an duine thruagh a dhèanamh ach a chùlaibh a thionndadh riutha agus falbh. Sin agad mar a bha a’ tachairt do chuid a dhaoine a’s an àite. Sin tè dhe na stòireannan a chuala mi.
Nisde, bha tè eile ann cuideachd. Bha – stòiridh eile ann cuideachd – well, nuair a thàinig na saighdearan chun na loidse cha robh àite-fuirich aca uile gu lèir idir a’s a – far am faigheadh iad cadal, agus bha feadhainn dhiubh, dh’fheumadh iad a dhol a thaighean nan daoine a’s an àite. Nisde, ‘s ann an aghaidh an toil a bha seo a’ tachairt. Cha robh iad idir idir airson na saighdearan a ghabhail airson na h-oidhche ach thug iad orra an gabhail, an fheadhainn a bha ann a command. Chaidh e timcheall agus chuir iad a-mach daoine an siud ‘s an seo a bha a’ dol a ghabhail a leithid seo a shaighdearan airson cadal na h-oidhche. Co-dhiù, ràinig iad aon bhoireannach, aon seann bhoireannach às a’ Ghearradh Fhada agus cha robh facal Beurla na ceann. Agus thuirt iad rithe: “O, feumaidh tusa saighdear a ghabhail agus gum faic thu a’s an leabaidh e ‘s gum faigh e dhan leabaidh”.
“O,” ars’ ise: “Chan eil agamsa ach an aon leabaidh. Feumaidh mi mo leabaidh a thoirt dhan aon shaighdear.”
“O, chan eil sin gu diofar, thoir thusa an leabaidh dhan t-saighdear.”
“’S càite an caidil mise?”
“Chan eil sin gu diofar.”
Bha sin ceart gu leòr. Ach gheibheadh a’ chailleach còrnair an àiteigin airson cadal, gun teagamh sam bith. Ach bha fasan aig an t-saighdear a bha seo. Bha e uabhasach fada gun a dhol dhan leabaidh air an oidhche agus bha e a’ dèanamh dragh dhan a’ chaillich. Tha mi cinnteach gun robh a’ chailleach, ge ‘r bith càite an robh i a’ cadal, bha i airson nach fhaiceadh an saighdear i. Agus chaidh i chun an duine a bha an ath dhoras agus thuirt i ris an duine: “Well, tha an saighdear a tha siud”, ars’ ise: “Bha e a-raoir ‘s a’ bhòn-raoir, bha e fada, fada gun a dhol dhan leabaidh. Chan eil fhios ‘am, chan eil fhios ‘am dè chanas mi ris ann am Beurla airson e a dhol dhan leabaidh.”
“O uill, innsidh mise sin dhut. Nuair a thig e aon uair deug a-nochd, theirig thusa far a bheil e agus tog do dhòrn ris mar sin ‘s canaidh tu mar seo ris, Bed, a shaighdear!” Agus dh’fhalbh i agus air an rathad dhachaigh chun an taighe bha i a’ feuchainn ri chumail na cuimhne. “Bed a shaighdear! Bed a shaighdear! Bed a shaighdear!” Agus nuair a thàinig aon uair deug, dè rinn i? Choisich i suas far an robh e, agus thuirt i: “Bed a shaighdear! Bed a shaighdear! Bed a shaighdear!” Thuig an duine gun robh còir aige falbh agus an leabaidh a thoirt air.
Nisde, tha am facal sin chun an latha an-diugh ga chur a feum a’s an sgìre againn ann ann a sheo: “Bed a shaighdear!”
Agus gu h-àraid bhiodh na seann daoine, well bhiodh na pàrantan ga chleachdadh airson, nuair a bhiodh iad airson a’ chlann a chur a chadal. Dh’èigheadh iad dìreach: “Siuthadaibh! Bed a shaighdear! Bed a shaighdear!” Bha sin a’ ciallachadh gun robh an t-àm aig a’ chlann a dhol dhan leabaidh. Tha aon bhoireannach fhathast na seann aois, gu math sean, ann an Glaschu, àite beag a-mach à Glaschu – tha i a’ fuireach ann fhathast – ‘s tha cuimhne aice fhathast air a seanmhair ga ràdh rithe airson a cur dhan leabaidh. Sin agad mo stòiridh-sa a-nis dhe na thachair an t-am a bha na saighdearan timcheall air an taobh sear. Ach tha mi cinnteach gun robh tòrr mòr a bharrachd air sin ann, ach siud agad a dhà dhiubh, co-dhiù.
Now there was a story or two that I heard about the uproar that took place, especially when the soldiers were walking over from Uig and going to the lodge at the shore down there. It is called Quiraing Lodge nowadays. They were going through Stenscholl early in the morning at the beginning of February. Who did they meet down there by the road but a crofter working with a foot-plough. He saw the soldiers coming and he kept his back to them and just when they had reached him he ignored them, he didn’t look the way they were at all. When the soldiers saw this they stopped, and one of them went down to where this man was. He took the foot-plough out of his hand and what did he do? He broke it in two halves there in front of him. Oh dear, this infuriated the crofter. He moved to get a grip of the soldier – I’m sure if he had caught him he would have choked him. But they shouted at him from the road, whoever was in charge. He shouted: “If you touch that man I shall break your leg the way the foot-plough was broken.” What could the man to whom it happened do but turn his back on them and leave. That was what happened to some people in the place. That is one of the stories I heard.
Now, there was another one also. Well, when the soldiers came to the lodge they didn’t all have accommodation where they could sleep and some of them had to go to the houses of the people in the neighbourhood. This was against their will. They didn’t at all want to have the soldiers overnight but they were made to do it. The person in command went round and singled out people here and there who would take soldiers for overnight accommodation. Anyway, they arrived at one old woman from the Garafad and she did not have a word of English and they said to her: “You must take a soldier in and make sure that he gets a bed for the night.”
She replied: “Oh, I only have one bed, I have to give up my bed for the soldier.”
“That does not matter, you give your bed to the soldier.”
“And where will I sleep?”
“That does not matter.”
That was alright. I am sure the old woman would find a corner to sleep in right enough. But this soldier had a habit, he was always very late in going to bed at night and this bothered the old woman. I suppose the old woman, wherever she was sleeping, she would not want the soldier to see her and she went to the man next door and she said to him: “Well, that soldier was very late in going to bed last night and the night before and I don’t know how to say to him in English to go to bed.”
“Well, I will tell you that. When it comes to 11 o’clock tonight, you go to him and raise your fist to him and you will say to him like this: Bed soldier!” And so she left, on the way home trying to remember what was to be said: “bed soldier, bed soldier, bed soldier” like that. And when 11 o’ clock came, what did she do? She walked up to him and said: “Bed soldier! Bed soldier! Bed soldier!” And the man understood that he ought to go to bed.
Now, that phrase is used in this community till the present day: “Bed soldier!”
And especially the older generation, well the parents would use it when wanting to put the children to bed. They would simply shout: “On you go, bed soldier, bed soldier!” That meant it was time for the children to go to bed. There is still one woman in her old age, quite old, living in Glasgow, a little place outside of Glasgow, she still lives there. She still remembers her grandmother saying it to her before putting her to bed. These are my stories now of what happened at the time when the soldiers were around the east side. But I am sure there were a lot more than that. There are two of them anyway.