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Cadet Awards at Alness

On Thursday 16 May Mrs Janet Bowen, Lord-Lieutenant for Ross and Cromarty was in attendance at Alness at a Cadet Parade to present Lord-Lieutenant's Certificates of Meritorious Service to Major Macdonald, Lt MacFarquhar, 2Lt Wright and SSI Smyth.

She also awarded Cadet Corporal Tait with a certificate to recognise his appointment as the Lord-Lieutenant's Cadet for the coming year.

Mrs Bowen said: I think that this will be the very last Cadet event that I will attend in that I retire as Lord-Lieutenant in just six weeks time. If so, I cannot think a better way to end some twelve years of association with you than to be here with you this evening making these meritorious service awards.

The last twelve years have been inspirational and life-changing for me in something of the same way that it is, has been or will be for every cadet here.

Twelve years ago I was probably as nervous as some of you here today, and although I have learnt better how to behave on parade I have also learnt to be ready for anything, like the day my hat blew off as I was taking the salute! On that occasion, it was retrieved for me in a smart and soldier-like manner by my Lord-Lieutenant’s Cadet, which indirectly allows me to pay tribute to the fourteen Lord-Lieutenant’s cadets that have served me in a variety of ways. All fourteen have been excellent and I look forward to working with the latest in this succession, Corporal Andy Tait, in the buildup to the visit to Gairloch by the Princess Royal.

Now, to this evening: thank you for inviting me to present these very important and special Lord-Lieutenant’s Awards for Meritorious Service. We have embarrassed the recipients sufficiently this evening, but I would just like to add that the Cadet Association would not exist without the selfless dedication of all the leaders from Col. Cassidy and Col. Caddick right through to the newest Junior Leader. They travel many miles between events and they take part in your training whatever the weather simply because they believe in you and giving you the best possible chance to fully use the opportunities the Cadet Association offers.

I have become and will remain a passionate supporter of the cadets quite simply because I have seen lives changed by those who give their time to the Association. We all owe all the adult volunteers a huge debt of thanks, so, if I may, on behalf of all the cadets present, thank you not just from myself but also on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen who I represent.

Cadet Awards at Alness

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Posted by the Lieutenancy on 18/06/2019

Rapprochement at Cove

On Saturday 11 May Mrs Janet Bowen, Lord-Lieutenant for Ross and Cromarty, Skye and Lochalsh was in attendance at Cove to lay a wreath on behalf of her Majesty the Queen at the annual (Summer) service of remembrance for those who lost their lives serving with the Arctic Convoys.

This year's ceremony was marked by the attendance for the first time of the Consul General of the German Republic, who laid his wreath with the Consul General of the Russian Federation, followed by their shaking hands before the memorial. This in turn was followed by their wives (and the daughter of the Russian Consul General) laying flowers.

Mrs Bowen spoke briefly, saying: The Second World War saw some remarkable campaigns and actions, and the story of the Russian Arctic Convoys stands among the very first echelon. Within the story of the Convoys are those of thousands of sailors who buckled down and did their job, whether as merchantman or escort, and we are very, very right to continue to remember and honour them, and to remember those who died.

We need to remember because they bought us the peace and the freedoms we enjoy, and it is in this context that I welcome the representatives of the Russian Federation and the Federal Republic of Germany. Consul General Andrey Pritsopov is well known to us, but it is a special privilege to welcome Consul General Jens-Peter Voss for the first time, we hope that it will be the first of many visits . Thank you both for your support it means a great deal.

And I would like to thank everyone who is here today, - for this local community, who have accepted this particular task of remembrance, and who have faithfully carried it out.
I ask you - indeed I charge you, to keep the flame burning brightly over the coming years and pass it on to the next generation.

For myself, I have been immensely proud to have been able to lead many acts of remembrance here as the personal representative of Her Majesty the Queen, who in turn represents us all. This is the last time I shall be here as Lord-Lieutenant: I stand down at the end of my term of office in a few weeks, but I shall return from time to time as a part of this community of remembrance.

So, here at the Arctic Convoy memorial, looking out over the sea to the Arctic and to Russia, we stand, in gratitude and unity . Let us learn from our mistakes.

Rapprochement at Cove

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Posted by the Lieutenancy on 18/06/2019

Appointment of new Vice Lord_Lieutenant

Mrs Janet Bowen, Lord Lieutenant of Ross and Cromarty, Skye and Lochalsh presented Mr David Lockett DL with his commission as Vice Lord Lieutenant of the area at a brief ceremony at Knockbain Farm on 7 May.

Appointment of new Vice Lord_Lieutenant

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Posted by the Lieutenancy on 18/06/2019

Jellicoe Express At Forsinard

On 30 April 2019 Mrs Janet Bowen travelled to Forsinard as a guest of the Sutherland Lieutenancy to be present at the unveiling of the final Jellicoe Express plaque.

Mrs Bowen has attended numerous Jellicoe events in the course of her Lieutenancy.

The Jellicoe Express was the daily train that ran between Thurso and London during the First World war, to allow resupply of the Fleet in Scapa Flow. More details may be found in the 2017 part of this web site.

Jellicoe Express At Forsinard

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Posted by the Lieutenancy on 18/06/2019

Cadets Pipes and Drums in Dingwall

Mrs Janet Bowen, Lord-Lieutenant for Ross and Cromarty, Skye and Lochalsh, attended Dingwall on Friday 12 April to take the salute on the occasion of Cadets Pipes and Drums Beating Retreat.

The Dingwall parade is the dress rehearsal for both Inverness and Edinburgh, and finally before Her Majesty the Queen at Balmoral.

The parade was to its usual extraordinarily high standard and attracted a large turn out. Afterwards at the reception Mrs Bowen said:

I am here personally representing Her Majesty the Queen, who I know is a great supporter of the cadet movement, and for this next bit I’m guessing but I have a pretty good idea, especially a supporter of the cadet Pipes and Drums. Beating Retreat has always been a favourite of Her Majesty and to see young cadets perpetuating this great tradition and mastering the skills and standard of play would delight her.

That was another great parade, perhaps the best of the 12 or so I’ve where I’ve taken the salute, so well done. Dingwall has a proud heritage of bands marching down the High Street, so to see you all today, from all over the Nation coming together to share your well learned expertise with us has been truly memorable. Thank you.

Dingwall has impeccable military links. Today, in the High Street you marched in the footsteps of the Seaforth Highlanders, who in turn merged to become the Queen’s Own Highlanders, then the Highlanders and now 4 Royal Regiment of Scotland. Those past parades have seen departures for war, homecomings, and remembrance for those fallen in battle to give us the freedoms we now enjoy, and always every parade would have been to the skirl of the pipes and the beat of the drums. Today you echo this great history as you march through this ancient town.

But this parade would not happen without the dedicated time and experience of your tutors. You may find the going tough. You may find the attention to detail irritating, but it all pays off in the end. So, on your behalf, and indeed of all those present today, I offer my thanks to your tutors too.

It has been a great honour to be here today. This is my last engagement with the Cadet movement during my time as Lord-Lieutenant; I retire in July and with that the connection is broken in one sense, but not in another: I shall always be a supporter of the cadets and if any of you are going to be here next year then look out for me in the crowds; I’ll be there!

I conclude with offering you Dingwall’s best wishes for you next engagements in Inverness and Edinburgh.

Thank you.

Cadets Pipes and Drums in Dingwall

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Posted by the Lieutenancy on 18/06/2019

Iolaire remembered

On the eve of Hogmanay 2018 Mrs Janet Bowen unveiled a plaque at Kyle of Lochalsh station to commemorate the loss of over 200 Lewismen who died in the Iolaire disaster.

The story is long, but in essence returning servicemen who had survived the Great War were coming home for Hogmanay with their families. The port authorities were unprepared for the number arriving and arranged for HMY Iolaire to transfer from Stornaway to Kyle to collect servicemen coming off the trains from Inverness.

The Iolaire, a steam yacht, was small having only two life boats and about 40 lifejackets, but embarked over 260 men, no doubt in a spirit of 'can do' and a desire to get the boys home.

During the crossing the southerly wind increased requiring a correction in the course to port. The correction was not made and the Iolaire foundered on rocks less than 100 yards from the shore and within a mile of Stornaway. 205 men died in the ensuing chaos, and this from an island that had already lost so many in the trenches.

At 1500 hours a short ceremony took place in the wind and the cold and the wet at almost exactly the same time that the Iolaire berthed in Kyle 100 years ago.

Mrs Bowen said:

His Majesty’s Yacht Iolaire sailed from Kyle of Lochalsh at 1930, with the faster Macbrayne Steamer Sheila departing some 30 mins later.

The men who found themselves on board HMY Iolaire had to find any space they could. Some were exhausted and just wanted to get some sleep. Food was not generally available so those who found their space in the galley were lucky: they were able to enjoy a cup of tea. Everyone else managed with whatever they had in their kit bags.

Whilst the young participated in Melodeon Music, Gaelic songs and chat, the older passengers sought only rest. What was common to everyone was a desire to get home for Hogmanay.

The debate on what happened when HMY Iolaire approached Stornoway Harbour will continue for evermore, but what is not in dispute is the fact that she didn’t alter course to port early enough and found the Rocks of Holm right ahead of her. The resulting collision, combined with an ever-increasing southerly wind, caused the unimaginable disaster we are remembering today.

The stories of the grounding, along with some heart-breaking tales of courage and sacrifice, would take far too long to tell. As would the horror still felt on the Island, which has endured for the last 100 years; the island lost a generation of men after the cease fire.

We stand today to remember the more than 200 islanders who had served their country so gallantly and who found that circumstances that night conspired to inflict on them, that which the enemy had failed to do.

And we are also here to remember the suffering of those who were left behind.

Let this Plaque remind everyone, who sees it, of the starting place of one of the greatest peacetime maritime disasters in our history. Not the greatest in numbers, but surely the greatest in irony and the effect on a small island community.

Let me conclude by saying that Her Majesty The Queen will be aware of this tragic story, and of our commemoration here today. Prince Charles will be in Stornaway tomorrow to commemorate the disaster, compounded by subsequent events, and to remember the generation lost to the Island of Lewis.

Iolaire remembered

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Posted by the Lieutenancy on 01/01/2019

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