INTERNED IN HOLLAND - October 1914 - November 1918.

Domhnall Brus continues:-

"That is how it happened. (The 1,500 men trapped on the Belgian side of the canal, and  their subsequent internment in Groningen, Holland). The others were coming and when they reached the canal, the 'bridge' had been blown up. They were on the wrong side and were forced to make their way into Holland. If they had not done that, they would have been captured by the Germans."


As far as we are able to ascertain, the following is a complete list of the fifteen men from the village of North Tolsta, held in Groningen from October 1914 until they were released on Armistice Day in November 1918.

The Tolsta men were in "Benbow" Battalion  and shared the same timber hut in what was to become "HMS Timbertown" - because of it's wooden buildings with seamen.

In the beginning, apart from the feeling of boredom and the lack of freedom, being unable to partake in active service in defence of their country was almost overwhelming for some. The Lewis lads also found  the food unpalatable though not too scarce in the early months.

The fifteen North Tolsta internees belonged to the First Royal Naval Brigade. Many of them had joined before the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914.


John Macdonald(1)         Bigean

Alex Maciver(4)              Sobaid

Torquil Macdonald(9)     Torcuill Iain Bhig

Angus Maciver(11)          Hogg

Donald Campbell(13)       Domhnall Stasaidh.

Angus Morrison(15)         Harraidh

Angus Mackay.Jnr.(16)    Aonghas Caoidh

Donald Maclennan(35)     Domhnall Sheogaidh

John Macritchie(40)          Iain Ghinneis

John Macleod(45)             An Chuibhear

Angus Macdonald(51)       Aonghas Mhurchaidh Bhuidhe

William Macdonald(51)      Uilleam Mhurchaidh Bhuidhe

Norman Smith(55)             Tormod Do'ull

John Maciver(62)               An Dragon

John Macmillan(4Glen)       Iain Geal.


We believe this picture was taken shortly after the internees had settled in their huts at     'HMS Timbertown' in Groningen, Holland in 1914.

      This is the most iconic picture of Tolsta boys in captivity.

Back Row:                Angus Macdonald (51)           John Macritchie (40)

Front: John Macmillan (Glen Tolsta),   Alexander Maciver (4),  Angus Mackay (16), William Macdonald -brother of Angus -top row L.(51),  Angus Morrison (15), John Maciver (62)

Christmas 1914 - Groningen

Standing Far left: William Macdonald(51), back left: John Macmillan (Glen), Back R Donald Campbell(13) Second from right : Angus Macdonald(51)

Seated Right: Nearest Camera: Alex Maciver(4) second right : John Maciver(62)

 L. to R. Donald Campbell (13), John Macritchie (40),

                 John Macleod (45), Donald Maclennan (35).