An Litir Bheag 425
An cuala sibh riamh na h-ainmean seo? Alasdair Mac-a-Phì, Dòmhnall Mac-a-Phì, Uilleam Quinn, Jack McHardy, Donnchadh MacPhàil, Eairdsidh Dòmhn-allach agus Eanraig MacAsgaill? Chan eil sibh cinnteach? B’ iad gaisgich à taobh an iar na Gàidhealtachd anns an fhicheadamh linn – Seachdnar Chnòideirt. ’S e reudairean fearainn a bha annta. Anns an t-Samhain, naoi ceud deug, ceathrad ’ sa h-ochd (1948), chomharraich iad pìosan fearainn dhaibh fhèin ann an Cnòideart. Bha an sgìre a’ fulang fo dhroch uachdranas.
Bha fear eile ann cuideachd – Eairdsidh MacDhùghaill. Cha robh e an làthair air an latha sin, oir bha e ann an seirbheis a’ chrùin – anns na feachdan dìon. Sgrìobh e leabhar mun chùis. Chùm e dìleab nan gaisgeach beò chun an latha a chaochail e.
Bha an t-uachdaran gu math mì-thoilichte mun ghnothach. B’ esan am Morair Brocket. Bha droch chliù aig Brocket air a’ Ghàidhealtachd. Bha e coma mu chòraichean muinntir an àite. Agus bha e na dheagh charaid do dh’Adolf Hitler.
Aig deireadh nan naochadan, goirid ro a bhàs, nochd aithris sna meadhanan gun robh Eairdsidh air Adolf Hitler fhaicinn. Chan ann sa Ghearmailt, ach ann an Cnòideart fhèin. Bha sin anns a’ bhliadhna trithead ’s a seachd (1937). Thug Brocket cuireadh do Hitler thighinn don taigh aige ann an Inbhir Aoidh. A rèir na h-aithris, bha Eairdsidh ag obair ann an leas an taigh mhòir. Choimhead e suas agus chunnaic e Hitler. Bha seacaid gheal air an t-Seansalair Ghearmailteach. Bha a làmhan air am pasgadh air a chùlaibh.
Tha teagamh aig luchd-eachdraidh mun aithris. ’S ann air bàt’-aiginn a dh’fheumadh Hitler thighinn a dh’Alba. Tha dùil gun robh e ro thrang ann an trithead ’s a seachd airson a dhol air turas mar sin. Ach tha aithrisean ann gun robh a Mhinistear Cèin, von Ribbentrop, air aoigheachd aig Brocket ann an Cnòideart. Bha, agus Sir Oswald Mosley, ceannard nam Faisisteach ann am Breatainn.Cha b’ e Brocket a’ chiad droch uachdaran ann an Cnòideart. Bha fuadaichean ann san ochdamh agus naoidheamh linn deug. Aig an àm sin, bha an sgìre fo smachd Clann Dòmhnaill Ghleanna Garadh. Bheir sinn sùil a bharrachd air Cnòideart an-ath-sheachdain.
The Little Letter 425
Have you ever heard these names? Alexander Macphee, Donald Macphee, William Quinn, Jack McHardy, Duncan Macphail, Archie Macdonald and Henry Macaskill? You’re not sure? They were heroes from the West Highlands in the twentieth century – The Seven Men of Knoydart. They were land raiders. In November 1948, they marked out pieces of land for themselves in Knoydart. The area was suffering under bad landlordship.
There was also another man – Archie Macdougall. He wasn’t present on that day, because he was in the service of the crown – in the armed forces. He wrote a book about the affair. He kept the legacy of the heroes alive until the day he died.
The landlord was very unhappy about the matter. He was Lord Brocket. Brocket had a bad reputation in the Highlands. He had no interest in the rights of the local people. And he was a good friend of Adolf Hitler.
At the end of the nineties, shortly before his death, a report appeared in the media that Archie had seen Adolf Hitler. Not in Germany, but in Knoydart itself. That was in 1937. Brocket gave Hitler an invitation to come to his house in Inverie. According to the report, Archie was working in the garden of the big house. He looked up and he saw Hitler. The German Chancellor was wearing a white jacket. His hands were folded behind him.
Historians are dubious about the report. It’s on a submarine that Hitler would need to come to Scotland. It’s thought he was too busy in ’37 to go on a journey like that. But there are reports that his Foreign Minister, von Ribbentrop, was a guest of Brocket in Knoydart. As was Sir Oswald Mosley, the leader of the Fascists in Britain.
Brocket was not the first bad landlord in Knoydart. There were cleaarances in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. At that time, the area was controlled by the Macdonells of Glengarry. We’ll take a further look at Knoydart next week.