Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Lockerbie Secret

If any blogallies have been wondering about the garden, may I just say that work is progressing, albeit slowly. The weather has been so cold this week that little has been done outside. However, as you know, I like to explore and go out and about with the camera. So here's a post about one of Lockerbie's attractions, and perhaps its best kept secret, the Ukrainian Chapel at Hallmuir.

The photo above is one of the few huts which remain of the forty or so that made up the WW2 prisoner of war camp at Hallmuir Farm which housed both German and Italian soldiers. After the war, these prisoners were mostly repatriated, and the camp became home to a different population.

In May 1947, Ukrainian POWs arrived at Glasgow Docks from a camp near Rimini in Italy. Around 450 were brought to Lockerbie by truck and train and were marched through the town to Hallmuir Farm Camp.

Once settled, they were employed by the Ministry of Agriculture to work on the farms and forestry in the area. Unlike the German and Italian POWs, the Ukrainians could not return home. Ukraine had become part of the USSR, and it was made clear that on their return to the Soviet Union they would most likely be executed or sent to Siberia, because they had fought on the German side.

Sir John Buchanan Jardine, the landowner, donated one of the huts to the Ukrainians so that they could use it as a chapel. It was decorated by the internees themselves over a number of years, using their own skills and whatever materials that were to hand.

It is all rather beautiful and quite moving, not to say unexpected, as one enters the old hut. It was the first Ukrainian Chapel of its kind in Scotland and is still in use today. Services are held on the first Sunday of every second month.

This memorial is outside the chapel. There's a static caravan on the site, with information and old photographs. There's more about the Ukrainian Chapel here, and in this YouTube video here. It's a remarkable place to visit.

Photos © Skip Cottage

1 comment:

  1. Hello,
    I paid a visit to this chapel today and have to admit to being overawed on opening the door.!
    Much more meaningful than some of our great cathedrals.Only wish I had more spare cash on me to leave behind.!