Cliffs of Scotland

Edgar Albert Guest

Sixteen Americans who died on the Tuscania are
buried at the water's edge at the base of the rocky
cliffs at a Scottish port.- (News Dispatch.)

Cliffs of Scotland, guard them well,
Shield them from the blizzard's rage;
Let your granite towers tell
That those sleeping heroes fell
In the service of their age.

Cliffs of Scotland, they were ours!
Now forever they are thine!
Guard them with your mighty powers!
Barren are your rocks of flowers,
But their splendor makes them fine.

Cliffs of Scotland, at your base
Freedom's finest children lie;
Keep them in your strong embrace!
Tell the young of every race
Such as they shall never die.

Cliffs of Scotland, never more
Men shall think you stern and cold;
Splendor now has found your shore;
Unto you the ocean bore
Freedom's precious sons to hold.

The Tuscania was a troopship carrying American soldiers to Britain.  On the 5th February 1918, with more than 2,000 American troops on board, she was torpedoed by a German U-Boat near the Island of Islay off the coast of Scotland. She sunk with the loss of more than 200 lives. Most of the passengers were rescued by the convoy's destroyer escorts.

Some of the bodies washed ashore and are buried on the Island of Islay, where a burial service was held on the rocky promontory of Oa.

Main Location:

Cliffs of Oa, Isle of Islay, Scotland

The "Cliffs of Scotland" on the Oa Peninsula, Island of Islay

Image by C. Michael Hogan, licensed under Creative Commons.