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Letter to Gaelic Learners Litir do Luchd-ionnsachaidh

Ruairidh MacIlleathain A series of letters to support Gaelic learners. This will help learners who already have some knowledge and understanding of Gaelic and are looking to develop their language skills. Sound files, text, vocabulary and language notes are also available. Sreath de litrichean a bheir taic do luchd-ionnsachaidh na Gàidhlig. Bidh iad seo cuideachail do luchd-ionnsachaidh le beagan tuigs air a’ Ghàidhlig agus a tha a’ coimhead airson dòigh air na sgilean cànain aca a leasachadh. Tha faidhle fuaim, teacsa, briathrachas agus puingean cànain rim faighinn cuideachd.

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Na ‘Bedford Highlanders’(2) (Litir 928)

Bha mi ag innse dhuibh mu na ‘Bedford Highlanders’ – na saighdearan à ceann a tuath na h-Alba a bha a’ fuireach ann am Bedford ann an Sasainn aig toiseach a’ Chiad Chogaidh.

Chaidh cùisean an ìre mhath gu math leotha , ach bha aon duilgheadas mòr aca. Sgap galaran am measg nan saighdearan – an teasach sgàrlaid, galar na h-amhaich agus a’ ghriùthrach gu sònraichte. An fheadhainn a ghabh a’ ghriùthrach, bha iad a’ fulang gu tric an dèidh làimhe leis an fhiabhras-chlèibhe. Bhathar ag aithris anns a’ phàipear-naidheachd ionadail gur e a bu choireach ri sgapadh nan galaran nach robh muinntir na Gàidhealtachd cleachdte ri a leithid. Bha iad a’ cumail a-mach nach robh a’ ghriùthrach, mar eisimpleir, aithnichte air taobh an iar na Gàidhealtachd.

Biodh sin mar a bhitheadh e. Ghabh mòran na galaran agus chaidh feadhainn dhiubh a chur ann an cuarantain air iomall a’ bhaile. Aig a’ cheann thall, chaochail ceud, trithead ʼs a còig saighdearan, a’ chuid a bu mhotha dhiubh air sgàth na griùthraich agus cuid mhath dhiubh nan Camshronaich. Chaidh an dust aig feadhainn a thoirt dhachaigh chun na Gàidhealtachd. Bha feadhainn eile air an tiodhlacadh ann am Bedford – trithead ʼs a trì uile-gu-lèir. Ach bha fad’ a bharrachd dhiubh air an tiodhlacadh thall anns a’ Bheilg agus san Fhraing air sgàth a’ chogaidh.

Chaill feadhainn am beatha air sgàth ghnothaichean eile cuideachd. Latha a bha seo, bha dithis air cus òl agus thòisich iad air connsachadh ri chèile. Bha an dàrna saighdear a’ bagairt air an fhear eile gun cuireadh e a bheugaileid ann. Leum caraid aig an fhear eile eadar an dithis agus ghabh e ceann biorach na beugaileid. Mus do chaochail e, rinn e tagradh às leth an fhir a shàth a bheugaileid ann. Shàbhail e am fear eile bho bhàs; fhuair e binn prìosain le saothair chruaidh na àite.

Air sgàth call nan saighdearan Breatannach sa chogadh, chuir an riaghaltas na saighdearan Gàidhealach an sàs na bu thràithe na bha dùil. Thàinig an Rìgh a choimhead orra aig deireadh na Dàmhair. Anns an t-Samhain, thòisich na saighdearan air a dhol a-null chun na Frainge. Bha iad a’ gabhail trèana gu ruige puirt air Caolas Shasainn agus an uair sin bàta thar a’ Chaolais. Aig deireadh a’ Chèitein naoi ceud deug is còig-deug (1915), bha iad uile air falbh.

Cha robh na saighdearan Gàidhealach ann am Bedford ach ochd mìosan, agus thàinig saighdearan eile a dh’fhuireach ann às an dèidh. Ach, a rèir choltais, cha tug gin eile a’ bhuaidh air a’ bhaile ʼs a thug na h-Albannaich. Bha còrr is fichead mìle dhiubh ann – dhà air fhichead mìle nuair a dh’fhalbh iad anns a’ Chèitean naoi ceud deug is còig-deug (1915). Bha na bu lugha na ceathrad mìle duine a’ fuireach ann am Bedford aig an àm sin.

An aon fheadhainn a bha coltach riutha, b’ iad na saighdearan Ameireaganach a chaidh a dh’fhuireach ann am Bedford anns an Dàrna Cogadh. Bha na h-Albannaich agus na h-Ameireaganaich spaideil is modhail – agus diofraichte ann an giùlan is cainnt bho mhuinntir an àite. Eadhon an-diugh, bithear a’ cumail seirbheis cuimhneachaidh do na saighdearan Gàidhealach a h-uile bliadhna air an t-Sàbaid ro Latha Fèill Anndra. Agus thill cuid de na saighdearan a mhair beò tron chogadh gu Bedford an dèidh a’ chogaidh airson leannan a phòsadh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faclan na Litreach: aithnichte: known; an t-Samhain: November; leannan: sweetheart.

Abairtean na Litreach: Sgap galaran am measg nan saighdearan: diseases spread among the soldiers; an teasach sgàrlaid, galar na h-amhaich agus a’ ghriùthrach gu sònraichte: particularly scarlet fever, diphtheria and measles; a’ fulang gu tric an dèidh làimhe leis an fhiabhras-chlèibhe: often suffering afterwards with pneumonia; gur e a bu choireach ri: that what was responsible for; nach robh muinntir na Gàidhealtachd cleachdte ri a leithid: that the people of the Highlands weren’t used to such things; chaidh feadhainn dhiubh a chur ann an cuarantain air iomall a’ bhaile: some of them were placed in quarantine at the edge of the town; a’ chuid a bu mhotha dhiubh air sgàth na griùthraich: most of them because of measles; cuid mhath dhiubh nan Camshronaich: many of them Cameron Highlanders; chaidh an dust aig feadhainn a thoirt dhachaigh: the remains of some were taken home; bha feadhainn eile air an tiodhlacadh: others were buried; bha fad’ a bharrachd dhiubh air an tiodhlacadh thall anns a’ Bheilg agus san Fhraing air sgàth a’ chogaidh: many more of them were buried over in Belgium and France because of the war; thòisich iad air connsachadh ri chèile: they started to argue with each other; a’ bagairt air an fhear eile gun cuireadh e a bheugaileid ann: threatening the other he would put his bayonet in him; ghabh e ceann biorach na beugaileid: he took the sharp end of the bayonet; rinn e tagradh às leth an fhir: he appealed on behalf of the man; fhuair e binn prìosain le saothair chruaidh: he got a prison sentence with hard labour; deireadh na Dàmhair: the end of October; a-null chun na Frainge:over to France; puirt air Caolas Shasainn: ports on the English Channel; na bu lugha na: less than; spaideil is modhail – agus diofraichte ann an giùlan is cainnt: well presented and polite – and different in carriage and speech; an t-Sàbaid ro Latha Fèill Anndra: the Sunday before St Andrewʼs Day.

Puing-chànain na Litreach: chuir an riaghaltas na saighdearan Gàidhealach an sàs na bu thràithe na bha dùil: the government sent the Highland soldiers to the front earlier than expected. You might say na bu thràithe na bhathar an dùil which would mean the same thing, but the shortened form is widely used. Cutting corners can give a more idiomatic and natural feel to your speech – keep your eyes and ears open for examples like this.

Gnàthas-cainnt na Litreach: Chaidh cùisean an ìre mhath gu math leotha: matters went pretty well with them.

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An Litir Bheag

This letter corresponds to Tha an Litir seo a’ buntainn ri An Litir Bheag 624

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