Thinking of Ukraine.

Thinking of Ukraine at this difficult time and hoping for peace.

Back in 2014 on our 1st camper van tour of Scotland, we headed for the Lockerbie memorial garden the memorial to Pan Am Flight 103. On 21st December 1988 shortly after 19:00 while the aircraft was in flight over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, it was destroyed by a bomb that had been planted on board, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew in what became known as the Lockerbie bombing. Large sections of the aircraft crashed in a residential street killing 11 residents.

After leaving the town we saw a road sign to Ukrainian POW Chapel so we followed it to find out more. Away from the town were remains of a few huts (which numbered about 40 originally). One of these huts had been converted into a chapel by the prisoners.

Looking around it was all closed up, but before we left an old car turned up and an elderly gentleman turned up and unlocked the chapel.

He told us that the camp held 400 Ukrainian prisoners of war who had fought with Germans on the Russian front against the Red Army. The hut that had been turned into a chapel was looked after by him. He also had a small museum in a caravan he took the time to tell us about the history of the camp. The prisoners left the camp during the day to work on local farms and return there at night. When the war ended the Russians occupied Ukraine. The prisoners could not return home as they would have been sent to the gulag or executed. The camp closed in 1947 and many prisoners had become part of the community. The man who looked after the chapel’s father was one of the prisoners and had married a local woman.

A few years later we visited again but the chapel was locked up. I was told with the failing health of the caretaker the chapel remained closed for a while.

Today looking online it appears services are still held at Hallmuir chapel on the first Sunday of each month and the building again is also used for marriages of members of the Ukrainian community.

The inside of this simple hut is ornate and reflects the Orthodox Catholic religion of the people who lived in the camp and built it.