Thursday, 1 January 2009

In Remembrance - Iolaire 90 years ago

At 1.55 am on 1 January 1919, HMY Iolaire sank at the Beasts of Holm. More than 200 sailors, the vast majority from Lewis, drowned. About 75 were rescued. The remains of 60 were never recovered. Rather than their loved ones, many island homes received a visit from a church elder, bringing the worst possible news. Followed, not many days later, by the burials of those who had been found on the shores of Stornoway Harbour, the Braighe and Lochs. The circumstances of the sinking have never been satisfactorily cleared up.
A service of remembrance will be held on the shore overlooking the site where Iolaire went down, 90 years ago today. Although I’m not there myself, my thoughts will most definitely be on those lost in the Iolaire, their families left bereaved. I hope that by the 100th anniversary in 2019, the Royal Navy records on this case will be published to finally bring closure on a sad saga.
Those who wish to know more can visit my own webpage or that of the Stornoway Historical Society. A list of casualties and survivors has been collated on this site.

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