Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Iolaire orphan dies

Marion Macleod, aged 97, has passed away at the Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway. Mor, born in 1914, would recall the scenes when news of her father's death reached her native village of Earshader, just south of the present-day bridge to Great Bernera. I leave it to the article in Hebrides News for a proper appreciation of her long life.

The Iolaire was the ship which foundered just outside Stornoway Harbour on 1 January 1919, carrying 300 passengers and crew. The passengers were all naval ratings from Lewis and Harris, returning home following the Armistice six weeks before. Of these, 205 drowned, in spite of being just a few dozen yards from shore. The strong swell and winds prevented many from reaching safety. Of those lost, more than 60 were never found. The Iolaire Disaster is one of the worst peace-time maritime disasters in British waters - but is very little known outside Lewis. The grief that this tragedy caused was a private grief, and not readily discussed to this day.

No comments:

Post a Comment