Thursday, 18 September 2008

SS Empire Light

SS Empire Light was sunk in 1941 in the Indian Ocean by the armed German raider Pinguin. Survivors of the encounter were picked up by the German vessel, which itself was then attacked by HMS Cornwall. The Pinguin was sunk, taking the survivors from the Empire Light to the bottom with her.

Twenty-six of the Empire Light's crew perished on 8 May 1941, six of whom came from Lewis. Their names are:

Norman MacIver, 37 Vatisker
Murdo MacDonald, 32 Gress
Donald Graham, Garrabost
Murdo Campbell, 5 Sheshader (also quoted at 42 Inaclete Road, Stornoway)
Norman Malcolm Montgomery, 17 Sheshader
George Campbell, 5 Portnaguran

A visit to the Eye cemetery reveals that this was not just an island tragedy, it was a family tragedy as well. Norman Malcolm Montgomery of 17 Sheshader was related to Murdo Campbell of 5 Sheshader. Norman's mother, Isabella Montgomery nee Macleod, died 6 months after the sinking of the Empire Light. Her husband Norman was lost in the sinking of HMY Iolaire on 1 January 1919, one of the 205 drowned in that disaster.

1 comment:

  1. "That arnish,alas,,is the result of wars all over--affects complete families on islands,rural areas and districts of towns. and no we still haven't learnt lessons from them and never will,sadly."
    carol from over here

    "The island war memorials are the only ones to show 1914 - 1919 as the dates for WW1 because of the Iolaire disaster. Not a lot of people know that "
    calum caine from ness

    "It's a jungle out there."
    mjc from IN, USA

    "What an interesting post. I do enjoy your research and am really grateful that you have not started doing them in rhyming couplets or any other poetic style."
    Tormod from really enjoying your research

    "Now that is interesting."
    Flying Cat from feeling Able

    "it is research like this into the life of an island, that makes this blog such a joy to read. "
    pat egan from blackpool

    "Thank you for your post. Very interesting and so very sad..."
    thelovelyOutlander from very interested

    "What a sad but interesting story Arnish."
    Carol from IBHQ

    "Your facts regarding the crew and number of islanders are under researched. There were more in both instances, Lewismen and crew. There were eight men born on Lewis lost and only one crew member survived."
    Malcolm Macdonald from Stornoway