Saturday, 1 January 2011

HMY Iolaire

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="The Beasts of Holm, where the Iolaire went down"]The Beasts of Holm, where the Iolaire went down[/caption]

It is 92 years ago today, 1 January 2011, that this unfortunate vessel ran aground on the Beasts of Holm and sank, taking more than 200 lives with her to the bottom. They were all sailors from the Isle of Lewis, from Harris and Berneray (Sound of Harris). They had all survived up to four years of war service, either on the oceans of the world or on the Western Front. The bodies of sixty would never be recovered, but the others lay scattered on the shorelines from Point west to Stornoway, and south to Grimshader. One was found at the bottom of his ancestral croft in Lower Sandwick. The full story of the Iolaire has been told in many places on the Internet, e.g. here.

The tragedy struck a bodyblow to the island, but is little known beyond the Hebrides. I once more post on the subject to raise awareness, and keep alive the memory of all those lost. A monument was erected near the site of the Iolaire's sinking, with a small plaque at the top of the path leading to the monument.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="The Iolaire Memorial at Holm Point"]The Iolaire Memorial at Holm Point[/caption]


  1. What you fail to mention is the huge establishment cover up there was in the aftermath. Enquiries behind closed doors/ documents destroyed etc. I listened to an interesting, lecture about the Iolaire which was aprt of an Islands' Book Trust conference. A retired policeman from Scarp had got interested in the subject and had sent for information under the Freedom of Information Act but was blanked by the authorities. He sensed a smokescreen. Believe me the Iolaire Conspiracy is up there with the Princess Diana fiasco. My late aunt's father was one of the casualties.

  2. Am aware of the cover-up (alleged or otherwise), but I made a conscious decision not to allude to that. There are others who can make those points better.