Posted on December 13, 2018
More than 200 people died when the HMY Iolaire, which was carrying sailors home from the First World War, hit rocks around 20 yards from shore and sank near Stornoway in Lewis on New Year’s Day in 1919. A National Commemorative Service will take place on January 1, 2019, organised by WW100 Scotland in conjunction with Western Isles Council to mark the centenary of the tragedy. Hundreds of people including Iolaire descendants, Scotland’s most senior Naval Officer Rear Admiral John Weale, Ms Sturgeon, Prince Charles and Norman A Macdonald, convener of Western Isles Council, will attend the event at the Iolaire Memorial in Stornoway. Professor Norman Drummond, chairman of the Scottish Commemorations Panel, said: “It is beyond our comprehension that over 200 men perished so close to home after surviving the war in what remains one of the worst UK maritime disasters of the 20th century.
“When you look out from the Iolaire Memorial to where HMY Iolaire hit the rocks of The Beasts of Holm, you are struck by just how close they were to shore. It is hard to imagine the relief and excitement of the men and their families on their return and then the sorrow that was to follow. It is right and fitting that we hold a WW100 Scotland Commemoration in their memory and reflect on the lasting impact this tragic incident had on future generations on the Western Isles and far beyond.”