Sunday, 8 November 2009

The loss of the Iolaire

I recently reviewed a fascinating book for Discover my Past Scotland magazine entitled When I Heard the Bell: the Loss of the Iolaire, by John MacLeod (Birlinn £16.99), which recounted the greatest naval tragedy in peace time Britain, the wrecking of the Iolaire (Gaelic for 'eagle') as she carried hundreds of Royal Naval Reservists back to the island of Lewis just a month after the end of the First World War, in December 1918. The ship was literally approaching Stornoway harbour, half a mile out, when the tragedy happened, with the loss of over 200 lives.

Today the Comann Eachdraidh Uig website has uploaded an eyewitness account from one of the survivors, John Maclennan, translated from Gaelic by Maggie Smith. To read the account, visit

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