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Iolaire Memorial

Located 2 miles (3 km) to the southeast of Stornoway, on Lewis in the Western Isles, the Iolaire Memorial commemorates the wrecking of the Admiralty Yacht HMS Iolaire on New Year's day, 1919. 205 lives were lost when the Iolaire foundered in the stormy darkness. The yacht was transporting naval veterans on the last stage of their journey home after serving in the First World War. 181 of the dead were islanders, devastating the community. Only 79 of those aboard survived the disaster. The ship had sailed from Kyle of Lochalsh the previous evening and the yacht ran aground on the notorious Beasts of Holm, close to the entrance to Stornoway Harbour, in the early hours of the morning. A public inquiry suggested the cause was a navigation error, but also identified negligence on the part of the crew. A pillar on the rocks indicates where the ship foundered.

The memorial was dedicated in 1958 and a descriptive plaque was added nearby by North of Scotland Water, unveiled on the 4th January, 2001.


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