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HMY IOLAIRE PHOTOGRAPH APPEAL

A new book about the Iolaire disaster is to be published by Acair in Autumn 2018 at the start of a series of events commemorating  the centenary of the loss of the Admiralty yacht with over 200 sailors near Stornoway harbour on New Year’s Day 1919.

The book has been compiled and many photographs have been acquired for the publication which will be similar in format to the successful Acair and Comunn Eachdraidh Nis collaboration, (The Going Down of the Sun) The book is arranged to give the situation pre-war, the prelude to the disaster, the disaster and aftermath including the burials and inquiries. The effect it had on the island, families and survivors is also explored.  The publication will list a comprehensive Who’s Who of all aboard on the last voyage and the authors have traced the death dates of all but one of the survivors. Another listing is of all the children who lost their fathers, with their dates of birth (and death in some instances). The book also comments on the role the Admiralty played from the time Anderson Young, the Stoneyfield farmer, arrived at Vice Admiral Boyle’s headquarters to report the matter.

Co-authors, Donald John MacLeod and Malcolm Macdonald, are appealing for more photographs of the individuals who were lost and saved that fateful stormy night. “We already have several photographs of the two Iolaires (the Iolaire and the Amalthaea), several of the Beasts of Holm and memorial, the Amalthaea (Later Iolaire) football team, the men from Ness, Tolsta, North Lochs and some from other areas.  We thank the Comunn Eachdraidh (Local History Societies) from those areas that have assisted and we hope more might help to make this comprehensive book a fitting tribute to the men and families who suffered in the greatest tragedy Lewis and Harris have ever experienced.

The authors would like to point out that they have financed the research themselves and will not gain from the publication of the book and that any royalties accruing to the authors will go to the Bethesda Hospice in Stornoway.

Anybody that can help with a photograph or information, please contact Malcolm Macdonald at 17 Westview Terrace, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, HS1 2HP (telephone 01851 703645) or email at macdonald232@btinternet.com.  All photographs will be copied if in hard copy and returned immediately.  All photographs used will be duly credited in the book.

Please note that the images are required by May of this year as the publishers will be designing  the layout shortly afterwards.  The artist Margaret Ferguson who is working on a series of paintings to commemorate the event has appealed for images of the Iolaire men and we shall be making the images available to her in order that the men will never be forgotten.