1 January, 1919

In the early hours of New Year’s Day in 1919 more than 200 men returning home from the First World War drowned within a short distance of land when their ship, the HMY Iolaire, struck rocks called the Beasts of Holm, near Stornoway Harbour.

Through the contributions from the community on the Isle of Lewis and related items in the National Library of Scotland, this website provides an overview of the events of that tragic day. It also aims to give visitors a starting point in looking at the impact the tragedy had on both the community of the time and what we can learn from it today.

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Echoes of a peacetime disaster