BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

16 October 2014

Arnish Lighthouse

BBC Homepage
»Island Blogging
Western Isles

North Uist
South Uist

Argyll & Clyde Islands
Northern Isles

House Rules

From the BBC

Contact Us

Iolaire disaster

I have recently written about the Iolaire disaster. An updated list of names of all those on board HMY Iolaire is now available on the website, link to the right of this entry. I am particularly endebted to Malcolm MacDonald of the Stornoway Historical Society. I can only echo his dismay that such a list was never published in the 87 years since the disaster took place. It would have been so much easier when the survivors were still alive, as well as the families of those grieving for loved ones. The last survivor died in 1992. Some of the stories have been handed down through the years. Even when the final version of the name list comes on-line, in the next week or so, it can never be a definite list. The bodies of many of those who drowned were never found.
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 22:11


Well done, Arnish Lighthouse. My grampa's younger brother, Donald MacLeod (7 Marbhig, then Stornoway), died coming into harbour on the Iolaire. From the memorial in South Lochs I think two of my greatgrandparents' brothers were killed in the war, as well as losing Donald. My grandfather Alasdair was forbidden from fishing anymore for fear he'd drown too, after his family's losses. A torment for him, as he loved the sea and fishing. He drove for Lord Leverhulme then went to the shipyards in Glasgow to make some money. Her returned to Stornoway for a short time then came to Canada on one of the two ships for which there were no passenger lists. Settled in our praries for a time (no water at all) then went west to Vancouver Island for the remainder of his lifetime... built himself a little boat and enjoyed it to the end in 1980. So fortunate I visited Stornoway last summer and saw for myself why Alaisdair chose looked so like Stornoway... His mother I think suffered too much heartbreak for it all and was a lost soul in the sanatorium for the rest of her life. And oddly, when I've written lyrics all through my life they have been laden with images of water, and the sea...long before I knew of this event in my family's history. Funny how these things can follow you. I'd not be at all if it weren't for the Iolaire disaster...a ponderous thought, that.

Karen of Lewis from Ontario

Murachadh MacPharlin has a beautiful song about the Iolaire, its in Gaelic but i think its worth a mention! x

Naomi from Lewis

Could you tell me where i might find that Naomi?

John Paul from Lewis

This blog is now closed and we are no longer accepting new posts.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy