The Iolaire Disaster 1 THE CRUELLEST TWIST The Outer Hebrides are a diverse chain of inter-connected islands, situated on Europe’s Atlantic edge, remote and wild and tranquil in equal measure, with their own unique culture and way of life. The Great War had a huge impact on the Islands, but it was soon after the war had ended that one of the saddest events in the history of the Islands unfolded. The HMY Iolaire sank within sight of Stornoway Harbour in the early hours of New Year’s Day 1919, after hitting a treacherous cluster of rocks known locally as the Beasts of Holm. This is the story of the most sad and tragic of ends of those who lost their lives and of the few who managed to survive. This is also the story of the last leg of a long journey home that by rights should not have gone wrong and of the disaster which affected the Isle of Lewis and shrouds it still with a deep sense of grief. Left: the ship’s bell recovered from the wreck of HMY Iolaire