Western Isles schools given new Iolaire book

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As part of the Dìleab (Legacy) project, all schools in the Western Isles will be gifted a signed copy of the new Acair publication, The Darkest Hour, which is the most comprehensive account to date of the Iolaire tragedy.

The book, written by Malcolm Macdonald, chairman of Stornoway Historical Society, and the late Donald John MacLeod, was published by Acair Books and launched in An Lanntair on Thursday November 1.

The book is the result of 20 years of research by the authors and contains many personal stories connected to the Iolaire, as well as information and theories on what could have gone wrong, in terms of navigation.

Mr Macdonald said: ‘It is gratifying to know that the Dìleab project has explored the tragedy and given much interest to pupils. In my schooldays the Iolaire was not mentioned at all. I really hope that this book will help to ensure that the greatest tragedy to befall the islands will never be forgotten.’

Councillor Angus McCormack, chairman of Education, Sport and Children’s Services at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said: ‘We are very pleased to gift a signed copy of this wonderful book to all schools throughout the Western Isles. We felt that it was a very appropriate thing to do, particularly given that our schools have been involved in projects relating to the First World War this year, working alongside the comhairle’s multimedia team.

‘We want our young people to be educated on their local history and to know what men and women went through in the First World War so that we could have the freedom we enjoy today.’