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The Iolaire disaster: The 'crowning sorrow of the war'


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Most interested to read about this again - my step-grandfather had served on the Iolaire prior to that disaster. He had been a "Ganges Boy" and had enlisted in 1885 and left the RN in 1909 when he was discharged to the Royal Fleet Reserve. Was called back in August 1914 and served on different Auxiliary Patrol ships of the same squadron based in Stornaway - the Iolaire being one of them. He was at sea on HMT Calliope II, a converted Trawler which had been armed with a 1 pdr gun and which was sunk after collision with the SS Dane in March 1916 off the Butt of Lewis - some of the crew were lost but my Grandfather survived and returned home to Falmouth in "borrowed clothes" - never mentioning what had happened. It was when researching family history that this full story was revealed and when it then tied up with "family legend" about the sinking that had never been fully talked about.

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