74 years ago - Remembrance Sunday

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Angus Mac Kinnon
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74 years ago - Remembrance Sunday

Post by Angus Mac Kinnon » Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:11 pm

Another poignant anniversary occurs at this time. On Sunday 15th November 1936 a tragedy took place out on the Heiskeir group of Islands, also known as the Monach Isles. The lighthouse located on one of the smaller of the isles, Shillay, which was constructed in 1864, had three Keepers and on this day two of them crossed over in a small boat to the larger island, Ceann Ear, (literally East Head) to fetch mails and other stores for the Keepers' house on Shillay. The weather out there, like the tidal conditions, can change very rapidly and this is what must have happened when they were returning to Shillay in the small boat.

The third Keeper, who had been looking out for his friends making their way back, saw then waist deep on an rock outcrop (sgeir) with the boat, now upturned, drifting away clear out to sea. He was powerless to do anything and could hear the men but suddenly a big sea washed then off their perch and they perished. Despite concentrated searches of the area they could not be found and it was not until a month later that their bodies were discovered.

That was only one of quite a few fatal mishaps involving the Heiskeir islands over the years, but a particularly sad one bearing in mind that their friend and workmate witnessed the entire proceedings and could do nothing about it but watch in horror. What a terrible memory to have etched in his memory banks for the rest of his life.

About 5 miles to the North of that spot there lies another treacherous outcrop (I think it is named Duraborocks or Diurabergs or something like that) which claimed a Dunkirk-registered French barque - the large Van Stabel - built by Loire, Nantes for Voilier Dunkerquois in 1901. The loss of this large vessel (274 feet x 40 feet x 2,349 tons) was particularly severe insofar as there were no survivors.

Heiskeir is also the final resting place of three submariners from the WWI German submarine U-110 that was lost on 15th March 1918 following a conflict with two Moon-class destroyers - HMS Michael and HMS Moresby in a position about 8-10 miles North of the Inishtrahul Beacon (Malin Head). Only one of the submariners could be identified by the locals before burial. He was Unterseeboot Maschinist Otto W. Schatt.
Angus Mac Kinnon

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Ron Ireland
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Re: 74 years ago - Remembrance Sunday

Post by Ron Ireland » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:47 pm

Thanks for that Angus,
I was aware of the incident though not in as much detail, nor was I aware of the significance of the date.

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