One of the UK’s worst maritime disasters, occurred 100 years ago yesterday and was doubly tragic with the loss of 201 lives, most sailors returning home after the end of World War One. HMS Iolaire sank just off Stornoway Harbour on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland in bad weather, perhaps because of a navigational error. The impact on the small island community, which had already lost more men than most other UK regions, was devastating.
It occurred at 2.30 am on 1 January 1919 when watery Neptune was exactly conjunct the Midheaven opposition Mars. There were two other oppositions – a high tension Saturn opposition Uranus; and an over-the-top the Sun opposition Jupiter Pluto.
The early December 1918 Solar Eclipse located to Stornoway had the Sagittarius New Moon conjunct the Descendant and it was also conjunct the Scotland 1034 Sagittarius Sun – so critical for the location and the country. The Lunar Eclipse of mid December 1918 had Neptune conjunct the Ascendant set for Stornoway. Planets on the chart axis usually indicate a crisis for that geographical region.
It would have been bad enough at any time but to come after the end of the war makes it all the more heart-rending, wiping out practically a generation of young men.
Nicola Sturgeon and Prince Charles attended a memorial service with 201 carnations were cast into the sea in remembrance.