I am most touched to have been asked to provide a foreword for this important publication.  ‘The Darkest Dawn’ is a deeply poignant tribute to all those who so tragically lost their lives when H.M.Y. IOLAIRE sank a century ago, in the early hours of 1st January 1919.

This is a profoundly moving record of a disaster which has had a truly lasting effect on the communities of Lewis, Harris and Berneray.  It must also not be forgotten that there were an additional twenty-six people on board from communities stretching from Aberdeen to Penzance.  This book enables present and future generations to know something of the indescribable grief of those families, relatives, neighbours and friends who were so cruelly affected by the loss of their loved ones.  After miraculously surviving their military service during the First World War, they perished only a few hundred yards from their final destination.
It is perhaps understandable that, until recently, the circumstances surrounding this most tragic of events in the history of the Islands have not been widely discussed.  This book, therefore, provides us with a fitting legacy with which to mark the loss of 201 passengers and crew of H.M.Y. IOLAIRE.
Acair are to be congratulated for producing this most comprehensive publication; its detailed and personal narrative, coupled with rare photographs of those caught up in this tragedy, has created a fitting epitaph to those Servicemen whose loss had such a devastating effect on the island communities