A MEMORIAL made from 201 stones — each one representing a sailor who died when the HMY Iolaire sank off the Isle of Lewis on New Year's Day, 1919 — will include two stones from the IW.

The Iolaire survived the First World War and was returning home when she hit The Beasts of Holm, a treacherous rocky outcrop just a mile away from the safety of Stornoway Harbour. Dragged down by their heavy boots and uniforms, and unable to swim to safety, 201 of the 283 people on board perished. It was the UK's worst peacetime shipwreck since the sinking of the Titanic.

Most of those who died were from Lewis and two hailed from Island — Royal Naval Reserve Lt Leonard Edmund Cotter, 49, of Grasmere House, Park Road, Cowes, and Mercantile Marine Reserve Chief Petty Officer and cook Alfred William Henley, 45, of Newlands, St Helens.

Alfred was buried at St Helens Church, but Leonard's body was never recovered.

Students at a Stornoway school, the Nicolson Institute — where 15 students are related to the lost sailors — have collected stones from Scotland and England to create a cairn monument at Carn Gardens, Stornoway.

Two have been sent by children at Cowes and St Helens Primary Schools, where Alfred and and Leonard were from.

They were eager to contribute following a call from the County Press, after project organiser Tony Robson called the paper to ask for help.

He said: "It is difficult to imagine a sadder event for a small island community than the loss of 181 young men returning from the First World War only yards from a new year welcome home. It is important that a younger generation learns about this tragedy, and is able to commemorate it themselves with a memorial in the town centre."

At 11am on March 23, 201 students led by the school's pipe band will march to the cairn, where it will be unveiled by the descendants of those who died.