An art teacher at Thurso High School has created a large-scale canvas in memory of the 201 sailors who perished in the Iolaire disaster nearly 100 years ago.
William Wallace is originally from Stornoway and shares a direct connection with the disaster, having lost his relative, Malcolm Martin from the village of Balallan on Lewis, when he perished on the Beasts of Holm within sight of many of the sailors’ homes.
Mr Wallace said: “I chose to work on a large scale, 8ft x 4ft, to emphasise the scale of this disaster that many Scots have never heard about.
“I can only imagine the horror of watching these heroes drown so close to the shores.”
The former student of Gray’s Art School has used symbolism within the painting to represent all aspects that surrounded the tragedy, with an image of a dead bird in the centre of the composition being an eagle, which in Gaelic translates to Iolaire.
An open bible is also included to portray the strong religious beliefs held on the Western Isles with a magnifying glass highlighting reference to Isaiah with the quote “They will soar high on wings like eagles”.
Mr Wallace added: “We are all indebted to those who have fought and are serving their country and I am impressed with all the work being done by the people of Lewis to commemorate this disaster 100 years on and in their efforts to make a wider audience aware of this tragedy.
“I am hoping my work will add further awareness of this largely unknown story from the First World War. It would be great to have the painting shown in my hometown of Stornoway and ideally on display as part of a permanent public collection.”