Centenary of the sinking of HMY Iolaire


New Year’s Day 2019 sees the centenary of the tragic sinking of HMY Iolaire. She was carrying sailors, who had fought during WWI,home to the isles of Lewis and Harris when she struck the infamous "The Beasts of Holm" just outside of Stornoway harbour. Sadly201 sailors lost their lives in sight of the shoreline. Many of them lived locally and their deaths devastated the Islanders who had thought that their loved ones, who had survived the horrors of war, were soon to be home.

To commemorate this centenary BFPS, in collaboration with the Iolaire Working Group, is producing a special philatelic cover for issue on the 1st January 2019.


The Great Tapestry of Scotland Trust has kindly given permission for BFPS to use an image taken by Alex Hewitt on the commemorative cover. This sits on a background image of the specially produced limited edition ‘Iolaire Harris Tweed’. A special handstamp, BFPS 3220 featuring a silhouette of HMY Iolaire, will be used to cancel a 1st class stamp from the 2018 Royal Mail special issue WWI series.

Versions of the cover will include:



  • A numbered limited edition of 201 which will include a bookmark handcrafted by BFPS from a sample of the specially woven ‘Iolaire Harris Tweed’ (kindly donated by Kenneth MacKenzie Ltd) priced at £15 each.
  • A numbered limited edition of 100 signed by Captain C J Smith ADC Royal Navy, Naval Regional Commander Scotland and Northern Ireland at £10 each.
  • A standard unsigned edition costing £7.50 each.

When Can I order this cover?

You can now pre-order this cover by following this link. This will be on a 'first-come-first-served' basis. Please bookmark this page.

This cover already has already generated a lot of interest and may well sell out very quickly.



The BFPS 3220 Special Handstamp

Our special handstamps are bespoke, made especially for each occassion. The final handstamp may vary slightly from that shown



Iolaire_handcraft_bookmark sml

Book Mark


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