Tag Archives: disasters

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Black and white photograph of Warrant Officer William Arthur Graham.

Warrant Officer William Arthur Graham who was killed when two Halifax aircraft collided in mid-air over Tiree airfield on 16th August 1944. William, who was twenty-one when he died, was in the Royal Australian Air Force. He was the son of William and Rose Graham of Sydney, New South Wales in Australia and husband of Mabel Graham of Preston in England. He is buried in Dalton-upon Furness cemetery.



Captain`s chair from the S.S. `Malve`.

Wooden swivel chair with iron base from the bridge of the S.S. `Malve`, a Finnish steamship wrecked off Balephetrish Bay in 1931. The chair was salvaged by Charles Lamont (Tearlach Iseabail) of the Coal-ree in Kenovay and acquired by Mairi MacFarlane (Mairi Tearlach Mairi) of Creagan Breac in Cornaigbeg, whose parents Charles (Tearlach Mòr) and Flora (Floraidh Lachainn Eòghain) MacKinnon ‘purchased’ the Coal-ree in 1952. It was restored by Alan Reid of Kenovay.


Tiree in 100 Objects – 28 – Chair

The History of Tiree in 100 Objects


Photocopied photograph from the `Bulletin` of wreck of the `Tapti`, with printout of webpage from Mallaig Heritage Centre.

Photograph of the wreck of MV `Tapti` at Gunna in January 1951 publiched in the `Bulletin`; printout of webpage from Mallaig Heritage Centre about the `Tapti`.


Laminated photocopy of a newspaper cutting about John Neil MacLean of Kenovay.

Newspaper cutting about John Neil MacLean of Kenovay who drowned in an accident in October 1913 off the coast of New South Wales.


Photocopied collection of witness statements relating to a fishing accident in April 1858 in which four men were drowned in a storm.

Collection of seven witness statements relating to a fishing accident off Balemartine in April 1858 in which cottars Archibald MacFarlane of Balinoe, Alexander MacFarlane of Heylipol, Donald MacLean of Heylipol and John MacLean of Balinoe were drowned during a storm.


The police report on the Ruaig drowning of 1860

Transcription of the police report on the Ruaig drowning of 1860.

Courtesy of Argyll & Bute Archives

In February 1860, Charles MacLean and brothers Duncan and Archibald MacInnes left Skipnish, the harbour in Ruaig, to check their lobster traps. Their skiff measured just over sixteen feet. With Duncan at the helm and Charles and Archibald on the oars, they rowed four or five hundred yards to the south-east.

They then put three reefs in the sail, hoisted it and steered to the west of Soay. The wind was from the south, very strong but steady. As the sea was so heavy, they decided to shorten sail. While Archibald was doing this, water came aboard. They dropped the sail and in a moment the boat capsized.

Duncan managed to struggle ashore but the other two were drowned. When found by two Ruaig men, he was so weak he was unable to speak and had to be assisted home.


The evidence of Charles MacLean

Transcription of the evidence of Charles MacLean given at the enquiry into the sudden of death of a fishing crew from Mannal in 1860.

Courtesy of Argyll & Bute Archives

In April 1860 two fishing skiffs, one from Mannal and one from Balephuil, were out near Stevenson’s Rock, twenty kilometres to the south-west of Tiree. Both boats were rigged with dipping lugs which require considerable skill when tacking in heavy seas.

In windy weather there is the danger that too much sail will cause the boat to heel over and be swamped. This is apparently what happened to the Mannal boat which was not seen again after leaving the fishing grounds in the early morning.

Lugsails are shortened by lowering the yard and taking in reefs, i.e. hooking the sail to the bow at a point further up the luff (the leading edge of the sail) and tying the excess sail with reefs (cords attached to both sides of the sail). A lugsail may have four to six rows of reefs depending on its size.


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