Bodies washed ashore

Ashaig graveyard (51)It was a cold and cloudy morning in the beginning of October 1942. Few men had remained in the village of Lower Breakish. The war wore heavy on the people of Skye. They did not know what waited for them at the beaches of the island. They did not know, what they would soon have to face.

Ashaig graveyard (52)Warships were everywhere in the waters off the island, transport vessels carried troops to their destinations. The Allied Forces prepared for the D-Day Landings.

RMS Queen Mary transported 15.000 Anmerican troops to the U.K.. She and her escort vessel HMS Curacoa had reached the west coast of Ireland. The clouds were hanging low.

Suddenly, around midday, the two ships collided. RMS Queen Mary rammed the smaller vessel and virtually sliced it in two halves, it sank quickly.

Decription of an eyewitness: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/28/a4146428.shtml

The Queen Mary had orders not to stop and help. Left behind in the cold and relentless sea, most of the soldiers drowned.  The Government put a communication ban on the disaster, not to affect the moral of the troops.

The bodies of HMS Curacoa washed ashore in Ireland, the Isle of Eigg, Oban, Knoydart and the Isle of Skye.

towards the Inner Sound
towards the Inner Sound

Only 101 of the 439 strong crew survived the disaster. They were picked up by other ships.

The people of Skye buried 17 bodies in the graveyard of Ashaig. Three  could never be identified.

The headstones of their final resting place look away from where they drowned.

Most of the others in the graveyard face the sea.

Ashaig graveyard (2)

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