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Roll of Honour

Hartlepool seafarers lost at sea

McCarthy, Frederick Charles

Petty OfficerCarpenter
14, Hope Street
West Hartlepool

Born in 1885 in West Hartlepool, carpenter Frederick Charles McCarthy was lost on HMS Iolaire (yacht). 

The Iolaire was carrying sailors who had fought in the First World War back to the Scottish island of Lewis. She left the Kyle of Lochalsh on the evening of the 31 December 1918. But, at 2:30am on New Year's Day, as the ship approached the port of Stornoway, a few yards offshore and a mile away from the safety of Stornoway Harbour, she hit the infamous rocks "The Beasts of Holm", and eventually sank.






The final death toll was officially put at 205, of whom 181 were islanders, but as the ship was badly overcrowded and there was a lack of proper records the death toll could have been slightly higher. The tragedy is regarded as the worst in peace time and may have been human error as the entrance to Stornaway harbour is apparently simple for an experienced sailor.

In 1891, Frederick and his brother and two sisters were living in Stainton Street West Hartlepool with their widowed father John and his Irish sister Hannah. By 1901, they were all living with older sister Ethel and her husband. John McCarthy was still with his daughter in 1911. Jane McCarthy (nee Sleightholm), Frederick's mother was born in Stockton and she died in 1887 when her young son was 2 years old. Father John McCarthy was a marine engine fitter.

John McCarthy was informed of his son's death and he is remembered on The Plymouth Memorial. His body was not recovered.