64th anniversary of Princess Victoria tragedy marked by memorial service

Mayor Audrey Wales lays a wreath in memory of the victims of the Princess Victoria tragedy as local Sea Cadets form a guard of honour. INLT-04-712-con
Mayor Audrey Wales lays a wreath in memory of the victims of the Princess Victoria tragedy as local Sea Cadets form a guard of honour. INLT-04-712-con

A memorial service took place today (Tuesday January 31) to mark the 64th anniversary of the sinking of the MV Princess Victoria, one of the UK’s worst peacetime sea disasters.

The loss of the Stranraer-Larne Ferry in the ‘Great Storm’ of 1953 claimed the lives of 134 people, 27 of whom were from Larne.

The service, at the Princess Victoria Memorial on Larne’s Chaine Memorial Road, was organised by the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes MV Princess Victoria Lodge 5050 in association with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

Speaking at the event, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Councillor Audrey Wales said: “On the morning of the disaster, the Princess Victoria set sail for Larne at 7.45am.

“After leaving the shelter of Loch Ryan, the ship struggled against winds, with recorded gusts of over 80mph, and mountainous seas, more than 50ft high.

“Despite the valiant efforts of her crew, lifeboat men and other seafarers, the Princess Victoria foundered off the coast of Northern Ireland, within sight of the Copeland Islands near the entrance to Belfast Lough.

“Some 177 people were on board including 49 members of crew with the disaster claiming the lives of 134 people.

“This had a huge impact on Larne with 27 of the victims being from the town.

“All women and children on board were lost in this tragedy,” she concluded.