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VIDEO: Remembering the Princess Victoria disaster

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A memorial service was held on the shores of Larne on Friday to mark the 61st anniversary of one of the UK’s worst peacetime sea disasters.

Despite driving rain and fierce winds, people gathered on Chaine Memorial Road at 11am to remember the 133 lives lost on January 31, 1953, when the car ferry Princess Victoria sank during a ferocious storm.

The ship, one of the first roll-on roll-off ferries, had been heading for Larne from the Scottish port of Stranraer when it was damaged by pounding waves and took on water.

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 of Belfast Lough.

As was usual for ferries, no passenger manifest was kept so it is not possible to state with certainty how many people were on board when she set sail.

It is thought that some 177 people were on board, including 49 members of crew; not a single woman or child survived the sinking.

The disaster had a huge impact on the Larne community, with 27 of the victims from the town.

 

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