Service to mark 65th anniversary of Princess Victoria disaster

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A memorial service is to take place on January 31 to mark the 65th anniversary of one of the United Kingdom’s worst peacetime sea disasters, the loss of the Stranraer - Larne Ferry, MV Princess Victoria in the ‘Great Storm’ of 1953.

It is due to take place at Princess Victoria Memorial, Chaine Memorial Road, Larne, at 11am.

The Princess Victoria was one of the first roll on roll off designed ferries and made daily return crossings from Larne to Stranraer.

On January 31, 1953 The Princess Victoria set sail at 7.45am on her 745th sailing.

After leaving the relative shelter of Loch Ryan, off Corsewell point, the ship encountered the full fury of a gale. 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 of Belfast Lough.

It is thought that some 177 people were on board including 49 members of crew and that the disaster claimed the lives of 134 people, with 27 of the victims from Larne.

Each year the disaster is commemorated at the Princess Victoria Memorial near Larne Harbour.

The event is organised by Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes MV Princess Victoria Lodge in conjunction with Mid & East Antrim Borough Council.