Bid for joint anniversary commemoration

Members of Larne RNLI Station laid a wreath at a commemoration service to mark the Princess Victoria disaster. INLT 06-029-PSB
Members of Larne RNLI Station laid a wreath at a commemoration service to mark the Princess Victoria disaster. INLT 06-029-PSB

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is considering a joint commemoration for the 65th anniversary of the Princess Victoria ferry disaster.

The council has contacted Dumfries and Galloway Council in Scotland in a bid to mark the landmark year.“in a more significant way in 2018”.

The Princess Victoria ship, one of the first roll-on roll-off ferries, sank close to the Copeland Islands off the County Down coast during a crossing from Stranraer to Larne on January 31 1953.

The ship was stricken by a fierce storm and, damaged by pounding waves, took on water.

The disaster had a huge impact on the Larne community, with 27 of the victims from the town. Every year, a poignant service is held close to Larne harbour to mark the tragedy, one of the UK’s worst peacetime sea disasters.

Only 44 of the 177 people on board escaped with their lives; not a single woman or child survived.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council will also request that two additional names - Thomas Saunders and Gordon Wright be inscribed on the monument in Dumfries and Galloway and in Larne.

Ald. Maureen Morrow stressed the importance of both monuments’ records being identical. She also called for the names to be in place before next year’s anniversary.

Mayor Paul Reid suggested that Larne RNLI should have a role in the commemoration as he felt it is “important to remember the brave actions of the lifeboat on that fateful night”.

Alderman Gregg McKeen added: “It is fitting that we have something more significant this year.”