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Triple Trawler Tragedy

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The 40th anniversary of the loss of three Hull trawlers in the space of a month will be commemorated on Lost Trawlerman's Day this month.

During January and February 1968 a total of 58 men died in the Arctic seas, with the loss of the St. Romanus, Kingston Peridot and Ross Cleveland trawlers.

The losses will be remembered in a memorial service on January 27 at the Lockhead, St Andrews Dock, where hundreds of people are expected to gather for prayers, hymns and bible readings.
The triple disaster created a public outcry forty years ago. A group of women from Hull’s fishing community travelled to Downing Street, where they met prime minister Harold Wilson and handed him a petition demanding better safety on board trawlers.

“Changes in health and safety law were made as a result – and no doubt that saved the lives of many more British fishermen,” says Adam Fowler of STAND, Hull’s fishing heritage association, which organises the annual memorial service.

“When three trawlers were lost in a month, and from the same close knit city, people started saying enough was enough.”
Only one man survived from the crews of all three vessels.
Doctors branded it a miracle after Harry Eddom, first mate on the Ross Cleveland, was washed up on the Icelandic coast clinging to a life raft.

He is still alive today and in his 70s but has always refused to speak to the media.
The dying words of the skipper of the Ross Cleveland were received over the radio by a nearby boat as follows: “Will you come closer? We are over-icing,” and minutes later: “I am going. Give my love and the crew’s love to their wives and families.”

More than 6,000 Hull trawlermen have been lost at sea in the last 100 years.


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