Sea disaster victims remembered ( BBC )

Gavin Gait
31st January 2008, 15:24

31st January 2008, 15:45
Re the Princess Victoria 31 January 1953, I see from the Daily Telegraph Obituaries today one to Rear Admiral "Mack" McArdle and the award of a George medal for a rescue of a man from the sea.
I remember the incident as I would imagine many do, as someone said after the Inquiry, if the "Princess Victoria had been as stout as the men who manned her she would be here today"
Yours aye,

31st January 2008, 21:08
Around the Tasman Sea when we heard the sad news on the BBC overseas service. Our old man was from N. Ireland. I can't remember the details but he reckoned that it was "a stain on our cloth" due to the higher ratio of crew survivors compared with passengers.

Don Matheson
31st January 2008, 22:14

I dont think your dad had much to worry about, dont think there were any stains that night.
My father was captain of the SS Orchy belonging to Sloans of Glasgow and it was him that found the Princess Victoria. He,with a few other ships set out from anchor in Belfast Lough to assist in the search for her. A brave act from brave men. Orchy was light ship and despite being among the survivors they could not get anyone out of the sea despite their efforts.
Some wonderful efforts that night including if I remember correctly the coxn from HMS Contest diving into the water to recover survivors.
Dad didnt talk about it much but I know he was very proud of the efforts of his men and all the seafarers who took part in the search and rescue that night. The lifeboat men were outstanding that night, a shining example of their work.
In 2003 I was at a big memorial event with services in both Larne and Stranrar and P and O provided a ferry, "European Highlander" for all relatives and she stopped over the site to lay wreaths, in company with a minesweeper who did the same. A very very moving time for all concerned.
One thing that always hung heavily on my dad was that despite finding the ship he couldnt do much more even though he was instramental in helping the rescue.
There are several good books about the whole incident but they may be out of print now.

1st February 2008, 09:31
To think, we very nearly had another similar incident, on the same day, with the Riverdance.

21st October 2010, 16:28
I was interested to read re Captain Matheson and the Princess Victoria.I worked for Wm.Sloan & co and had one trip on the Orchy under Captain Whyte,Hugh Matheson 'first, John Campbell 'second' . It was Coronation Year in Bristol and we loaded cars for Belfast mainly Rileys'

The loss of the Victoria was very fresh in everyone's minds, but when it did come into conversation there were some harrowing observations made particularly,despite the skill of Capt.Matheson,the frustration of being able to do so little.
As this was my first trip on a working vessel I have many memories albeit it was over fifty years ago