CANDLES were lit today to remember the 58 men who died 50 years ago in a catastrophic episode in Hull’s fishing history.
More than 500 people packed into Hull Minster to remember those who lost their lives in the Triple Trawler Tragedy of 1968, when three fishing vessels - St Romanus, Kingston Peridot and Ross Cleveland - went down in the space of just 25 days.
Many were there to remember victims of other disasters - 6,000 fishermen were lost from St Andrew’s Dock’s opening in 1886 to its closure in 1975
Bishop of Hull Right Rev Alison White said those who were lost “are close and go on being part of this place and part of us.” She said the loss of life “far from home is a terrible kind of separation - knowing that every time a trawler set sail there might by no Three Day Millionaires this time - that the deckie learner might have no more lessons to learn.”
The St Romanus, which sailed on 10 January 1968, was the first to be lost. Kingston Peridot, which sailed the same day, was fishing off north-east Iceland by January 26 in foul weather, and having difficulties with ice building up. Three days later one of her liferafts washed ashore.
Among the congregation was Mick Rogers whose 18-year-old brother Barry died on a lifeboat from the Ross Cleveland, the third trawler to be lost.
The terrible last words of skipper Philip Gay have gone down in history: “I am going over. We are laying over. Help us, Len, she’s going. Give my love and the crew’s love to the wives and families.”
Ultimately there was only one survivor, Harry Eddom.
Mr Rogers, who was 12 at the time, remembers being pulled out of school after the Fisherman’s Mission delivered the news. He was at the original service at Hull Minister 50 years ago, but it was a “bit of a blur.”
“He was my big brother, I looked up to him,” he said. “He was a lad-and-a-half. He is always there, always in the back of your mind.”