Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Ellan Vannin Tragedy

The Liverpool Echo of U.K. has an article today by Peter Elson reporting the tragedy of Ellan Vannin 100 years ago:

IT was not a maritime tragedy on a par with the Titanic or Lusitania. But in its own way, the dreadful fate of the Manx steamer Ellan Vannin and the 36 souls who died in her, deserve to be remembered just as keenly.

Tomorrow is the centenary of this little ship’s mysterious sinking, within sight of Crosby on December 3, 1909.

with this detail:

Ellan Vannin, sailing from Ramsey, Isle of Man, to Liverpool was overwhelmed by a freak wave in one of the worst storms of the century.

A force-11 hurricane gale sent 25ft high waves crashing over Mersey Bar, where she foundered.

In the list of freaque wave encounters I compiled when I first started this blog, this case was missed from the list. The list was later published in Geofizika, 24(1), 2007 also with this case missing. Now the list has been added and an addendum to the publication will be prepared.

The case is clearly well known locally in the Liverpool, Irish Sea area. I found the following Youtube song by the Spinners:

In particular I would like to use these lines from the song:
Less than a mile from the Bar lightship,
By a mighty wave Ellen Vannen was hit.
She sank in the waters of Liverpool Bay,
And there she lies until this day.
to commemorate the tragic case caused by a freaque wave 100 years ago.

As a matter of fact, here's New York Times reporting this case on December 5, 1909:

Somehow New York Times was not very accurate with numbers even 100 years ago. There were 15 passengers and 21 crew members for a total of 36 souls as reported in Liverpool Echo above. Has New York Times ever been trustworthy?

Update 12/4/2009

This from today's Liverpool Daily Post:

IT WAS only a rose, but each blood-red bloom represented a lost soul. In all, 36 roses were cast over the side of the Mersey ferry Snowdrop to mark the deaths of 36 people lost on the Manx steamer, Ellan Vannin.

Yesterday’s remembrance service was 100 years to the day the small steamer was overwhelmed by a freak wave at the Mersey Bar.

The 21 crew and 14 passengers were sailing from Ramsey, IoM, on December 3, 1909, and witnesses saw the ship’s lights snuffed out as she foundered off Crosby.

. . .

The Steam Packet owned Ellan Vannin and, as the tragedy was the worst Manx maritime disaster, her name was never reused.

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