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Services mark 65th anniversary of Princess Victoria tragedy

The MV Princess Victoria Photo: PA

Today marks the the 65th anniversary of the worst peacetime maritime disaster to occur in British coastal waters, the loss of the MV Princess Victoria.

The ferry was lost in a storm on its journey from Stranraer Harbour to Larne in Northern Ireland, on the morning of 31 January 1953.

133
passengers and crew lost their lives.

Ceremonies are taking place in Stranraer and Larne to commemorate the disaster, with wreaths laid at memorials in both towns.

55-year-old Captain James Ferguson Credit: ITV Border

Dumfries and Galloway Council Leader, Elaine Murray, said the consequences of the tragedy 65 years ago are still keenly felt for those who lost loved ones:

65 years after the tragedy, the loss of the MV Princess Victoria still resonates, particularly in the towns of Dumfries and Stranraer.

As each year since, we will gather to remember those who died, pay our tributes, and offer heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved.

We still admire the valiant efforts of the crew and their fellow seafarers, who risked and in some cases sacrificed their own lives to save others.

For those who lost loved ones, whether a partner, a parent, a son or a daughter, the consequences are still keenly felt."

– Elaine Murray, Council Leader ,Dumfries and Galloway
Survivors being landed at Donaghadee, Northern Ireland Credit: PA

This year a new plaque will be unveiled to commemorate two more people who are now known to have perished in the disaster: Thomas Saunders and Gordon Wright, both servicemen, who died at sea.

Council Depute Leader, Rob Davidson, said:

It's fitting that we commemorate this tragic event each year, particularly so when we are able to confirm 2 more victims.

The severe weather of January 1953 had tragic consequences, particularly in Holland and Britain.

The storm and an unfortunate sequence of circumstances resulted in the loss of the ferry between Stranraer and Larne and the death of 133 people.

We will take a moment to respectfully remember them and think of the impact on their loved ones."

– Rob Davidson, Council Depute Leader