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24 September 2014

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You are in: Cornwall > About Cornwall > About Cornwall > Remembering HMS Wave

HMS Wave in St Ives

Remembering HMS Wave

The propeller of an old minesweeper which ran aground off St Ives, is believed to have washed up near the town. HMS Wave broke her moorings in St Ives in September 1952. Hear memories of that day, and see pictures from the town in 1952.

In the early hours of 30 September 1952 the usual night time silence in St Ives was shattered when the minesweeper HMS Wave broke her moorings, during a heavy storm. 

HMS Wave

HMS Wave. Pic: St Ives Trust

She was holed and flooded when she went ashore on rocks at Westcott's Quay near the Arts Club. The crew were evacuated and the ship was eventually winched off the rocks by two boom-defence vessels.

BBC Cornwall has been sent pictures from the St Ives Trust Archive Study Centre. Click below to see the historic photos from 1952:

Memories of the dramatic coastal rescue in St Ives Bay in the early '50s are being revived by the discovery of what's believed to be part of the ship's propeller.

Brian Stevens was only 13-years-old at the time of the major event.

"I remember the night before it was flat calm," says Brian Stevens.

"Then at 5am a maroon went off for the coastguards, then two maroons went off which was to alert the lifeboat. So my father said to me that we'd go down and see what it is."

Hear the full story from Brian Stevens on the link below:

Norman Laity is the man who believes he's found bits of the propeller blades from HMS Wave. James Churchfield spoke to him on BBC Radio Cornwall on Monday 4 February. Hear the interview:

HMS Wave was sheltering in the bay of St Ives when stormy weather broke her anchor and forced her ashore. She ran aground with 94 crew on board but two thirds of those were forced to evacuate the vessel.

The vessel was refloated using a barrage ballon which was stuffed into the hole at low tide and partially inflated. She was then towed to Devonport Dockyard for repairs. 

Find out more about the history of St Ives at the link below:

Your memories

Ian from Redruth says:

I was about 5 years old at the time and it's one of the only memories I have from that age in my home town. Watched the men on shore heaving on the ropes at Westcotts Quay with the waves crashing over HMS Wave and breaking on the rocks and Lambeth Walk giving a dramatic backdrop to the scene.

Coming down Street-an-Pol the whole event was framed by the buildings either side which enhanced the dramatic effect. It must have been tremendously exciting for me to remember it.

Your memories

HMS Wave Disclaimer

Your memories are for use on the BBC Cornwall website and BBC Radio Cornwall.

last updated: 05/02/2008 at 14:17
created: 04/02/2008

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