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13 November 2014

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You are in: Cornwall > History > Historical Events > Ardgarry Memories

The Ardgarry was carrying coal from Swansea to France

Ardgarry Memories

In 1962 the coaster 'Ardgarry' went down with all twelve hands aboard in a storm off the Lizard. More than 80 family members of sailors who died when the ship sank recently gathered together to lay a memorial stone at Kilcobben Cove in Cornwall.

Belfast-born brothers Jim and Patrick Slattery have spent the last two years trying to contact other families of the Ardgarry crew and gather them in Cornwall to commemorate their lost relatives.

Patrick and Jim Slattery lay a wreath on the water in memory of the Ardgarry's crew. Photo RNLI

Patrick and Jim Slattery lay a wreath on the water

Their father, Patrick Slattery, was the Ardgarry's steward and cook. Jim Slattery, who was 13 at the time, said they heard about his death while watching television.

"The news report was about the ship being lost. My mother said 'that's your father's ship' and ran upstairs screaming," he said.

The Ardgarry Crew Memorial service - held on Sunday, August 10th, 2008 - at Kilcobben Cove where a stone was unveiled in memory to all those that lost their lives.

The Ardgarry was making her way to Rouen in France from Swansea and was loaded with coal when she got into difficulty three miles south west of the Lands End.

The wind was gusting to force 11 when the 600 tonne ship capsized.  All 12 men on board lost their lives and were never found.

George Skellham and the washed up lifeboat

George Skellham and the washed up lifeboat

The Lizard lifeboat was launched and searched in vain for 14 hours before being forced home by the bad weather. The wreck of the Ardgarry lay hidden until two years ago when divers discovered the vessel and her bell. 

George Skellham was the resident police officer on the Isles of Scilly at the time, he remembers when the lifeboat washed up on St Mary's. Hear his interview with BBC Radio Cornwall by clicking on the link below.

Flowers were cast into the sea witnessed by families, who travelled to Cornwall from all over the world - at the end of a slipway where a lifeboat crew launched a gallant but tragically unsuccessful bid to save the crew of a ship from one of the worst storms of the 20th century.

last updated: 14/08/2008 at 12:57
created: 13/08/2008

You are in: Cornwall > History > Historical Events > Ardgarry Memories

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