Old style trawler
Triple Trawler Tragedy
Forty-years-ago the whole country was shocked as three Hull trawlers were lost within three weeks of each other.
The trawlers sank with the loss of 58 lives. Only one person survived the disasters.
The first vessel to be lost was the St Romanus which went down in the north sea 110 miles off Spurn Point on the 11th January. All 20 crew members died.
Isafjord: Resting place of the Ross Cleveland
Dozens of other trawlers were also in the fjord, so the Ross Cleveland had to stay further out. The trawler was swamped by mountainous waves and sank. The last message from the skipper Phil Gay was "I am going over. We are laying over. Help me. I’m going over. Give my love and the crew`s love to the wives and families".
After the initial shock of the losses the mood in Hull turned to anger. Many of the wives of fishermen began to campaign for better safety conditions on trawlers.
Lillian Bilocca in a dockside protest
One of the leaders of this campaign was Lillian Bilocca who lived in the heart of the Hessle Road fishing community. Big Lil, as she was known, organised a 10,000 signature petition calling for reform. She led a delegation to Parliament and eventually met with the Prime Minister Harold Wilson.
A memorial service takes place at the former lock gates at St Andrew's Quay, Hull on Sunday 27th January starting at midday.
Audio and video
If you have any memories of friends or relatives who were involved or affected by what happened, you can add them to the BBC's history archive project, 'Memoryshare'.
last updated: 23/04/2008 at 09:03