Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Ellan Vannin: Ceremony marks Isle of Man ship tragedy

An artists impression of the Ellan Vannin
Image caption An artists impression of the Ellan Vannin courtesy of Manx National Heritage

A quayside service is being held in the north of the Isle of Man to mark the sinking of the SS Ellan Vannin, more than a century ago.

The Steam Packet ship sank in ferocious waters near Liverpool after leaving Ramsey on 3 December 1909, losing all 21 crew and 14 passengers.

The service will take place at the spot where the ship set sail for England.

Organiser James Douglas said the names of each of the people killed will be read out as part of the ceremony.

He added: "For the people of the Isle of Man, The Ellan Vannin disaster was almost equal to that of the sinking of the Titanic - 35 people just vanished that night and we want to remember each and every one of them."

Charles Guard, from the Manx Heritage Foundation, told the BBC Isle of Man the SS Ellan Vannin went down in one of the worst storms of the century.

Image caption Captain James Teare did not anticipate any problems during the voyage

"The waves were over 25ft and the winds were well in excess of 80mph - they were impossible conditions and a confluence of the most extraordinary circumstances that very few boats of the time would have survived.

"The crew were top class and the much respected Captain James Teare managed to get her across the Irish Sea in terrible conditions. But what happened in the quarter of an hour between 0630 GMT and 0645 GMT, was to result in the worst shipping disaster the Isle of Man had ever had to deal with."

The Ellan Vannin memorial, which is open to everyone, will be held at 1830 GMT on 3 December and will be followed by a 45-minute church service at Our Lady Star of the Sea church in Ramsey.

Wreaths will be laid at the quayside, one for the crew members and another for the passengers.

The service will include a bag-pipe recital of the song, composed about the shipping tragedy entitled Ellan Vannin.

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