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16 October 2014
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Kelly's Heroes - your replies

The lifeboat which went to the aid of the stricken ferry the Princess Victoria in 1953, lies rotting in a Donaghadee car park.

The Sir Samuel Kelly Lifeboat

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JOHN JOHNSON - July '08
DUE TO UNFORSEEN CIRCUMSTANCES I MISSED THE PRINCESS VICTORIA AND TRAVELLED TO IRELAND ON THE NEXT BOAT.
I HAD JUST RETURNED FROM SINGAPORE, I WAS IN THE R A F.
MY 21ST BIRTHDAY WAS 29TH JANUARY 1953.
MANY TIMES I THANK GOD FOR THOSE UNFORSEEN CIRCUMSTANCES.
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER THE POOR PEOPLE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES
JOHN JOHNSON
MELBOURNE

Joan Martin - July '08
I was in the pictures when the boom went off,three was the lifeboat but that night it was alot more,we all went out to see what was happening.the gales where high,the wind was strong,but there was deadly silence,old Imperal Hotel opened it doors,for anyone who by chance lived,as the emgerery service's came and went with people either dead or alive,we as kids cheered, I belive there was one solder who tied a rope round himself and jumped into the water to help save others, later the ladies of the town did a show to help raise money for the boat and give thanks to the lifeboat crew,for they where brave, this boat should be in N Ireland history book,

Albert Morrsion - Nov '06
I have been very have been very surprised by the replies to this article. Unfortunately I have moved house and only purchased a computer within the last few months. I am hoping to meet with the members of the ''kelly'' committee and get an update from them. I hope we will be able to move things along and have the [ sir samuel kelly] taking pride of place in the centre of Donaghadee where she so rightfully belongs. If I have anything to do with it she will.

George Wilson - Aug '06
Being one of the survivors from the tragedy that was the Princess Victoria, I am interested in finding out how many of us are still alive. I was returning from Germany to Derry on that fateful day to start a three week leave from the army.

Margaret O'Neill - Aug '06
Can anyone find the poem about the princess victoria which was printed in a 'North Irish' paper shortly after the disaster.

On the 31st Jan the year of '53 when
The Princess Victoria left Stranraer
to cross the Irish sea
anortherly gale was blowing and
the sea was mountains high
when the Captain sent an S.O.S.
Port Patricks tug stood by


This is all I can remember, can any one send me the whole poem???

Thank you

George Wilson - Aug '06
I was picked up by the "Kelly" from the Princess Victoria on that dreadful day. I don't get over to Ireland much but am deeply interested in the fate of the lifeboat would be interested in an update of its condition and would be happy to assist in any way I could financial or otherwise.

Margaret O'Neill U.S.A. - April '06
Can any one recall the verse about the Princess Victoria.
goes something like this:
January 31 the year was '53
when the princess victoria left stranrare?
to cross the irish sea, a northerly gale was blowing and the sea was mountains high when the captain sent an sos port patrick's tug stood by.....

I cannot remember the rest, could someone e-mail the complete and correct wording. I think it may have been published in The Irish News not long after the tragedy.

Dorothea Brown/Nelson - Mar 06
My grandfather was on the Sir Samuel Kelly lifeboat. His name was Alexander Nelson from Union Street, Donaghadee. He was also known as Kicker Nelson. If my memory serves me correctly my grandfather was bowman at the time of the Princess Victoria disaster in 1953.

Elizabeth Lowry - Jan '06
Having just returned to Manchester from a weekend with my family , which included a brisk walk around the Commons today, I was intrigued by the presence of the boat and wanted to know more, especially as there seems to be little or no interest in a memorial dedicated to the heroic actions of all those concerned with the Princess Victoria disaster on the Donaghadee side of the water, though there seems to be more knowledge on the Stranraer side. I am so pleased that I found this article and that efforts are being made to preserve the boat and wish all those involved in the venture well.
If there are fund raising events I hope they are publicised widely and that perhaps I will get to support some as I am often visiting in the summer too.
The story of the Princess Victoria has been part of my growing up as she went down just two days after my 3rd birthday,so this weekend has always been marked by stories of how awful the weather was on that fateful weekend. Thank God for the bravery of those who went out to save whom they could. I hope the Sir Samuel Kelly remains as a testimony to all of them. My Best Wishes.

Aaron R. Orr - November '05
I Lost a third cousin in the Princess Victoria. I well remember 31 January 1953, a wild and windy day in Ulster, indeed in Britain.

George Wilson - Oct '05
I would like to take this oportunity to thank the crew of the Kelly for their heroic effort in the picking up of the survivors on the afternoon of the 31 Jan 1953. I was picked up by the Kelly on that dreadful day and their bravery should never be forgotten. I would be most interested in hearing from any crew members or survivors from the Victoria.

Will Corry - Sept '05
I also remember the Princess Victoria disaster.
I was 10 years old at the time. My father took me to Donaghadee and we stood watching, quietly as the lifeboat went back out again, time and time again into those incredible seas. Years later there was a plaque unveiled at the harbour in Donaghadee. I wonder is it still there? I am sure the 'Kelly' will be given a great future.

Les Clarke - March '05
Re S. Campbell, I hope that Pink's Green is not sold. It will only be developed if it is, causing more desecration of the coastline. Leave it alone as the patch of greenery and childrens play area it is, and raise the money to refurbish the lifeboat by other means.

We need to preserve the coastline, not build on it.

Rosie - February '05
Is this the same Sir Samuel Kelly, from Ballymenoch? My grandfather was landstewart on his estate many years ago.

D. Waugh (Millisle) - February '05
As a boy I can well remember the Princess Victoria disaster, if there's anything I can do to help preserve this proud vessel I'd be more than happy to assist. I have often sailed in Watson class lifeboats and they are wonderful seagoing vessels. Good luck to the project to restore the Sir Samuel Kelly to her former glory !!!

Jeremy Weston - February '05
Great article. One point of some confusion. Maybe someone can help me. If the ship is owned by the Ulster transport museum, why is its upkeep being left to charity? Have I misunderstood this bit?

Terry Madill - February '05
As Secretary of the Belfast Titanic Society I am not suprised to see such an important artifact going to rack and ruin whilist mthousands of pounds are squandered on less deserving projects. I would pledge my personal support for the project and as a "native" of Donaghadee offer my time and energy as a Civil Engineer and Construction expert free of charge to this project.
I would be grateful if this offer could be forwarded to David Gordon.

S.Campbell - January '05
I think it's rediculous that the council haven't stepped in earlier to do something to protect this lifeboat. They're always on about bringing tourism to N.I. If they had treated this with the respect it deserves this lifeboat (part of our history ) would never have got into the state it's in. Ards Borough Council should be ashamed of themselves. Maybe when they sell off Pinks Green they'll use that money where it should be used, in Donaghadee.

Loved the photos. The one of the crew members I've seen before, Great Granda Nelson in the Royal Bar I hadn't seen. This article brought back loads of memories of stories I was brought up listening to and should be kept alive like this proud old lifeboat.

 


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