A solemn Saturday as Porthcawl remembers the Samtampa disaster …

Saturday, 15 April 2017

By Philip Irwin
in Local People

A Service will be held at All Saints Church, Porthcawl, at 3pm on Saturday, April 22, in memory of those lost at Sker Point 70 years ago.

Porthcawl’s combined rescue services, made up of Porthcawl Unit of UK Coastguard Agency, Porthcawl RNLI and Porthcawl Fire Service, together with Porthcawl Museum, will remember the tragedy of the liberty ship SS Samtampa and the RNLI’s Mumbles lifeboat ‘Edward, Prince of Wales’.

The crews of both vessels, 47 in total, perished in a raging storm that swept up the Bristol Channel on April 23, 1947.

The spokesperson for the service of remembrance, Ross Martin, a deputy launch authority at Porthcawl lifeboat ,said:?“It is almost impossible for us to imagine the conditions during that storm 70 years ago.

The Samtampa had sailed from its home port of Middlesbrough a few days earlier and entered the Bristol Channel during a storm.

“Although shelter was sought along the north Devon coast, neither engine power nor anchors could hold the vessel and she was blown across the channel towards the south Wales coast.

A distress call was made and The Mumbles lifeboat was launched into the teeth of the storm to attempt a rescue of the crew aboard the drifting ship.

“The Samtampa was washed onto rocks at Sker Point and was broken in three. Attempts to rescue the crew from the shore by Porthcawl coastguards failed due to the strength of the gale force wind.

“The Mumbles lifeboat was found upturned on Sker rocks the following morning. The crew – all from The Mumbles – had perished during the night in their efforts to save the casualties on board the Liberty ship”.

He added that it is expected that relatives of the casualties will travel from the Middlesbrough and the Mumbles area to take part in the church service to commemorate those lost.

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