Porthcawl Samtampa sea tragedy recalled 70 years on

Shipwrecked Samtampa

Image caption

The wreckage of the ship, which was split into three pieces

A service will mark the 70th anniversary of a maritime disaster in which 47 people died on Sunday.

The SS Samtampa ran aground at Sker Point, a headland in Bridgend county, on 23 April 1947 after attempting to sail through a force 11 gale.

All 39 members of crew died along with eight lifeboat rescuers sent from Mumbles, Swansea.

A service is taking place at Sker Point at 14:30 BST, following one at All Saints Church, Porthcawl on Saturday.

The 7,000-tonne steamer was travelling from Middlesbrough to Newport where it was due to be sold when it broke into three on the rocks.

There is a plaque and stained glass window at All Saints Church – where 12 of the crew were buried – commemorating the disaster.

After Sunday’s service, the congregation will walk to Sker Point, where two lifeboats similar to Edward Prince of Wales – the RNLI vessel destroyed in the rescue attempt – will meet them.

Image caption

A Sherman tank clearing wreckage from Sker Point

The Awen Trust, Porthcawl Sea Cadets and the Porthcawl Shout Forum have received Heritage Lottery funding for a £45,000 granite sculpture which will go outside a new £5.5m maritime centre in Porthcawl’s harbour marina.

It is hoped the 6ft (1.8m) tall monument will be ready in about five months.

The group also secured funding for educational events including a public exhibition at the Senedd called “Porthcawl’s secret tragedy”, which runs from Monday until 8 May.

Gary Victor, chairman of Porthcawl Shout Forum, said it was important people remembered and younger people were educated about it.

“It was a gigantic event which happened on our coast but has gradually been forgotten,” he said.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales-39642074