Seventy Years on we Remember the Maritime Tragedy at Sker Point
A service will be held at All Saints Church, Porthcawl at 3:00pm on Saturday 22nd April in memory of those lost at Sker Point seventy 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’. Crews of both vessels, forty seven in total, perished in a raging storm that swept up the Bristol Channel on 23rd April 1947.
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 seventy 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, engine power nor anchors could not 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’.
It is expected that relatives of the fateful casualties of the tragedy at Sker will travel down from the Middlesbrough and The Mumbles area to take part in the church service to commemorate those lost.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.