I write to congratulate you on the excellence of your coverage in the January and February editions of Sea Breezes in connection with the loss of Princess Victoria. It is by coincidence that I should write on this date, 59 years after that tragic loss.
The February editorial and the material in the January edition, detailing the Stena Line move to Old House Point, Caimryan Port, were excellent. Close to my house, overlooking the entrance to Larne Harbour is a memorial to the ill-fated ship and I am glad to say this date is marked annually by a short and appropriate memorial service. This ceremony is always well attended and the Larne Town Council maintain the memorial and surroundings very well. Today’s service was conducted shortly before the commencement of this letter.
My father’s brother William McCarlie was Bosun on Princess Victoria and was one of those lost. He was born in Stranraer, made his home there and spent most of his career on the Larne Stranraer service. He was due to retire shortly after that sad day. His name appears on the memorials in both Larne and Stranraer. His brother James, my father, commenced his seafaring career on the service, aged 14 years, before going further afield.
As a further coincidence, my own son Alistair is Master on Stena Superfast 7. In that strange way of the sea, he is following in my father’s footsteps. He served his Cadetship with Bibby Line and studied in Glasgow. I travelled on Seacat from Belfast in the early 1990’s. I accompanied my friend Captain William Close and we were both keen to experience fast craft travel. Sadly he died in October last and is missed in this area.
The Cottage, 57 Bay Road
Larne, BT40 1DG