A CORK man whose relative was among two dozen crew members who died in a maritime disaster almost 81 years ago is appealing for others to join him in marking the anniversary of the tragedy, which was shrouded in mystery for many decades.
The SS Ardmore left her berth at Penrose Quay with a cargo of livestock bound for Fishguard in Wales on November 11, 1940, but was never seen again. Twenty-four men, including 16 from Cork, were on board.
In the days after, air and sea searches of her route came to naught but over the following weeks some wreckage and livestock were washed ashore both on the Welsh Pembrokeshire coast and on the Saltee Islands, off Wexford. One of the vessel’s lifeboats was found on the Welsh coast on November 26, and later the bodies of the captain and two crew members were found on the Pembrokeshire coast.
What caused the demise of SS Ardmore was not confirmed for nearly 60 years but it was feared she might have struck a mine.
This theory was proved correct in February 1998 when The Echo reported that the wreck of SS Ardmore had been located by divers three miles from the Saltee Islands in 183 feet of water.
The hull bore evidence of a massive explosion near the engine room.
Noel Raymond's granduncle Michael was on board the SS Ardmore and his body was one of the two crewmen found. Noel, from Dillons Cross, is appealing for others to join him in marking the occasion at the commemorative plaque on Penrose Quay.
“I’m down there every year myself on the anniversary and I’m just amazed every year that there seems to be no one who goes down to Michael Collins Bridge where the plaque is,” he told The Echo.
Noel is one of a number of surviving grandnephews and grandnieces of Michael, including Bobby Raymond, Joe Raymond, Jane Raymond Margaret Raymond and Mary Raymond. He has arranged for a priest to say prayers at the commemorative plaque on November 11 at 2:30pm and is inviting others to join him in remembering those who lost their lives on that night in 1940.
Anyone looking to make contact with Noel can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.