Cork man appeals for people to join him in marking the 82nd anniversary of maritime disaster

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.
Cork man appeals for people to join him in marking the 82nd anniversary of maritime disaster

Noel Raymond at a plaque at Penrose Quay in Cork from where the SS Ardmore left in November 1940 and on which his granduncle Michael Raymond was a crew member. Picture: Denis Minihane.

A Cork man whose relative was among two dozen crew members who died in a maritime disaster almost 82 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.

Noel Raymond at the ceremony on Penrose Quay last year. Picture: Larry Cummins
Noel Raymond at the ceremony on Penrose Quay last year. Picture: Larry Cummins

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 wreck of SS Ardmore was 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 on Friday in marking the occasion at the commemorative plaque on Penrose Quay.

Every year on November 11 Noel visits the plaque to commemorate those who lost their lives on that ill-fated day in 1940.

Last year, he co-ordinated an anniversary event, organising a priest to say prayers at the plaque and a bagpiper to open the proceedings and had appealed to other relatives of those who died on the ship to attend.

“I would really love it if family members could make the commemoration event at the plaque again this year on Friday at 2pm” Noel said, speaking to The Echo.

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