leicester city wreck

Leicester City

Returning from northern fishing grounds the steam trawler Leicester City stranded in Hoy Sound on 22 March 1953, with loss of seven men from a crew of 18.

The Times - 23 March 1953 - 7 Dead in Wreck, Trawler Aground off Orkney

Seven men lost their lives through exposure or drowning after the 18 members of the crew of the Grimsby Trawler Leicester City abandoned their ship which ran aground on rocks in thick fog off Braebuster Hoy, Orkney, early this morning.

The Stromness lifeboat was launched and picked up four men clinging to a raft in Hoy Sound after hearing their shouts in the darkness. Nine other men, including the skipper, Osmond Johnson came ashore on the Isles of Hoy, clinging to the upturned ship's lifeboat. Two of them succumbed to exposure. The ship's mate who made a gallant effort to swim to the shore was found dead on the beach. Three other bodies were picked up later by the Stromness and Thurso lifeboats, after finding a second but empty raft, and the seventh was recovered by the Thurso lifeboat two miles from the wreck, on her way to her base.

The dead men have been identified as E. Young, Mate; G. Hill, second engineer; W. Westerman, fireman; A. Robinson and C. Hunt, trimmers; K. Nevin, deckhand; and N. Dimopoulos, radio operator. Homeward bound from the Icelandic fishing grounds, the trawler grounded on rocks 200 yards or so from the shore about a mile from the spot where the Strathelliot met with a similar fate a few weeks ago. Flares from the Leicester City were seen by crofters on Hoy, and blankets, clothes, hot water bottles and tea were brought by the islanders to the men.

Alfred Jones a deckhand from Grimsby, one of the four men landed at Stromness, stated that they were going at full speed, hoping to be home by Monday night. "We heard a terrible grinding noise as the ship ran on to the rocks. The ship's lifeboat was launched, but was overturned. Five of us clung to the raft. It was terribly cold. I saw one man, Robinson, let go and disappear. Another 20 minutes in the water and we would all have been dead. It was lucky the lifeboat crew heard us. There was another raft but I do not know what happened to her."

The Orcadian - 2nd April 1953 - Little Hope for Leicester City

There seemed little hope yesterday afternoon of salving the Grimsby trawler Leicester City which ran aground, with the loss of seven of her crew, in Hoy Sound on Sunday March 22. Mr William Jolly, shipbroker, Bridge Street, Kirkwall, Orkney, agent for Messrs Metal Industries told ‘’The Orcadian’’ : ‘’She is practically finished. The recent gales have so battered her that salvage seems out of the question’’. Mr Jolly said that the fish hold was all open, the funnel had come off, the stanchions in the wheelhouse were off and those on the foredeck stove in. only the engine room appears to be watertight. Seas have been running to funnel height at high tide,’’ he added.

Salveda in Orkney

The salvage vessel Salveda arrived in Orkney on Friday. She lay at Stromness Harbour, going out periodically to the Sound to view the position. On board were Mr Murray Taylor, senior salvage officer, who flew to Orkney on Friday, Mr Robertson, diver, and two surveyors representing the Grimsby owners.

It was only Tuesday that the Leicester City was boarded for the first time since the tragedy and that was only for half an hour. The funnel went during the heavy seas of Saturday night which wrecked the superstructure. The captain and bo’sun of the Leicester City who had remained in Hoy since the tragedy went home on Monday.