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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 November 2006, 08:55 GMT
Memorial for 1916 disaster at sea
SS Connemara
There were no survivors from the Connemara
The victims of a shipping disaster in which 90 people died are being remembered in a service in Holyhead.

The SS Connemara sunk on 3 November, 1916 at the entrance to Carlingford Lough, Louth, Ireland, after being struck by the coal ship Retriever.

Only one person from both vessels survived the collision. All 30 members of the Connemara's crew were from Anglesey.

The memorial service is being held at St Cybi's Church, Holyhead, on Sunday.

The Connemara went down in stormy conditions on the night of 3 November.

The rough sea and strong wind made a collision hard to avoid
David Cave, Holyhead Maritime Museum

It was struck by the Retriever as it left Carlingford Lough, near the port of Greenore.

David Cave, secretary of Holyhead Maritime Museum, said that a nearby lighthouse had fired rockets to warn of the danger.

"Despite the attempts of the lighthouse to warn them that they were perilously close, the rough sea and strong wind made a collision hard to avoid," he said.

"It seems the retriever hit the Connemara below the waterline."

After the collision the Connemara sank within minutes, her boilers exploding on contact with the cold water

The Retriever sank 20 minutes later.


Only one person survived - Irishman James Boyle, who was a fireman on the Retriever.

He is said to have clung onto an upturned boat until rescued.

The 30 crew members and 51 passengers on the Connemara and other eight crew members on the Retriever all died.

Boyle died in 1967, but it is hoped that some of his descendants will attend Sunday's memorial in Holyhead.

There is also an exhibition in Holyhead's library to coincide with the 90th anniversary of the disaster.

David Williams from Holyhead Maritime Museum said the Connemara was one of four ships crewed by sailors from Anglesey which were lost during World War I.

He said: "We lost the other three, the Leinster, Tara and Anglia to enemy action.

"We've had a service to commemorate those lost on the Tara, but this is the first time that we've marked the loss of the Connemara."

He added that the service would also be an opportunity to re-establish links with Greenore. Up until 1950s ships sailed regularly between the two ports.

The memorial service takes place at 1430 GMT on Sunday at St Cybi's Church, Holyhead.

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16 Sep 06 |  North East Wales
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