Blog | Day in the life | 1953 Mourne Lass of Kilkeel saves Star of Ulster Crew

By Tom Griffiths | 4th October 2017

The ‘Remembering when’ Series



Prompt action taken by Mr. Louis Campbell, skipper of the Kilkeel fishing boat, Mourne Lass N170 and his crew saved the lives of the crew of seven of her sister vessel, Star of Ulster, N196, which sank just off Skerries Harbour, Co. Dublin, on Tuesday night. The Star of Ulster, owned by Mr. Alec Newell, cost £10,000 to build. The crew of the Mourne Lass had tied up their boat at Skerries Harbour after the day’s fishing when they heard that the Star of Ulster was in distress.

Mourne Lass N170

“Last man off was McKnight who went below to his bunk to find his false teeth”

Within a few minutes the Mourne Lass was on her way to the Star of Ulster. They found that the boat had struck the unlit Pearch Rock about 100 yards off the harbour and was taking water rapidly. Efforts to tow her off the rock were fruitless and the Mourne Lass succeeded in removing the crew before the boat sank. Last man off was McKnight who went below to his bunk to find his false teeth.

Star of Ulster N196

Those on board were Mr. Newell, the owner; Robert Forsythe, the skipper; his brother Laurence, John McKnight, John Scott, Henry Magennis and J.H. Teggarty. Robert Forsythe, the skipper of the Star of Ulster said he had stopped the boat just off the harbour to get fish cleaned up and iced. This work was finished and they were moving in when they felt a bump. Some of the crew reported that we were holed and taking water quickly. Since we were not far off the pier we shouted for assistance and in a few minutes the Mourne Lass came alongside and got a tow rope on to our boat to pull us in, but by the time they reached us our boat was already half full of water.