South West Wales

Porthcawl Samtampa sea tragedy recalled 70 years on

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Media captionSker Point sea tragedy 'a devastating event' that killed 47

A service has marked the 70th anniversary of a maritime disaster in which 47 people died.

The SS Samtampa ran aground at Sker Point, a headland in Bridgend county, on 23 April 1947 after attempting to sail through a force 11 gale.

All 39 members of crew died along with eight lifeboat rescuers sent from Mumbles, Swansea.

A service took place at Sker Point at 14:30 BST, following one at All Saints Church, Porthcawl on Saturday.

The 7,000-tonne steamer was travelling from Middlesbrough to Newport where it was due to be sold when it broke into three on the rocks.

There is a plaque and stained glass window at All Saints Church - where 12 of the crew were buried - commemorating the disaster.

After Sunday's service, the congregation walked to Sker Point, where two lifeboats similar to Edward Prince of Wales - the RNLI vessel destroyed in the rescue attempt - met them.

Image caption The wreckage of the ship, which was split into three pieces

The Awen Trust, Porthcawl Sea Cadets and the Porthcawl Shout Forum have received Heritage Lottery funding for a £45,000 granite sculpture which will go outside a new £5.5m maritime centre in Porthcawl's harbour marina.

It is hoped the 6ft (1.8m) tall monument will be ready in about five months.

The group also secured funding for educational events including a public exhibition at the Senedd called "Porthcawl's secret tragedy", which runs from Monday until 8 May.

Gary Victor, chairman of Porthcawl Shout Forum, said it was important people remembered and younger people were educated about it.

"It was a gigantic event which happened on our coast but has gradually been forgotten," he said.

Image caption A Sherman tank clearing wreckage from Sker Point

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