Each year in January and February in Kingston-upon-Hull bereaved families from the long-gone fishing industry of the city remember those lost at sea in what was a particularly bad year, 1968, for the local trawler fishing community.
58 men died, and one person survived when three fishing trawlers sailing out of the port of Hull in January 1968 sank.
The three vessels sank within a few weeks or days of each other and highlighted the tough and sometimes brutal conditions these fishermen endured to earn a living and supply the country with fish to eat.
Changes and improvements to working conditions finally arrived but the industry was already on its knees and the British trawler industry never recovered.
The Hull vessels lost in 1968 were:
The FV Gaul is perhaps the most famous Hull vessel lost.
Constructed in 1972 the Gaul sailed out of Hull on the morning of January 22, 1974, with 36 crew on board, and sailed into a list of conspiracy theories and mysteries.
On February 8, 1974, sea conditions were dire and reports from other vessels said waves were reaching a height of between 6.5 and 9m, the wind was blowing between 7 and 10 on the Beaufort scale.
They and the Gaul were in icy cold fishing waters off Norway.
"The Gaul reported to British United Trawlers that she was "laid and dodging off the North Cape Bank" and was in touch one more but something went wrong.
The other British vessels fishing in the area were safe but the Gaul was lost and in spite of several false flags down the years and many conspiracy theories its loss remains a mystery.
In 2013 the mystery of the Gaul looked likely to be solved but it was not. We asked "Will DNA testing on bodies washed up in Russia link back to the Gaul" but the answer was no.
Theories include claims that the Gaul was a spy ship, was scuppered by the crew, was an insurance job, that the crew lived on but abroad all flourished but the mystery remains unsolved and a painful one for the loved ones of the crew.
Locally most people know at least one person, closely or indirectly that was lost at sea. My late grandfather died in 1941 on a merchant navy vessel that was sunk by a German U boat.
My late father-in-law worked on Icelandic fishing trawlers that sailed out of Hull until around 1962 when a winch slipped on board while working off Iceland and severed all the fingers of one of his hands
Hull has or should that be had a proud tradition and history as seafarers.
Each year a memorial service is held locally.
No trace of the Gaul has ever been found.
As a child news of missing trawlers was nothing unusual. With no direct links to the seamen back then it was just 'the news'.
To people like my in-laws it was hold-your-breath-news.
May they all rest in peace
Telegraph - Gaul trawler sunk by wave not submarine
The Gaul Blogspot
[The video below asks do the British government have something to hide?]
On this Day in History
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