In the spring of 1954 the crew of the trawler Hull City rescued eight Icelandic fishermen. Their boat, Glad VE 270 from the Westman Islands had sunk in stormy weather 24 hours earlier but the fishermen had managed to save themselves by climbing onto a rubber dinghy. A memorial shield was unveiled in Grimsby on Saturday.
The Westman Islands with Eyjafjallajökull in the background. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
All of the survivors have passed away but a group of around 30 people among their descendants traveled to Grimsby to visit James Findlater, who is 82 and the only member of the Hull City crew who is still alive, Fréttabladid reports.
Findlater received presents from the Icelandic fishermen’s relatives and a memorial service was held in his honor by the Icelandic ministers Kristján Björnsson and Steinunn Arnthrúdur Björnsdóttir in the Church of St. James in Grimsby.
The ceremony ended with a performance by the Icelandic Choir in London under the conduction of Matthildur Anna Gísladóttir.
Findlater said he remembered the events well. Upon their rescue, the Icelandic fishermen were given warm clothes to wear and a sip of rum.
This was one of the first times that a rubber dinghy had saved fishermen from drowning in Icelandic waters.
The captain of Hull City, John Searby, was so impressed that he brought the dinghy back to Britain. A few years later having safety rafts like these onboard British vessels was made obligatory, Morgunbladid reports.