Manual The Headscarf Revolutionaries: Lillian Bilocca and the Hull Triple-Trawler Disaster

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Rogers died first, and then Hewitt. For another 12 hours Mr Eddom drifted with the bodies of his crewmates. With Mr Eddom close to death, the raft was blown ashore.

The Headscarf Revolutionaries by Brian W. lavery

Recounting what happened, he believed he walked for miles seeking help before reaching a deserted cabin. He spent the night sheltering from the blizzard and was suffering from frostbite when he was found the next day. He was discovered by a year-old shepherd boy who found the mate shivering outside a boarded-up summer house. Eddom was given food and warm clothing and rested before being taken to hospital on a rescue craft.

He became headline news around the world as British newspapers scrambled for the exclusive account of his escape. But his incredible escape was bitter sweet for many and Mr Eddom struggled to cope with the lone survivor tag. Some resented his survival when so many others had been lost. Some unjustly asked if he could have done more to help others. After his initial interviews and statements, Harry Eddom never talked publicly about what happened. Just 11 weeks after the sinking of the Ross Cleveland, Harry was back at sea aboard the Ross Antares.

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Harry is now 85 and lives in Cottingham, but he has not spoken publicly about the trawler tragedy since his initial account 50 years ago. Such was their stoicism, hardy fishermen just rolled up their sleeves and headed out to sea to face what may be thrown at them. They believed companies were cutting corners to save cash and demanded a series of safety improvements be made. Led by fish factory worker Lillian Bilocca, the campaign in the wake of the tragedy took wives, daughters, sisters and mothers from Hessle Road to the House of Commons.

But while Big Lil became the poster girl for the campaign, other wives including Yvonne Blenkinsop, Mary Denness and Christine Smallbone, later Jensen, played an equally vital role. Then a cabaret singer and mother-of-three, Yvonne Blenkinsop knew the heavy price paid for earning a living at sea. Her family had gone to sea for generations and her father died after suffering a heart attack at sea with no chance of medical help.

We had another meeting that evening which attracted hundreds. It was choc-a-block. I was so engrossed in what I was doing. I was shocked and just stood there crying. But nothing like that was going to stop me. This charter demanded radio operators for all ships, better weather forecasting, training for young deckhands, more safety equipment and a mothership with hospital facilities to patrol with the fleet.

It also stated ships should also report in at least once a day. I got what I asked for. With half a century having since passed, Mrs Blekinsop has had time to reflect on the achievements of her and the other wives. Mrs Blenkinsop is the last surviving Headscarf Revolutionary and has 15 great grandchildren and six great grandchildren. Lillian Bilocca died in , aged Christine Smallbone, who became Christine Jensen, received the MBE for her services to the fishing industry in , but died a few months later.

Mary Denness retired from her job as matron at Eton College and lived on the south bank before her death in March last year. Fishing heritage group Stand has spent the best part of 30 years raising funds and coming up with designs to provide a monument to the 6, Hull fishermen who lost their lives at sea. The Environment Agency is due to carry out work on new flood defences in the area which will see the memorial dismantled and put into temporary storage.

Once that work is carried out, the memorial will be re-erected and a heritage garden will be landscaped around it. The group has installed benches and bethel boards on Hessle Road in memory of the lost men and the women who fought for safety improvements. The group plans to erect enough boards with the names of all the 6, men lost. With no grave stone to visit, these memorials provide a vital focal point for those families still grieving for their lost ones who perished at sea.

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It is now 50 years since the tragedy but it still feels like yesterday for many. Lost at sea. Kingston Peridot sails for Iceland. January 11 Icelandic trawler mate hears mayday call from St Romanus. January 20 Ross Cleveland leaves Hull. January 24 First news disclosed that St Romanus out of contact with owners for 11 days.

January 29 Several nations now in the hunt. January 29 Lillian Bilocca starts petition for better safety at sea. February 2 people pack Victoria Hall and deputation goes to meet trawler owners. February 4 Sheltering in Isafjord in hurricane force winds Ross Cleveland, heavily iced up, sinks in seconds.

February 6 Wives delegation in London for talks with Government ministers which leads to proposals for new safety measures. February 6 Ross Cleveland mate Harry Eddom found alive. February 15 Harry Eddom returns to Hull. March 8 pack Holy Trinity for memorial service. October 9 Inquiry into losses calls for new co-operation on safety issues between shipbuilders, owners and Government.

November 29 First mother ship, Hull trawler Orsino, sets sail for Iceland. Loved ones lost. We had been married a year and a half when John was lost. I was also pregnant with our second daughter. It was complete hell.

I never cried so much in my life. But John, then a sparehand, was only 19 years old when he died aboard the St Romanus.

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I heard my mum scream behind me because she knew straight away what it all meant. He got a call to fill in for the injured cook on the Kingston Peridot and he jumped at the chance - Harry Riches. Not knowing what was happening was very difficult to cope with. Sole survivor.

Moving tribute to Triple Trawler Tragedy and Headscarf Revolutionaries is returning to Hull

As the huge wave struck, he was knocked overboard and was semi-conscious. The Headscarf Revolutionaries. But during that winter of , some of the wives had very different ideas. It became my life and my job. Many men resented the fact women were fighting their cause, a man came up to me and punched me full in the face.

A lasting legacy. St Romanus Lost January 11, The movement burned brightly, but it quickly burnt out. Its leaders, Bilocca in particular, faced misogyny and condescension from parts of the media. They were also met with hostility closer to home, from within the deeply patriarchal fishing community. In the following years she was also blacklisted from working back on the docks. Bilocca took on other jobs in the city but remained justifiably aggrieved at her treatment. She died from cancer in at the age of The review of the industry ordered by Harold Wilson in early resulted in sweeping changes by the end of the year.

Your email address will not be published. Email Address. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. This story which was overlooked until for many years The Headscarf Revolutionaries was published, unfolded in a powerful narration from author and journalist and academic Dr Brian W Lavery, an authority on the trawling industry, whose book inspired the songs. And I am honoured and delighted that he did. What started as a performance ended as a heartfelt remembrance and tribute from audience and artists alike, not only for the 58 fishermen who perished in to the 6, souls who sailed from Hull never to return to this tight-knit community on the north east coast of England.