Harry Eddom

There are few more dangerous occupations than that of the deep sea fisherman, a fact brought into sharp focus between January 10th and February 4th of 1968, when no fewer than three Hull trawlers were lost, claiming 58 lives, with just one survivor – Harry Eddom, First Mate on The Ross Cleveland, which was the final vessel to be lost.

This lament was written by Bill Meek, and what a haunting picture it paints.

High on the storm-torn coast of Iceland
February, sixty-eight
Ross Cleveland out of Hull lay hiding
With anxious eyes her skipper waits

Gale force twelve and the black ice building
Blinding snow and the radar gone
On the cruel rocks of Isafjord
She’ll be thrown before the dawn

Try to run for the eastern seaboard
Turn her head into the gale
Harry Eddom leaves the wheelhouse
Steps into that howling hell

Down to a grave in the icy waters
Down to a grave in the cruel sea
Over goes the good Ross Cleveland
Ten seconds to eternity

Out in a raft in the boiling water
Bitter wind cuts like a knife
Two men freeze and die beside him
As Harry Eddom clings to life

Morning comes and the raft is grounded
Three men lie as made of stone
Consciousness at last returning
One man walks ashore alone

Cold are the shores of the Isafjord
Harsh and bare the rocky crest
All day all night walks Harry Eddom
A dead man if he stops to rest

In the misty light of an Iceland morning
Over the rocks in the drifting rain
Shepherds bring poor Harry Eddom
Back from the dead to sail again