The Ellan Vannin Tragedy
Music and Text by Hugh E. Jones (Wee Huge Publications)

Listen to the Song - MP3 or Watch the Video

(If you enjoy this short low bitrate MP3 sample, take a look at our CD. The FULL song is featured in high quality stereo together with 19 other tracks.)

On the morning of 3rd December 1909 the SS Ellan Vannin of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co. left the Island at 01.13 bound for Liverpool. She was carrying 15 passengers, 21 crew plus mail and 60 tons of cargo. In command was Captain James Teare of Douglas with 18 years of experience. At departure the weather was not particularly rough, and though the barometric pressure was falling, the captain did not expect any trouble. As the passage progressed the weather rapidly deteriorated and by 06.35 when she arrived at the Mersey Bar the wind had increased to storm force 11 with 20 foot waves. She foundered between the Mersey Bar and the Q1 buoy on the Mersey approach channel. She filled with water and sank by the stern. All passengers and crew were lost.

Although this song is believed by many to be a traditional song from the Isle of Man, it was in fact composed by Hughie Jones, and first performed by his group "The Spinners" from Liverpool. The Spinners enjoyed considerable success during the 1960's and 70's but are now disbanded. Hughie Jones is still  performing though and has several CD's available.

Link to a "Spinners" Website

 

 

Lots more Free Music & Video - Click Here Buy the CD
 
Snaefell, Tynwald, Ben My Chree
Fourteen ships had sailed the sea
Proudly bearing a Manx name
But there’s one will never again
Oh Ellan Vannin, of the Isle of Man Company
Oh Ellan Vannin, lost in the Irish Sea
 

At one a.m. in Ramsey bay
Captain Teare was heard to say
"Our contract said deliver the mail
in this rough weather we must not fail"
Oh Ellan Vannin, of the Isle of Man Company
Oh Ellan Vannin, lost in the Irish Sea
 

Ocean liners sheltered from the storm
Ellan Vannin on the wave was borne
Her hold was full and battened down
As she sailed towards far Liverpool Town
Oh Ellan Vannin, of the Isle of Man Company
Oh Ellan Vannin, lost in the Irish Sea

With a crew of twenty-one Manxmen
Her passengers Liverpool businessmen
Farewell Mona's Isle farewell
This little ship was bound for hell
Oh Ellan Vannin, of the Isle of Man Company
Oh Ellan Vannin, lost in the Irish Sea

Less than a mile from the Bar lightship
By a mighty wave Ellan Vannin was hit
She sank in the waters of Liverpool Bay
There she lies until this day
Oh Ellan Vannin, of the Isle of Man Company
Oh Ellan Vannin, lost in the Irish Sea

Few Manxmen now remember
The third day of the month December
The terrible storm in Nineteen-nine
Ellan Vannin sailed for the very last time
Oh Ellan Vannin, of the Isle of Man Company
Oh Ellan Vannin, lost in the Irish Sea
 
 
Lyrics and Music by Hugh E. Jones - Wee Huge Publications. We would especially like to thank Hughie for giving us permission to make our version of his song available for download.