At 1:13am in the morning of the 3 December 1909, the Steam Packet vessel Ellan Vannin set off from Ramsey harbour. It was a routine crossing and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. There was a crew of 21 and a cargo of sheep, mail sacks and furniture. Fifteen passengers also boarded the ship, including visitors returning home and Manx people setting off on their travels further afield.
Nicknamed ‘Lil Daisy’, the Ellan Vannin was the oldest vessel in the Steam Packet fleet, with a reputation for being tough and indomitable. Built in 1860, the Ellan Vannin was converted from a paddle steamer called Mona’s Isle into a twin-screw steamer and renamed in 1883. She was the oldest vessel in the Steam Packet fleet, with a reputation for being tough and indomitable. In December 1909 she had recently been joined by Captain James Teare, a veteran with eighteen years’ experience with the Steam Packet.
Halfway into the journey, the Ellan Vannin hit bad weather, with typhoon-strength gales and waves over seven metres high. It’s unclear exactly what happened, but at around 6.45am the ship ran into trouble and disappeared. There were no survivors.