Fife fishermen killed by mine are remembered

The fishermen came from Cellardyke.
The fishermen came from Cellardyke.

A crew laid a wreath at sea on Monday night to commemorate the centenary of Cellardyke’s “greatest single tragedy” of WWI.

On August 14, 1917, skipper Andrew Henderson (53), one of the East Neuk’s most successful fishermen, was blown up by a mine 11 miles south east of St Abbs head while fishing for herring.

Lost along with him aboard the Janes were his sons Alexander (29) and Andrew (27), Thomas Boyter (55) and James Wilson (Wallace) (51) all of Cellardyke.

The fleet was being guarded by a Royal Naval vessel and the commander had just been hailed by Andrew Henderson to inform him of the mine in the drift nets when it went off.

To commemorate this tragedy The White Wing, the Scottish Fisheries Museum’s Fifie Yawl, which coincidently is also celebrating its centenary this year, laid a wreath at sea, just off Cellardyke, looking back on to the village and church where most of the crew belonged.

Aboard the White Wing was Richard Wemyss, musician and historian, who currently lives in the house that Andrew Henderson lived in 100 years ago.

The wreath will commemorate the tragedy, on behalf of the Henderson Family, and Scottish Fisheries Museum.

Richard also played the Lament To Lost Fishermen composed by himself.

He said:“It is hoped that this commemoration will be an annual event at sea to commemorate all fishermen lost during conflict while still fishing, working to feed the nation.

“There are many land-based memorials to commemorate fishermen who lost their lives in action either in the Royal Navy or other services.”

Richard believes this sea memorial is a most appropriate type of commemoration and next year he is planning to invite a small flotilla of historic vessels to attend another ceremony, this time at the site of the explosion, just off St Abbs Head.”

The mine that blew up the Janes was laid by U boat, UC42, commanded by Hans Albrecht Müller. She was lost less than a month later in an explosion of her own mines off Cork, Ireland.