From the Daily Mail, March 25th 1933


Man and boy blown across the Irish Sea

36-hours fight with storm

Helpless in a 14ft boat

Manoeuvre that saved their lives


After battling for 36 hours with high seas, a man and boy in a small rowing boat were blown across the Irish Sea and ran ashore at Kilkeel, County Down.

They were John E Jones, aged 25, and Thomas J Roberts, aged 15, of Tudweiliog Carnarvonshire.

At 11am on Wednesday they set out from Tudweiliog in their 14ft boat to put down lobster pots off the coast.

Before their task was completed the boy lost an oar, and they found themselves helpless in a rising sea.

A strong wind was blowing off the coast, and they were rapidly carried into mid channel.


Mr. Jones told the Daily Mail reporter “In the darkness of Thursday morning we were driven off the South Stack, Holyhead. We hailed a steamer, but it did not notice us, and we were left to the mercy of the storm”.

“We decided to take a chance and getting the boat into the direction of the wind, allowed ourselves to be driven westward” Mr Jones added that their lives had been saved by this manoeuvre.”

“At times the boat was almost filled completely with water, and we were both drenched to the skin and very cold. We had no food”.

“During the voyage across we sighted two steamers, but we were not noticed. Altogether we saw six ships, but we failed to attract their attention.

Once we took off our coats and hoisted them up, but even this was of no avail. There was a fog, and probably this was the reason why we were not noticed.”

“I baled the boat with my hat. We had almost given up hope when we saw the outline of the Irish coast, and letting the boat drift we were washed up on shore. The boat was smashed when it struck the rocky coast, but we were able to scramble ashore”.


There was great rejoicing at the little village of Tudweiliog when news arrived of the safety of the two young fishermen.

Mr Jones’s mother told a Daily Mail reporter that she did not sleep or eat during the two days her son was missing, but she never gave up hope. Mrs Roberts had despaired of seeing her son again. He recently left school, and although his parents wanted him to take a university course he insisted on going to sea.

Mr Jones and Roberts will return home today. They are expected to reach Liverpool this morning.


Many thanks to Mrs. Menna Jones for all her help.


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