Son’s memories of Ocean Maid

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A NORTH-EAST man whose father was lost at sea 50 years ago has come forward to tell his story, after spotting an article in The Buchanie about a painting.

Alex Wood (52) was just two years old when his father Stanley Duncan failed to return from a fishing trip aboard the Ocean Maid.

Stanley (28) had joined the crew at the last minute for a six day trip to Lerwick, after another crew member sustained an ankle injury.

Tragically, on January 30 1962, Ocean Maid failed to return and claimed the lives of Stanley, Skipper Alex Strachan (33) and all five crew aboard.

No trace was found of the doomed trawler until 1988.

“I was only two when my Dad died,” says Alex, who now lives in Aberdeen, “so I don’t have any memories of him. Although my brother has a collection of his belongings.”

Alex carefully flicked through a notebook, in which his father recorded all his trips to sea and his wages.

“He kept a log of all the times he was out on the boat,” says Alex, who later worked at sea himself. “He made between £15 and £50 per trip - that was a lot of money back then.”

Stanley’s sister-in-law Toods Stephen was 12 when Stanley died, and still has vivid memories of him playing his beloved accordion, and of the day Ocean Maid failed to return.

She said: “I remember meeting Sibby Bruce on the street and he told us what had happened. Stanley had replaced him after he’d hurt his ankle. Sibby died not long ago, he was really sorry about it.”

Toods lives above the house on Gadle Braes where Stanley lived with his young wife Isobel, who was pregnant with her younger son James when Stanley was lost at sea, and young Alex.

“We heard rumours that a Russian trawler had hit into Ocean Maid, but nothing was ever proven,” said Toods.