Two Ardboe fishermen drowned


Mid-Ulster Mail – Saturday 15 October 1910

Feared fatality to fishermen

On Thursday morning two men left Ardboe to fish in Lough Neagh for pollan. They were Francis McVey, Kinturk, a married man with a family, and Joseph Hagan, Aneeterbeg. They were due to return about noon but did not turn up, and fears were felt for their safety as there was a considerable gale. The fears were confirmed in the evening after 4.00pm, when the upturned boat was observed drifting with the wind towards the Tyrone shore. Several parties at once set out, but up to the time of writing no trace can be found of the bodies of the men who have undoubtedly perished.

Mid-Ulster Mail – Saturday 22 October 1910

Sad fatality on Lough Neagh

As briefly reported in our second edition last week, two fishermen named Francis McVey, Kinturk, and Joseph Hagan, Aneeterbeg, who were out in their fishing boat on Thursday morning, did not return, and the upturned boat drifted in towards the shore during a squall in the afternoon.

An inquest was held by Mr John Malone, coroner, and the following jury – Felix Devlin (foreman), Arthur McGurk, Thomas Coyle, Peter Devlin, John Devlin, Felix Lavery, Charles Devlin, Mark Quinn, Thomas Quinn, James Devlin, Patrick Devlin, Bernard Devlin.

Francis McVey, Kinturk, son of deceased, identified the remains, and deposed his father was 55 or 56 years of age. He went out to lift nets on Thursday 15 October, about 8.30am, in the company of Joseph Hagan. The nets were about 3 or 4 miles out from the shore at Ardboe. The water was stormy. He expected them back at noon, but they did not return. Some men told him in the morning that his father’s boat was in at the shore. He did not see his father after he left until he saw the dead body on Monday. He believed they had one stone to ballast the boat. They had the sails up as they passed the Flat.

Felix Cassidy, Farsnagh, a fisherman, deposed he saw the boat about 3 o’clock at the Church Point. His brother and Peter Coyle brought in the boat. She was bottom up, and the mast was up and the sail was on. The sail appeared to be beaten around the mast, but was not fastened. He found nothing in the boat but a woollen necktie belonging to a fisherman. It was not extra wild, and there was a good number out fishing. The deceased was an expert fisherman.

Patrick Donaghy, another fisherman, deposed that on Monday when searching for the bodies of the missing men with other fishermen, they took up the body of Francis McVey with fishing hooks at a place about 2½ miles from the shore, where the water was about 14 yards deep. Deceased had his cap in his right hand. They found no trace of Hagan’s remains.

Dr Burgess deposed he made an examination of the body. There were slight scratches on the face, caused by one of the hooks. The body presented the usual appearance of drowning, and he was of the opinion that death was caused by drowning.

The jury found that deceased was accidentally drowned in Lough Neagh on Thursday 13 October 1910, and they desired to express their sincere sympathy with the relatives of the deceased.

The coroner referred to the tragic event in sympathetic terms, and intimated that he considered it would hardly be necessary to hold another inquest in the event of Joseph Hagan’s body being found.


Mid-Ulster Mail – Saturday 12 November 1910

On Tuesday the body of Joseph Hagan, one of the fishermen who lost their lives by their boat capsizing about two miles from Newport Trench, on Lough Neagh, on the 13 ult., was found on the Antrim shore, having been driven there by the previous day’s storm. The deceased was a young man and unmarried. At the inquest held on his comrade, Francis McVey, Mr John Malone, coroner, decided not to hold another inquiry when Hagan’s body would be recovered, as it was clearly proved that the both men came to their death by being accidentally drowned.

Frandy McVey pictured on his fishing-sailing boat

Sarah ‘Solly’ McVey née McGuckin (1861-1938), the widow of Frandy McVey

Faily Cassidy spotted the upturned boat from the Church Point, at the Old Cross of Ardboe. His own brother James and Tapney’s James Coyle were drowned near the same spot in similar circumstances in 1904

Tapney’s Peter Coyle (left) helped to bring the upturned boat to shore. In 1904 he was saved from drowning in a similar accident. His own brother James and James Cassidy were drowned. Peter is pictured in Cumberland, Rhode Island, in 1927 with brothers Joe and George Coleman. All three were ex-Lough Neagh fishermen

Dr Robert Burgess of Coagh (1852-1928) examined the body of Frandy McVey


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