HeadLine: Fate kept two pals ashore… and saved their lives
Daily Record, 13/01/2000, p5
by SHAUN MILNE
TWO regular crewmen should have been on board but stayed at home.
Charlie Boyce and James Gorman were last night struggling to understand
why they were alive and their friends were dead.
Friends said Charlie was tortured by guilt because he wasn’t with his
James, who lived in the same street as crewmate Martin Milligan, was
forced to pull out of the voyage because of illness.
A neighbour said: “He has been in hospital, he was so bad. God knows
how he must feel now.”
James spent a tearful Tuesday night at Kirkcudbright harbour with
fellow fishermen, praying for good news. He returned at home last night
but could only say:
Charlie, 26, lived yards away from Robin Mills in Whithorn. He had just
returned from holiday in America, and jetlag and a touch of the flu
kept him ashore – his friend Robin stepped in at the last minute.
He had been due to rejoin the crew in Kirkcudbright today. His rented
home was empty last night.
A close friend said: “Charlie thinks that if he had gone out on the
boat, maybe his friends may not have died. It’s really cutting him up.
“He was sitting watching the news on TV last night when he heard about
it. God knows what was going through his mind – these boys are all like
“They are as close as you can get. They spend so much time together at
sea and at home, so you can imagine what this is doing to him.
Charlie’s sister Melanie, then 16, was killed in a car crash a few
The friend said: “I don’t think his mother could have taken it if
Charlie had been on that boat. But it’s another tragedy for him to cope
The Solway Harvester was owned by local firm Jack Robinson Trawlers.
Managing Director Richard Gidney was told at 6pm that the ship was in
A company statement said: “He immediately tried the vessel’s mobile
phone, but there was no reply.”