Researchers Seek Islanders Who Experienced Torrey Canyon Disaster

The Torrey Canyon

Islanders who remember the Torrey Canyon disaster are being asked to take part in interviews for a University of Exeter history project.

A team of researchers will be on the islands later this month to ask how residents were affected when the supertanker, carrying 120,000 tons of crude oil, was wrecked in 1967.

Researcher Jos Smith says they want to record chats with people, so called oral history, who wouldn’t usually be consulted when history is written.

He says history is normally made reflecting events from the top down whereas oral history looks at events from the bottom up.

And Jos is interested in the Torrey Canyon disaster because it was the first maritime disaster which unfolded on such a huge scale.

Jos said they want to find out how people experienced the events on the ground, particularly those who were living in Scilly, rather than just visiting.

He said that could give a very different viewpoint from what was reported in the media at the time.

The responses will go into academic papers and the interviews could be archived within the Isles of Scilly Museum.

The findings could also go into a book but that is less certain as a Torrey Canyon book is about to be published by another author.