On December 5, 1664, a ship sank in the Menai Strait off the coast of Wales. Of its 81 passengers, the sole survivor was a lucky fellow named Hugh Williams.
On December 5, 1785, 121 years later, another ship sank in the Menai Strait. All 60 souls aboard perished… except one. His name was Hugh Williams.
On December August 5, 1820, 35 years later, yet another ship, a small 25-passenger vessel, sank in the Menai Strait. Once again, there was only one survivor. And once again, his name was Hugh Williams.
So if you’re ever going sailing in Wales on December 5, I won’t be offended if you forget to invite me.
- Cliffe, Charles Frederick. The Book of North Wales, p. 155. London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1851.
- Coghlan, Francis. Guide to North Wales, p. 69. London: Simpkin, Marshall & Co., 1860.
NB: There are many versions of this story in circulation that have all three events taking place on December 5; I only recently found the source material that dates the third event in August, not December.
Update: apparently there is another story about a trawler going down on July 10, 1940 with two survivors… both named Hugh Williams.