Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Fallen from aloft

I am presently trawling the archives of the Stornoway Gazette, looking for tributes to men who fell in the service of King and country during the First World War. The Gazette was not published until January 1917, meaning that the first half of the Great War was not covered. The tributes are incorporated into my WW1 tribute site "Faces from the Lewis War Memorial" (link leads to page with links to tributes).

Apart from that, I have also come across a tragic accident, in which a sailor was killed on board his ship. The Gazette reported on 4 May 1917 that the Norwegian barque Yuba had been brought in for inspection. The captain reported that he had found one of his seaman lying dead on the deck. He had gone up the rigging in the dark, and had evidently fallen from aloft. The remains were buried at Sandwick Cemetery.

I intend to visit Sandwick Cemetery to find that sailor's grave, and have also found out that the Yuba did not outlive its unfortunate crewmember for very long. German U boat U-50 torpedoed the sailing ship some five weeks later, on 7 June 1917, 110 miles north of Stornoway. The ship was reported to have been en route from Savannah (Georgia, USA) to Aarhus (Denmark). No lives were lost in the attack. The U-boat was destroyed by a mine off the Dutch island of Terschelling on 31 August 1917, with the loss of all hands.

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