A sombre memorial service dedicated to those lost at sea was held in St George’s on Saturday (July 24).
The annual service for the Guild of the Holy Compassion was held at the seamen’s plot in St George’s Cemetery.
President of the guild, Henry Hayward, who led the opening prayers noted how important this service was to families around the world who lost loved one.
Keith Battersbee, a retired pilot warden, recounted the events leading up to the loss of the pilot gig Ocean Queen in January, 1927 off St David’s.
“The pilot gig went out in terrible weather to meet an incoming freighter,” he said.
“They managed to get the pilot on board and the crew asked if they would like to lift the Ocean Queen on board because the weather was rapidly deteriorating.
“The pilots said they would try to make it back themselves to Fort St Catherine beach where they had set out from. They were never seen again.”
He also noted that, the gig was found floating off Elbow Beach about a week later, but the men’s bodies were never recovered.
Secretary of the guild, Dr Derek Tully reflected on another tragedy when the Lloyd Bermuda was lost at sea en route to Bermuda in December,1988.
“We held a service with the survivors of Lloyd Bermuda at St. Peter’s Church in St. George,” he said.
“After the service we boarded the pilot boat St David and proceeded out of Town Cut to Kitchen Shoals to lay wreaths for the men.”
He also noted that the weather was still very bad when they set out to pay tribute to the missing seamen.
“The storm system which sank Lloyd Bermuda was still in the area and the seas were very rough, but the survivors wanted to say a special prayer and lay wreaths for their shipmates that they would never see again,” said Dr Tully.
Dr Tully concluded: “This is our way of commemorating those lost at sea who would never see their loved ones again.”
Wreaths were laid by Pilot Warden Mario Thompson, Deputy Pilot Warden Wendell Burchall Jr, shipping agents Barry Brewer and Stephen Petty.
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