22nd February 2010, 21:34
I found your very interesting site while searching for a way to get the answer to a question that has been perplexing me for some time. I have been researching the foundering of HM Gunboat Wasp on Tory Island, Co Donegal in September 1884. My initial spur was the fact that it happened near to where I was born, and then I became irritated by the number of inaccurate, exaggerated and plain wrong references on the internet. Anyway, it has now become an ongoing project that occupies a lot of my time.
Only six of the fifty-six man crew were saved, and I have found the burial sites of most of the bodies that washed ashore. What bothers me is that except for eleven, they lie in unmarked graves. In one case I have pinpointed the exact location where twelve bodies are interred, ten of these being identified. I know that this is not a war grave, but I wondered if the Navy has a policy about marking graves such as this, and who to contact. If any
site member has the answer, I would love to hear from him!
22nd February 2010, 22:16
Welcome from Lancashire - I hope you will enjoy the site.
I am sure someone will answer your query pretty quickly Jim. I am sorry I am unable to help myself.
22nd February 2010, 22:51
Welcome aboard from East Yorkshire, Jim.
Find your way around and get to know the crew.
Have a good voyage.
23rd February 2010, 02:24
Welcome aboard from the Philippines. Enjoy all this great site has to offer
23rd February 2010, 09:04
Welcome Jim to this great site. Hope you soon get the information you seek
23rd February 2010, 09:20
Greetings Jim and welcome to SN on your first interesting posting. Bon voyage.
23rd February 2010, 12:45
Welcome onboard to SN and enjoy the voyage
23rd February 2010, 14:29
As she was not on active service in terms of warfare, enemy action, etc, it is unlikely that the Navy would be inclined to make any kind of gesture of the type you seek, otherwise something would have already happened over the last 126 years.
Similarly, the CWGC would not be inclined as they were not war-related losses
Under these circumstances, other than a families and/or communities effort, the only other commemorative marking I have come across is one put up by the Shipwrecked Mariners Association, but I think that was a quite exceptional case and also involved or was influenced by a religious institution.
In the specific case that you mention, and as the vessel was undertaking a Government-instigated duty at the time of her loss, i.e. the eviction of locals from their Island, it would, in my view, be right and proper that any funding required to properly commemorate the loss of fifty seamen, should be borne by the Government whose interests they were serving when they lost their lives. However, it does not take a vivid imagination to the likely success of any Government lobbying for such a cause.
I believe that some of the crew were commemorated in their home towns (e.g. Falmouth, England) by the erection of a plaque or similar - be interesting to know whether this received any Government support.
Are the 'eleven' that you mention 'marked' in some way and, if so, in what manner and by whom? Would that be in the cemetery on Tory Island that was reserved for 'foreigners' ?
Good luck in your quest.
24th February 2010, 00:35
Thanks for all the welcoming posts. I am already feeling very much at home on Ships Nostalgia. In response to eriskay's points - No, it is not Tory Island, although the Foreigners' Graveyard does have a stone marking the grave of 8 unidentified Wasp dead,erected by I know not who. It looks a bit like the official CWGC stone in colour and shape, but does not have the insignia as in the case of the other one there, on the grave of a sailor from the Mohamed Ali El-Kebir. I'll try to attach photos.
The grave I was referring to is in Dunfanaghy Church of Ireland old Graveyard. It is not marked in any way, but probably had wooden crosses that have rotted away. I found the burial details in contemporary newspaper reports and in the church record. the latter even has a map showing the individual coffin positions in the two mass graves against the west gable wall of the old church ruin. Again, photos hopefully attached. I am intrigued by your references to memorials in GB. I am aware of one for Sub Lt. Guppy in Charles the Martyr Church, Falmouth, and that Richard Spriddle is remembered on a family headstone at Rame Head Churchyard, but if you know of others, I would love to hear about them. Many thanks for your interest.
PS: Cant upload photos - need to learn how to reduce size!!