Leslie TAPP Cedarbank RIP

kauvaka
18th March 2010, 08:08
For many years when attending funerals/burials at Telekava Cemetery in Nuku'alofa, Tonga I've noted a grave headstone for a Bank Line apprentice, said a prayer for him and moved on. Having been a member of this site for some months now it has been my intention to ascertain the details and post them on SN. Today I visited Telekava with the specific intention of doing just that. After a bit of searching around I found the grave. The headstone reads "Leslie Tapp Age 17 years Born Cleethorpes England 12 August 1949. Apprenticed to m/v Cedarbank. Died Vaiola Hospital 26 November 1966. Love Mum, Dad, Rodney" The reason I had a bit of a task finding the grave today was because there had been a recent burial in a neighbouring plot and there were a large number of wreaths and crosses spilling over from that grave which covered Frank Cowley, a well known part Tongan identity who was descended from an Englishman who established a bakery here well over a century ago and which is still going. Until his death he had been the Cowley patriach. Several years ago Frank told me he had been on the New Zealand coast many moons ago. Leslie's grave has been tended and there are some recent decorations and artificial flowers (fresh flowers die within hours here) on the grave probably put there by members of the extended Cowley family and with Frank being so close it is almost a guarantee Leslie will be remembered and looked after. No doubt someone will be able to elaborate on the circumstances of this young man's death, so young at 17. From his age and observations on this site of lengthy Bank Line voyages Leslie was possibly a first tripper. Tragic for his family that he should die and be buried so far from home. May He Rest in Peace

non descript
18th March 2010, 08:58
Kauvaka, thank you for the excellent and very thoughtful research on Leslie Tapp. Hopefully others with direct knowledge of the young man (as he was then) will be able to add to your thread.

Johnnietwocoats
18th March 2010, 09:26
For many years when attending funerals/burials at Telekava Cemetery in Nuku'alofa, Tonga I've noted a grave headstone for a Bank Line apprentice, said a prayer for him and moved on. Having been a member of this site for some months now it has been my intention to ascertain the details and post them on SN. Today I visited Telekava with the specific intention of doing just that. After a bit of searching around I found the grave. The headstone reads "Leslie Tapp Age 17 years Born Cleethorpes England 12 August 1949. Apprenticed to m/v Cedarbank. Died Vaiola Hospital 26 November 1966. Love Mum, Dad, Rodney" The reason I had a bit of a task finding the grave today was because there had been a recent burial in a neighbouring plot and there were a large number of wreaths and crosses spilling over from that grave which covered Frank Cowley, a well known part Tongan identity who was descended from an Englishman who established a bakery here well over a century ago and which is still going. Until his death he had been the Cowley patriach. Several years ago Frank told me he had been on the New Zealand coast many moons ago. Leslie's grave has been tended and there are some recent decorations and artificial flowers (fresh flowers die within hours here) on the grave probably put there by members of the extended Cowley family and with Frank being so close it is almost a guarantee Leslie will be remembered and looked after. No doubt someone will be able to elaborate on the circumstances of this young man's death, so young at 17. From his age and observations on this site of lengthy Bank Line voyages Leslie was possibly a first tripper. Tragic for his family that he should die and be buried so far from home. May He Rest in Peace

Oh My God...Thank you so very very much for your very kind post about Leslie. Although he came a few years after me I can imagine what it must have been like for him and his Family....

We as Bank Line Apprentices were a rare breed...We worked hard and took life as it was....Our parents entrusted us to others to look after us and I believe for the most part they did.

Sometimes tragedy befell us but we were away from home for almost four years before we were able to make decisions for ourselves.

Please take care of his Grave and if you need help please let me know as I and others would be willing to help.

Thank you again.

John Pye.....Johnnietwocoats(Smoke)

kauvaka
18th March 2010, 10:34
Thanks guys. Leslie's grave is in a section occupied mostly by non-Tongans. For the information of those not fortunate enough to live here, Tongans are usually buried in family registered plots within a cemetery. Leslie is surrounded by burials of those who have died whilst visiting or working in Tonga and generations of part-Europeans, mostly of British and German origin. On the occasions when I have visited this part of the cemetery the "one-off" expats' graves have always been maintained, presumably by decendants of those buried nearby. Christmas/New Year is the traditional time to clean up grave sites. I should say cemeteries in Tonga do not have rows of identical headstones or markers but are fairly haphazard and older graves are often defined with a surround of the old type beer bottles, neck into the sand. As a registered plot gets full, "burials" take place on top of earlier decedents within the site and a heap of sand is piled over the new grave so older burial grounds are often like hillocks. If I can hang on a few more years and other members of my wife's extended family go before me, I should get a sea view from the family plot which is on the road along the waterfront. Close to Leslie's grave there are two headstones of NZ Armed Forces personal, one a matelot. His headstone reads "NZ2764 Electrician's Mate 1st Class DJL MacDonald, Royal New Zealand Navy 28 August 1947. Age 22 years" . Must keep an eye on these and make sure they are appropriately recognised by the NZ High Commission on Anzac Day 25 April. I seem to recall several years ago seeing poppies on them so I hope that has continued.

Ben Masey
18th March 2010, 11:26
For many years when attending funerals/burials at Telekava Cemetery in Nuku'alofa, Tonga I've noted a grave headstone for a Bank Line apprentice, said a prayer for him and moved on. Having been a member of this site for some months now it has been my intention to ascertain the details and post them on SN. Today I visited Telekava with the specific intention of doing just that. After a bit of searching around I found the grave. The headstone reads "Leslie Tapp Age 17 years Born Cleethorpes England 12 August 1949. Apprenticed to m/v Cedarbank. Died Vaiola Hospital 26 November 1966. Love Mum, Dad, Rodney" The reason I had a bit of a task finding the grave today was because there had been a recent burial in a neighbouring plot and there were a large number of wreaths and crosses spilling over from that grave which covered Frank Cowley, a well known part Tongan identity who was descended from an Englishman who established a bakery here well over a century ago and which is still going. Until his death he had been the Cowley patriach. Several years ago Frank told me he had been on the New Zealand coast many moons ago. Leslie's grave has been tended and there are some recent decorations and artificial flowers (fresh flowers die within hours here) on the grave probably put there by members of the extended Cowley family and with Frank being so close it is almost a guarantee Leslie will be remembered and looked after. No doubt someone will be able to elaborate on the circumstances of this young man's death, so young at 17. From his age and observations on this site of lengthy Bank Line voyages Leslie was possibly a first tripper. Tragic for his family that he should die and be buried so far from home. May He Rest in Peace

I remember Roddy Mclean, long serving 2/E telling me about him.Roddy was cousin to Capt.J Mckenzie both from Ullapool.Roddy always visited the grave when in Nukualofa.Unfortunately both are now dead.
There was a descendent of the Dorman Longs as Burns Philp agent there and whilst he will now be dead perhaps he has left family there who may know the story!
Alternatively the Tongan MP and stevedore Joe if he is still alive will know the story.
Regards,
Ben Masey

kauvaka
18th March 2010, 21:53
Cheers Ben, was the BP agent Peter Corbett? If so he died a year or so ago about the same time Joe Mataele the stevedore died. I'll wait and see if anything comes up on SN and if it doesn't will do some sleuthing.

ian d.cameron
18th March 2010, 22:18
For many years when attending funerals/burials at Telekava Cemetery in Nuku'alofa, Tonga I've noted a grave headstone for a Bank Line apprentice, said a prayer for him and moved on. Having been a member of this site for some months now it has been my intention to ascertain the details and post them on SN. Today I visited Telekava with the specific intention of doing just that. After a bit of searching around I found the grave. The headstone reads "Leslie Tapp Age 17 years Born Cleethorpes England 12 August 1949. Apprenticed to m/v Cedarbank. Died Vaiola Hospital 26 November 1966. Love Mum, Dad, Rodney" The reason I had a bit of a task finding the grave today was because there had been a recent burial in a neighbouring plot and there were a large number of wreaths and crosses spilling over from that grave which covered Frank Cowley, a well known part Tongan identity who was descended from an Englishman who established a bakery here well over a century ago and which is still going. Until his death he had been the Cowley patriach. Several years ago Frank told me he had been on the New Zealand coast many moons ago. Leslie's grave has been tended and there are some recent decorations and artificial flowers (fresh flowers die within hours here) on the grave probably put there by members of the extended Cowley family and with Frank being so close it is almost a guarantee Leslie will be remembered and looked after. No doubt someone will be able to elaborate on the circumstances of this young man's death, so young at 17. From his age and observations on this site of lengthy Bank Line voyages Leslie was possibly a first tripper. Tragic for his family that he should die and be buried so far from home. May He Rest in Peace

Most of us take pride in still remembering our Discharge Book Number, so here’s Leslies from The National Archives
R814923 TAPP L 12/08/1949 CLEETHORPES

Anchorman
19th March 2010, 09:46
For many years when attending funerals/burials at Telekava Cemetery in Nuku'alofa, Tonga I've noted a grave headstone for a Bank Line apprentice, said a prayer for him and moved on. Having been a member of this site for some months now it has been my intention to ascertain the details and post them on SN. Today I visited Telekava with the specific intention of doing just that. After a bit of searching around I found the grave. The headstone reads "Leslie Tapp Age 17 years Born Cleethorpes England 12 August 1949. Apprenticed to m/v Cedarbank. Died Vaiola Hospital 26 November 1966. Love Mum, Dad, Rodney"

Kauvaka
Leslie came from a village called Ulceby (near Grimsby) and attended Beretun(now called Baysgarth) school in Barton onHumber, before going to Trinity House or Boulevard nautical college in Hull. Rodney was his brother. I was away at sea when he died, but believe he had a fall down the hold (I spoke to friend today who also confirms it was a fall in the hold). A funeral service was held in Ulceby church. I will try to get some more information for you and post it if I succeed.
Best regards.
Neil

kauvaka
19th March 2010, 23:41
Thanks for that Neil. The important thing is that this young fella isn't forgotten and it's clear from the state of the grave that he isn't forgotten and that some kind persons have maintained it for the past 44 years. With an ex-seafarer now buried within a couple of metres I'm sure the family of Frank will also keep Leslie's grave area tidy. Now that I know more about Leslie I'll be taking more of a personal interest too. Best wishes.

sparkie2182
19th March 2010, 23:43
Well done Kauvaka for following this up..........

The young lad could have been any one of us.

R.I.P.

Johnnietwocoats
20th March 2010, 04:54
I know first hand about an apprentice falling down a hold. Number 1 hold on the Fleetbank to be exact. In 61. I was the Senior Apprentice and the three of us were opening up a Slab Hatch cover on the Fleetbank at 0700 hours.
I have the log entry and will post it when I find it.
I know I was on the winch and the 2nd and junior Apprentices where holding on to the ropes as I lifted the slab up.......
The 2nd Apprentice had the rope wrapped around his hand and wrist (Something we were all taught never to do) and when the Slab rolled with the motion of the sea he could not let go and fell into the empty hold. Lucky for him there was a stack of loose dunnage in the hold and he fell perfectly on his back on to the dunnage.....He was injured but continued on the voyage after being looked at by a Doctor in Durban.... CH was the Master and he made both myself and the Junior Apprentice feel that we were totally to blame....This has lived with me for years and I now know that no blame should have been attached to us.
Obviously young Leslie was not so lucky...RIP
We were following the Mates orders as first job of the day....He was on the Bridge and watching and should have been watching us and the Ship's movements.
Not a nice experience but we all came out of it...I will post the official Log entry later.
Take care
JTC(Smoke)

Oz.
20th March 2010, 06:30
Well done Kauvaka !! You are a bloody good bloke to get involved the way you have, thankyou.

John Lowans
4th April 2010, 07:34
Kauvaka

I was 2nd Mate in the Cedarbank when Leslie was killed and I can confirm that his death was the result of falling into the ship's No.4 Hold. The ship was in the process of berthing at Nuku'alofa at the time and he had been securing deeptank lids in No.4 Tweendeck. He then tried to climb to the maindeck with some greasy spanners in his hand and slipped off the ladder.

I attended to Leslie in the hold and later accompanied him to hospital but it was fairly obvious that he would not survive and he died later that day.

Leslie was a first trip apprentice and this accident had a devastating effect on all the ship's crew. The people of Nuku'alofa were extremely kind and helpful to us all and organised a very moving funeral, attended appropriately by several youth groups. I find it very comforting that Leslie's grave is still visited and I thank you for it.

Kindest regards.

Johnnietwocoats
4th April 2010, 11:37
Kauvaka

I was 2nd Mate in the Cedarbank when Leslie was killed and I can confirm that his death was the result of falling into the ship's No.4 Hold. The ship was in the process of berthing at Nuku'alofa at the time and he had been securing deeptank lids in No.4 Tweendeck. He then tried to climb to the maindeck with some greasy spanners in his hand and slipped off the ladder.

I attended to Leslie in the hold and later accompanied him to hospital but it was fairly obvious that he would not survive and he died later that day.

Leslie was a first trip apprentice and this accident had a devastating effect on all the ship's crew. The people of Nuku'alofa were extremely kind and helpful to us all and organised a very moving funeral, attended appropriately by several youth groups. I find it very comforting that Leslie's grave is still visited and I thank you for it.

Kindest regards.

Hello John....
How are you and yours...
Happy Easter from Vancouver.
John Pye

John Lowans
4th April 2010, 14:22
And a happy Easter to you too, John. Good to hear from you after so many years (almost half a century in fact.)

Johnnietwocoats
4th April 2010, 18:10
And a happy Easter to you too, John. Good to hear from you after so many years (almost half a century in fact.)

And good to hear from you as well. I was just looking at an old photo taken in my parents front garden at Denise's (Daves eldest Daughter) christening.. Your wife and Dad are in it. It may be that you took the photo. I can send it to you by email if you would like.
Nice to be back in touch with you.
Take care
John
BTW it must have been horrific for you to have to attend to the young Leslie. I am glad that it was you and that we now know exactly what happened. See my story about my 2nd Apprentice falling down the hold. Better ending for him thank God.
John

PJW
5th April 2010, 20:10
I haven't seen him for a few years, but Rodney Tapp used to live in Habrough North East Lincolnshire and worked for DFDS at Nordic terminal in Immingham. I remember him telling me about his brother when I worked with him after he found out I served my time with Bank Line.

kauvaka
25th November 2010, 22:24
Today 26 November 2010 is the 44th anniversary of Leslie TAPP's death. I visited Telekava Cemetery this morning, Leslie's grave has been tended and the area around it has been raked and swept, and someone has put a couple of wreaths on Leslie's gravestone, probably those close to occupants of nearby graves, especially the COWLEY family who have Frank as Leslie's neighbour. There is now a fence with a padlocked gate around Frank's grave and Leslie's grave is within that enclosure. May He Rest in Peace

Johnnietwocoats
28th November 2010, 01:21
Today 26 November 2010 is the 44th anniversary of Leslie TAPP's death. I visited Telekava Cemetery this morning, Leslie's grave has been tended and the area around it has been raked and swept, and someone has put a couple of wreaths on Leslie's gravestone, probably those close to occupants of nearby graves, especially the COWLEY family who have Frank as Leslie's neighbour. There is now a fence with a padlocked gate around Frank's grave and Leslie's grave is within that enclosure. May He Rest in Peace

kauvaka...

Thank you very much for doing this wonderful thing.

Leslie was one of us Apprentices. Many's a time we were within a split second of falling down a Hold or Deep Tank of falling overboard when painting the outside of lifeboats when at sea....

We survived.

I have been speaking with Johnny Lowens a lot lately and he related the story to me as he was the 2nd mate when the accident happened....

RIP Leslie and God Bless

John