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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This is my first post so I'd like to say hello to everyone and I'm sure it's a happy ship. But the purpose of my 'being here' is to seek the help of members who may have witnessed a tragic incident that took place about 1957 in New Plymouth, New Zealand.

This is a plea for information from 'Liverpool Retired Merchant Seafarers'.

We publish a quarterly newsletter that keeps members up to date with local/international maritime events. We also trace the history, where we can, of events that they experienced during their sea-going days. They are encouraged to contribute their own stories of home and abroad and one such tale that was brought to our attention concerns the freighter 'British Monarch' that ended in tragedy.
It is of two young local girls swimming in the harbour at Port Taranaki in New Plymouth, New Zealand, whilst the ship was discharging her cargo of Phosphate at the quay. For some reason the girls got into trouble and called for help. At the same time two young apprentices were on deck of the British Monarch and were attracted by the girls call for assistance. Both of the boys (aged about 16) responded immediately, and without any thought for their own safety, dived in the water and made a heroic effort to save the girls. Thankfully both girls were saved, but tragically one of the apprentices was drowned and buried in a small churchyard that overlooked the harbour.
I have been given the task of finding out the boy’s name and the churchyard where he was buried. Some of our members make the occasional visit to New Zealand and if we can identify the boy’s name and church, they could make arrangements to visit the grave and give a fitting commemoration to a young and maybe forgotten hero. It could well be that the girls or their families have tended the grave over the years but we have no knowledge of this.
Therefore does anyone remember the sorrowful incident with clarity?
Can anyone identify our young hero?
Was there a mission to Seamen in Port Taranaki?
We would like to know the name of the churchyard and if it was reported in the local paper.
Any information regarding this would be much appreciated

Thanks,
Rainbow
 

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Welcome

A warm welcome Rainbow. I am sure some of our members will be able to help your quest. Please stay and enjoy the site

Fred (Thumb)
 

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This is truly a tragic & heroic story, I wish you well in your quest, the young man should be recognised for his selfless deed. (Applause) (Applause)
 

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Welcome Rainbow
Very tragic sad story keep tuned into to site im sure help will come from the members.
Bobby(glasgow).
 

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Welcome Rainbow, interesting story and sad, keep us posted and give us a bit of profile about youself as well (Thumb) (Hippy)
 

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Welcom to the site Rainbow. I wish you well in your quest. am sure somebody on this site will be able to help you find the answer you are looking for. we have NZ members here who may have heard of this tragic incident. good luck and thank you for goining us on SN.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the warm welcome. A few details as requested. I come from Liverpool and I'm 64 yrs of age, married 38 yrs and I've got 4 kids + 8 grandkids. I stopped going away like many others in Liverpool in the late sixties, as the demise of shipping, (passenger and cargo), was 'on the cards'. My hobbies are computers and digital photography, on a nice day I'll call a pal from our days on the Carinthia (Cunard) and we'll go out and capture the ever changing face of Liverpool (politicians and planners have wrecked this magnificent city). My involvement with Liverpool Retired Merchant Seafarers newsletter has only just started (because the editor is computer illiterate and he needed a gofer) although I've been a member of L.R.M.S. for a few years.
Hope that give you a broad picture of myself.
Thanks for askin'
Rainbow
 

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Tracing the burial ground of a young hero

rainbow said:
This is my first post so I'd like to say hello to everyone and I'm sure it's a happy ship. But the purpose of my 'being here' is to seek the help of members who may have witnessed a tragic incident that took place about 1957 in New Plymouth, New Zealand.

This is a plea for information from 'Liverpool Retired Merchant Seafarers'.

We publish a quarterly newsletter that keeps members up to date with local/international maritime events. We also trace the history, where we can, of events that they experienced during their sea-going days. They are encouraged to contribute their own stories of home and abroad and one such tale that was brought to our attention concerns the freighter 'British Monarch' that ended in tragedy.
It is of two young local girls swimming in the harbour at Port Taranaki in New Plymouth, New Zealand, whilst the ship was discharging her cargo of Phosphate at the quay. For some reason the girls got into trouble and called for help. At the same time two young apprentices were on deck of the British Monarch and were attracted by the girls call for assistance. Both of the boys (aged about 16) responded immediately, and without any thought for their own safety, dived in the water and made a heroic effort to save the girls. Thankfully both girls were saved, but tragically one of the apprentices was drowned and buried in a small churchyard that overlooked the harbour.
I have been given the task of finding out the boy’s name and the churchyard where he was buried. Some of our members make the occasional visit to New Zealand and if we can identify the boy’s name and church, they could make arrangements to visit the grave and give a fitting commemoration to a young and maybe forgotten hero. It could well be that the girls or their families have tended the grave over the years but we have no knowledge of this.
Therefore does anyone remember the sorrowful incident with clarity?
Can anyone identify our young hero?
Was there a mission to Seamen in Port Taranaki?
We would like to know the name of the churchyard and if it was reported in the local paper.
Any information regarding this would be much appreciated

Thanks,
Rainbow

Kia ora from Kiwiland, Rainbow,
I haven't heard of this episode, but then, I haven't been in New Plymouth since Oct 1957. I didn't hear anything about it at the time but I suppose it could have happened after we sailed? I have asked one of our local newspapers to help in the search and will keep in contact. I wish you well in your quest and hope it all turns out well. Vix.
 

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Re:The young heros.

I have sent an email to the shipping officer at Port Taranaki reqesting Information about the incident. There is a Seafarers centre at the port. I will also asked the local newspaper if they have any information.

I will report back when I have the information.

Regards

Blair Lagerstedt.
NZ
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
I thought I'd bring you all up to date with my inquiry. On another site that I posted the same request, a member recalls a further incident during the voyage. I didn't mention it because I didn't want to deflect interest from my objective.

Here's what I posted;

There's no doubt the lengthy voyage that the British Monarch was undertaking at that time was eventful.
It is true that the 2nd Mate fell over the wall whilst reading the log and was in the water for 9 hrs. The ship turned around on discovery of him missing, found him and hauled him aboard. Lucky man and deservedly so.

The person who related the incident to L.M.R.S Newsletter (ship's radio officer) also said that 'Victoria Drummond' was the British Monarch's 2nd Engineer on that trip. This checks out with her biographer Cherry Drummond.
Here is an extract of a few of the ships she sailed in for that period;
MV Lord Canning 1956
SS Concha 1956
MV British Monarch 1957
MV Adventuress 1958
SS Grelrosa 1959-60

To further complicate matters there is a photogragh of the graveside service but a female cannot be identified in the group of mourners, all officers and men were in attendance. EXCEPT the 2nd Engineer and 1st Mate who had to stay on board to look after the ship.
Thanks for all help.
 

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Tracing the burial ground of the young hero

Today I recieved an email from the shipping officer at the Taranaki Harbour Board. He said all records for the period have been passed on. He says he remembers reading about the incident in the port records and he has given me a name to contact. I will make contact and see what the port records say.

Regards
Blair Lagerstedt
NZ
 

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Did a few phosphate runs from Oz- Naru Oz - Christmas Island on the British Monarch,(Harrisons of Clyde) this would be in 1962/63 I think,never heard that story though,she was famous for having the only female Second Engineer in the Merchant Navy serving on her at one time, but again before my time.
I did hear the story about the second Mae taking a dive off the wing of the bridge and being miraculesly picked up again but again that was brfore I joined her.
You are dead right about the length of the voyages,I did some short trips on her,PortChurchill for grain,back to Hull, a couple of times,was a bit fed up with paying off with not much coin or leave,so the Captain (Huggins a great character) says we have a BI general cargo charter ,medi ports,Red Sea Durban then back home, six months, we jumped at the chance,we did not see home again for near two years,Captain Huggins didn't do the trip he payed off sick,so he must have been laughing up his sleeve,
Happy Days
Tony D
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The response to this inquiry has been excellent. I've posted a photo of the graveside ceremony in The Photo Gallery / Members faces. It might stir a memory.
Ever grateful,
Tony
 

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Have asked for help from the New Plymouth Newspapers...haven't had a reply yet, will keep trying. Vix
 
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