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Memorial Service for the crew members drowned in the Lorena tragedy

18 Jul 2013 18:03 | Deleted user
Memorial Service at All Saints Church, Brightlingsea, Essex : The Forgotten Tragedy
2pm Thursday 8th August 2013

You are invited to the unmarked graveside memorial service  for those who lost their lives in the Lorena tragedy at Brightlingsea 110 years ago, which will be led by Rev Ann Howson.


On the night of 8th August 1903, 9 crew members returning to the steam turbine yacht Lorena were rowed by 2 Brightlingsea men from the Hard out into the Colne where it was anchored. Conditions became rougher away from the sheltered Creek, and there were twice as many crowded in the dingy as should have been. 400 yards from the Lorena one stood up crying out they were sinking as water swamped the small boat.

The then current Deputy Mr W Miall Green, was aboard Yoland, another yacht moored nearby, and he took command of the immediate rescue by sending off the Yoland’s cutter towards the sound of the men’s cries. He then followed in his steam launch. Between them they managed to rescue 2 men, one from Brightlingsea & one of Lorena’s crew. (The Daily Mail two days later mentioned Miall Green as picking up the ferryman & stoker himself). Unfortunately the others could not be found.

The next morning 5 bodies were found, then in the afternoon 2 bodies were found on St Osyth shore, one was Brightlingsea man Joseph Lock. Next day another was found, then after a week the last body was found on Cindery Island.

The 8 men of the Lorena were put in one grave together, and immediately alongside Joseph Lock was buried, but no memorial was put up, and up to now, on the 110th anniversary of the tragedy it remains unmarked in the churchyard. Consequently few know of the loss of these mariners on one night at Brightlingsea, so to commemorate them and recall the quick actions of a past Deputy that saved two men’s lives, please take part in the short open air memorial service.

The names the men drowned were:
John Currie, James Douglas, Alexander Smith, John Johnson, John McGregor, Andrew Wilson, D. Wilson, F.McLaren  & the local Brightlingsea man Joseph Charles Lock  

Lorena was a large yacht (more information here), figures are published for 269 & 300 feet long, and was the fastest and to be the most luxurious steam turbine yacht to have been built at that time. She had been built in Leith and was undergoing sea trials before her final fit, her crew had boarded at Leith. She was in Brightlingsea to refuel with coal. 7 of the 8 drowned men of the Lorena are believed to have been stokers, so would have been working hard both during the speed & time trials where they achieved a cruising speed of 18 knots, and during the coal loading. The Brightlingsea man Joseph Lock who helped to row, was by profession a bricklayer, but had been assisting the coal loading of the yacht. He left a widow & 4 children.           


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