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Remembering lost sailors

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Honouring the dead: the wreaths are laid at sea (Photographs supplied)

Six men who were lost off St David’s in 1927 have been honoured at a special ceremony at sea.

The men, all from St George’s — Goulrich Richardson, Irving Pascoe, Ernest Tucker, George Brangman, Edgar Smith and Robert Gibbons — were on the pilot gig Ocean Queen, which launched from Fort St Catherine Beach and was never to be seen again.

The gig was found a week later floating off Elbow Beach.

The men are honoured each year by the Guild of the Holy Compassion associated with the Missions to Seafarers.

This year they took the replica pilot off the Bermuda Islander cargo ship at Five Fathom Hole with retired pilot Harold Millett, along with J. Henry Hayward, Derek Tully of the Guild of the Holy Compassion, and Reverend David Raths of Her Majesty’s Chappell in St George’s, who conducted the ceremony, laying the wreaths with the Bermuda Islander alongside.

The Bermuda Islander then came down the channel from Hamilton and met the pilot boat and gig at Five Fathom Hole, near the area where the pilot gig was lost in 1927 with the loss of all hands.

With the Bermuda Islander standing by, Rev Raths blessed the wreaths and prayed with the pilots and guests before the wreaths were cast into the sea. The ship proceeded out to sea en route to New Jersey and the pilot boat and gig returned to St George’s.

Dr Tully, the secretary and treasurer of the Guild of the Holy Compassion, described Thursday’s event as an “amazingly beautiful ceremony”.

“Our ceremony each year reflects how close Bermudians are to the ocean,” he added.

“Every family in Bermuda has ancestors who made their living on the ocean with all of its dangers.”

Deputy pilot Warden Mario Thompson said: “This ceremony means a lot to me.

“I knew several crew members of the Lloyd Bermuda [which was lost off Bermuda in December 1988].

“The captain and several other crew members were friends of mine.”

Service at sea: pictured from left, partially hidden is seaman Marc Bean; Dr Derek Tully (Guild of the Holy Compassion); Rev David Rath (Her Majesty’s Chapel, St Peter’s, St George’s); 1st Class pilot (kneeling) Joseph (Nick) Maynard; Mr J Henry Hayward, (Guild of the Holy Compassion); Melissa Edwards; marine engine driver Jacal Minors; and deputy pilot Warden Mario Thompson.