TSMS Lakonia Disaster.1963

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Re: TSMS Lakonia Disaster.1963

Postby Edimax » Tue Jun 28, 2011 11:05 am

I have read with great interest the post about the Lakonia disaster, especially those from Gordon and Barbara. Unfortunately I have only just been able to join this web site due to my inability to understand computers, thank you to Christopher at andalucia forum team now for his help.
I was a passenger on that ill fated cruise and although only eight at the time, still have some vivid memories. I have a scrape book full of newspaper cutting taken at the time and also the book by Geoffrey Bond 'Lakonia' and David Marchbanks 'The Painted Ship' I shall endeavour to re-read these books soon as I believe Dr Riordan may be mentioned in them. I did find the following from a newspaper cutting, Daily Express Friday December 1963, 'Praise too from the ship's chaplain, the Rev. Edward Andrews, particularily for the ship's doctor. In Dublin last night he said "I cannot walk without my sticks which were in my cabin. Dr. Riordan linked me down and helped me into the lifeboat. That was the last I saw of him." ' Dr Riordan is also named as Surgeon-Commander Riordan from Bromley (reference earlier correspondence concerning his rank) on the list of British victims buried in Gibraltar. This newspaper clipping also says services were conducted in Church of England, Roman Catholic and Jewish, after which the coffins were driven to the Church of England Cathedral where buglers from the 1st Bn.Middlesex Regiment sounded the Last Post and Reveille. I do not know whether this will help with the search for a plaque?

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Re: TSMS Lakonia Disaster.1963

Postby BENIDORM » Wed Jun 29, 2011 8:21 am

Edimax,
Thank you for adding your very interesting story, and although you were very young at the time I'm sure that the incident must have left very vivid memories with you.

This story has been like completing a jigsaw for me,and every piece of information that has been added has helped me and others to have a greater understanding about the incident.

I do hope that other people ,like you, will come forward with more stories and information.

Please add more details about your experience, and of course any more information that you may discover.

I do hope that in the near future we will be able to do something about arranging for a commemorative plaque to be placed somewhere in Gibraltar.

Regards,
Gordon.

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Re: TSMS Lakonia Disaster.1963

Postby Edimax » Tue Jul 05, 2011 11:10 am

Hi Gordon
Nice to hear from you. By the way I do have a scrap book, not a scrape book ref my last message!!!

I will add my memories of the disaster when I have a little more time, I also have my late mother's account of the tradegy, again I will add an edited version.

The newspaper cuttings I have list the names of the people who lost their lives and were buried in Gibraltar, but I am not sure this will help in your search for a memorial?

Will forward any information I think relevant when I re-read the books I have, again just defeated by time at the moment.

Best wishes
Sue

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Re: TSMS Lakonia Disaster.1963

Postby Andalucia.com Editor » Wed Jul 20, 2011 6:23 pm

Dear Sue (Edimax)

Thanks for your contribution and I hope you will be able to place the information you have on this thread as it is becoming a valuable place for those interested in the disaster.

Andalucia.com is taking a keen interest and will try to facilitate some form of memorieal in Gibraltar and perhaps a memorial service on the fiftieth aniversary in a couple of years time; 23 Dec 2013.

We were able to visit the Gibraltar North Front Cementary yesterday and with the help of the superintendent found a small collection of graves.

Entering the cemetry by the second (not main) entrance canopy (just opposite the building with large painted letters Stagnetto), head north straight down the foot path for about 50m in the direction of the Airport. On the right hand side of the path you will see a tall wooden cross (not related to Lakonia but serves as a marker) just before reaching the cross and to the right (East) of the path you will find a about ten older and small graves. Some mention Lakonia others simply note the date of 23rd December 1963.

We will publish more photos on the article page shortly, but in the mean time here is a photo of one of the graves, that of Edna M Maguire http://twitpic.com/5sgkbs

(The wooden cross mentioned in the locator description above can be seen in the photo background.)

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Re: TSMS Lakonia Disaster.1963

Postby Edimax » Sat Aug 06, 2011 9:45 am

Hi Gordon and friends. I have just finished re-reading The Painted Ship by David Marchbanks. This book gives an indepth report of the passengers experiences taken from a questionnaire sent out within one week of the disaster to every known survivor to have returned to GB. (However I do not think my parents received one?) This questionnaires were sent out by Tim Hewat, executive producer at the time of Granada Televisions' World in Action series. The programme was screened on Jan 14th 1964, only 3 weeks later. The book discusses comments made on the returned questionnaires together with other facts and evidence of the ship, fire, rescue mission, aftermath, subsequents question raised and rules and regulations of the time. Very informative reading. Rather astonunded to find two copies of this book for sale on Amazon, prices £55 and £117 (!!)

Also on a web site called 'Rum Ration', obviously for Navy personel, three contributees to their forum, make reference to the Lakonia as they were on the Centuar Christmas 1963. Not sure whether Gordon would be interested in this information. Will comment soon on the book 'Lakonia' written by Geofrey Bond.
Regards, Sue

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Re: TSMS Lakonia Disaster.1963

Postby BENIDORM » Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:03 am

Sue ( Edimax) and A.Com ,
Thank you for your updates.

The 'Rum Ration' site was interesting , reading comments by other people who were involved with the incident are certainly helping me to revive memories and have a greater understanding of the tragedy.
I've not had chance to read many books about it,and I only ever really knew the details of what I was personally involved with, information onboard was very limited, and we often didn't get to read newspapers or view tv or radio reports, so it really has been a jigsaw with many missing pieces.

1964 was a very busy year for the 'Centaur', just a few weeks after the 'Lakonia' incident we were involved with the so called 'Small Wars' , including the rising of Arab insurgents in the Radfan Aden area, then the Mutiny of the African Army in Dar-es-Salam, East Africa, then to the Malaysian conflict,and during this time we lost crew members and numerous aircraft.
So although the 'Lakonia' incident was I'm sure on the minds of the crew, we didn't really have the time to reflect on it, and it is now with the power of the internet that we are able to have some answers to the many questions that have been on our minds for such a long time.

I'm sure everyone involved will welcome the idea of a plaque being dedicated on the 50 year anniversary of the landing of the victims at Gibraltar, and I would like to thank A.Com admin., for going to the trouble of visiting and giving details of the graves.
Kind Regards,
Gordon.

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Re: TSMS Lakonia Disaster.1963

Postby captsen1 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:20 pm

Hi
I was a young passenger on board the Lakonia on that fateful December night. My parents, nanny and a group of their friends were cruising to the Canaries for an extended holiday, 9 of us in total and all of from Scarborough North Yorkshire. Thankfully we all survived the ordeal and having spent the night in a leaky lifeboat were picked up by the Argentinean refugee ship Salta. We were all delivered safely to Madeira where thanks to the owners and staff at the Savoy Hotel continued on with our holiday, not returning home to the UK until mid January 1964 on board the Stirling Castle. Strangely since that night my mother refused to fly again and never did, she would only travel by sea. My parents eventually retired to Marbella living in Andalucia del Mar near to Puerto Banus. My wife and I still own the apartment and visit fairly regularly. In answer to you question I have never seen a memorial to those lost, but will keep a look out just in case. From a soldier to a sailor, thanks for coming to our rescue that night! It was a pretty terrifying experience only beaten by Afghanistan but that was to be 37 years later, the sweet smell of drying teak still brings on the memories.
Happy Christmas
John Senior ( Major ret)

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Re: TSMS Lakonia Disaster.1963

Postby BENIDORM » Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:18 am

Hello John and Welcome to the Forum.

Thank you for adding your interesting story, I have often wondered what happened to the surviving passengers, it must have been quite difficult to continue with holidays after being involved in such a traumatic event.
So another piece has been added to my jigsaw memory of the event which still has many missing pieces for me.

Noting that you come from Scarborough also made me think of what a 'small world' it is, as we lived and worked in Scarborough for many years, so I'm sure our 'paths' have probably crossed many times since..

I am now trying to collate all of then information given , so if anyone else who was involved in anyway with the 'Lakonia' tragedy happens on this site, then I would be very interested to hear more stories.
In actual years this event was a long time ago, but in my mind and memory it is still very vivid..

Best Wishes to Everyone,
Gordon...

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Re: TSMS Lakonia Disaster.1963

Postby andalucia » Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:08 pm

Members of the forum and particularly those who have contributed and taken a keen interest in this thread will be please to know that the contents of this thread and the suggestion for a memorial and ceremony to mark the 50th Aniversary on the 23 Dec 2013 has been forwarded to the Gibraltar Heritage Society who confirm that proposal it is on the agenda of their next board meeting.

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Re: TSMS Lakonia Disaster.1963

Postby BENIDORM » Tue Dec 25, 2012 10:29 am

It's very hard for me to believe that this tragic event occurred 49 years ago, in my mind it still seems as if it was yesterday.

I'm pleased to note that there is now a good chance that a memorial and ceremony to mark the 50th Anniversary will take place next December,and I hope that I will be able to attend.

I have to say that I am most grateful for the help and understanding given by the A.Com admin. regarding this matter.

Today, Christmas Day, I will spend a few quiet moments to remember this tragic event.

Kind Regards to Everyone,
Gordon.

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Re: TSMS Lakonia Disaster.1963

Postby andalucia » Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:52 pm

Dear Benidorm and all members of the forum

We are pleased to announce that the board of Gibraltar Heritage Trust have approved the proposal for the unveiling a memorial plaque to the victims and to hold a short remembrance service on 23 December 2013, the fiftieth anniversary of the tragedy.

We will post more details as soon as they are available.

Those who have closely followed this remarkable thread, which is the inspiration for the anniversary events next December are warmly invited to attend.

Andaluia.com Admin

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Re: TSMS Lakonia Disaster.1963

Postby katy » Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:13 pm

Perhaps a special invite for Benidorm who started this thread and was personally involved :idea:

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Re: TSMS Lakonia Disaster.1963

Postby BENIDORM » Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:01 am

Andalucia Admin,
Thank you for the update and I am delighted to hear that a memorial plaque will be dedicated on the 50th anniversary of the tragedy.
When I first started this thread I found it very difficult to obtain any information about the tragedy, but now there is a wealth of facts available on the internet, and there has been numerous reports in the press and other media. However I believe that this has only happened because of the assistance given by A.Com Admin. and the many forum members who gave freely of their time to research and keep me informed.
I know from the correspondence that I have received that it has also been a great help to many survivors and families of victims and of course to myself and the many people involved in this tragic event.
I must offer my sincere thanks to everyone who has been involved in achieving this remarkable result to my quest.

Katy,
Thank you for your kind and thoughtful request.

Best Wishes,
Gordon.

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Re: TSMS Lakonia Disaster.1963

Postby andalucia » Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:17 am

Thanks Benidorm and Katy,

Of course, 'guest of honour' no less.

All willl be very welcome, especially Benidorm who started the historic thread, together with others directly related to the tradgedy.

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Re: TSMS Lakonia Disaster.1963

Postby Nimrod » Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:05 pm

For all those new readers who may not be aware of Gordon's role in the Lakonia disaster you should read the very first page of this thread and you will understand his involvement.
Hope you make the ceremony Gordon :wave:

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Re: TSMS Lakonia Disaster.1963

Postby andalucia » Wed May 22, 2013 8:35 pm

Dear Benidorm and all members of the forum,

We are pleased to repport that the board of Gibraltar Heritage Trust have continued to support this project. They are organising and funding a memorial plaque. The location of the plaque will on the wall be just inside the entrance of the North Front Cemetery. A senior Gibraltar Govt person will unveil the plaque. They have asked us to suggest the wording for the memorial plaque.

They will organize the unveiling ceremony. They feel the actual anniversary (23 December) is too close to the Christmas Day, and have asked us to suggest a better date in view of those who might travel from afar. We are minded to suggesting Friday 6th December 2013 which is also a holiday weekend in Spain.

We are also considering the following complimentary activities:
A string quartet stationed in the cemetery by the graves so that attendees can (before and after the unveiling) view and pay respects at the graves
A memorial brochure printed for the occasion.
Asking Garrison library to put material relating to the tragedy on display.
A ‘TMS Lakonia’ dinner in the Rock Hotel that evening with a few speeches.

Those who have closely followed this remarkable thread, which is the inspiration for the Gibraltar anniversary event next December are warmly invited to attend and contribute ideas.

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Re: TSMS Lakonia Disaster.1963

Postby katy » Fri May 24, 2013 10:16 pm

How marvellous :) Who would have thought this would happen when Benidorm started this thread. It all sounds very good. Perhaps A.Com could do a press release to all the UK media stating how all this started. :idea:

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Re: TSMS Lakonia Disaster.1963

Postby BENIDORM » Mon May 27, 2013 3:31 pm

Admin,Thank You for your update.!

I am quite amazed at how my original requests for help with my search for information have now exceeded all of my expectations.
But without the help of the members and admin and others, I most certainly wouldn't have achieved anywhere near the results that now seem to be bearing fruition.

So I have to say a' Really Big Thank You' to everyone who has assisted with information over the years .

I really do hope to be able to attend the ceremony accompanied by my Wife and I hope that other forum members will also be able to attend.


Katy,
Thank you for your continued support, Much Appreciated :thumbup:

Kind regards,
Gordon.

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Re: TSMS Lakonia Disaster.1963

Postby Chunky Monky » Mon May 27, 2013 7:39 pm

The Lakonia was a Greek vessel, has anybody contacted the Greek Embassy to see if they wanted to send a representative?

Here's a copy of an article in The Illustrated London News of the time, I have left the images the same size as the original downloaded file as the pictures aren't all that clear. It may take a little longer to appear, I didn't want to make the files smaller and lose detail. Unfortunately the text isn't clear enough to read easily.

Image


Image

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Re: TSMS Lakonia Disaster.1963

Postby Devils Advocate » Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:11 pm

The Lakonia was a Greek vessel, has anybody contacted the Greek Embassy to see if they wanted to send a representative?


Good shout CM. After all the work A.Com has put in to this it'd be nice to see a good turnout.

Also, and I meant to mention it earlier but I was at the Battle of the Atlantic memorial event on the Mersey the other week. Whilst speaking to a lot of the veterans (and younger men) they all seem to reccomend this site for keeping in touch and posting details of events,gatherings etc..

It is free to join and the word could be spread amongst any surving members of the Centaur......you've probably thought of it already but it would be great if they knew about it at least........some may even live in Spain. Seems a shame not to let them know when this free facility is there :thumbup:

Great result A.com by the way.

http://www.forcesreunited.org.uk/namear ... ntaur.html
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