SS Persia – Centenary Remembrance

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On Wednesday 15th June 2016, almost fifty descendants and 
relations of people who died when SS Persia was torpedoed 
by U38 on 30th December 1915, gathered at Buckler's Hard 
on the bank of Beaulieu River to commemorate all those 
who died and those whose lives were irreversibly 
changed on that terrible day.

The service was conducted by Reverend John White, Parish 
Priest of Beaulieu Abbey and Saint Mary's Chapel at Buckler's 
Hard. Ralph, 4th Lord Montagu read an extract from a letter 
written from Valletta by his Grandfather, Colonel Lord 
John Montagu, telling of the sinking and the fight for 
survival in a badly damaged lifeboat which lost contact 
with the only four other lifeboats to escape the sinking.

Serving P&O Captain Alistair Clark then read Eileen Mahoney's 
poem, 'In Waters Deep' which includes the words 
'stars a constant vigil keep, for them who lie beneath the deep.'
Everyone stood to sing 'The Navy Hymn' - 'For Those in Peril on 
the Sea', accompanied by the Beaulieu Band.

The sundial memorial pictured above, made by Harriet James, was 
then unveiled by Mr Paul Ludlow, representing P&O Cruises 
and blessed by John Attenborough, Chaplain of the Port of 
Southampton, who then led prayers. After the Last Post,
and a two minute silence, Reveille was followed by wreath 
laying, led by Lord Montagu.

The words of Agnes Lees, a trainee missionary who survived 
the sinking were movingly read by a Sister of Daughters of 
the Cross, some of whom died on SS Persia.

After a final Hymn and closing prayers, those who attended 
were able to mingle and exchange information about those 
they had lost. New friendships were formed and many handshakes, 
hugs, smiles and tears.

SS Persia and all of those aboard her may be long gone, 
but they have certainly not been forgotten. 

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About wren47

In my mid-teens, I was torn between careers in the Merchant Navy and journalism and pursued both until I was offered the chance to become a deck cadet and learn the skills to become a navigation officer. On the day before I left home to join my first ship, I received another offer, this time to be apprenticed as a journalist. The die had been cast and I went to sea. Much later in life, when running a Consultancy business in Project Management, I took a sabbatical and wrote a 400 page book on those skills and was bitten by the writing bug. Better later than never!
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