Our recent article on the Dara tragedy published in the June 2011 issue of Sea Breezes and Mr Lyons’ subsequent letter published in the July issue have sparked some considerable interest. We received numerous responses from readers, a selection of which are cited below. Thank you to everyone who took the time to write in.
THE PICTURE OF THE BURNING Dara on the June 2011 front cover of Sea Breezes was commissioned by me, the junior cadet on the ship at the time, as the frontispiece of my book, Salvage a Personal Odyssey. The book was reviewed by Sea Breezes and selected as ‘Book of the Month’.
It was dark when the senior cadet Grimwood and I turned out the lifeboat, full of passengers. Shortly after it reached the water the lifeboat capsized and I and the passengers were thrown into the sea. Artists license was taken to portray the burning ship drifting away from me in the rough weather.
I went to Dubai this year, the 50th anniversary of her loss and chartered a boat to take me out to the buoy marking the wreck where I scattered flowers in memory of those lost. In April I was invited by John Soares, the Assistant Purser at the time, and his wife Amelia, to attend a Memorial Mass in Goa in memory of the 234 dead and a Thanksgiving for those who were saved.
The following quote from the Report of the formal investigation held into the loss of the Dara dated 19 April 1962, is in response to Mr Lyons’ letter: “There seems little doubt that the explosion was that of a high explosive of approximately the type and quantity used in an anti-tank mine. In the opinion of the Court, it is practically certain that this was detonated deliberately, probably by a detonator with a time device. What individual or individuals was or were responsible for placing this explosive there was no conclusive evidence to show. It must have been sited in the port working alleyway about abreast of No 28 cabin rather nearer to the bulkhead between that cabin and the alleyway, than to the engine room casing and high up in the alleyway but below the pipes running under the deckhead”.
CAPTAIN I G TEW
52 Carrington Lane, Milford on Sea
Lymington, Hampshire, SO41 0RB
For more letters, see the latest edition of Sea Breezes Magazine
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