sinking in the China Sea in 1963. Glynne Pritchard kindly sent me the details. He was third mate of the Laomedon
and he wrote: "I canít remember how this came about, but on passage from Hong Kong to Singapore in bad weather but with improving visibility, the mate and I were on the bridge at morning twilight hoping to get a star fix. Sextants in hand waiting for a break in the clouds we sighted a ship with no running lights. As we got closer we discerned that she was on fire.
Call the old man, emergency drill!
Closing in on the casualty we observed two lifeboats secured to the ship by a long line.
We were able to rescue the occupants who told us that there was another boat with six crew members adrift. We alerted Naval authorities in Hong Kong and commenced a search. HMS Lion was in the vicinity and she also assisted. After a fruitless search we returned to the casualty in the late afternoon.
Later a search and rescue aircraft flew over and contacted us by Aldis lamp. I donít know if you have tried to read morse from a circling aeroplane - get Sparks on the bridge quick! The message was that the missing lifeboat had been located by HMS Lion and we could proceed on passage.
One of the crew we picked up spoke excellent English. We later learnt that he was the third mate, and the owner of the ship was his father. Thankfully no lives were lost and the National Glory
, full of firewood and scrap iron, finally sank to the bottom of the China sea. We discharged the survivors in Singapore."
The picture, taken at dawn, shows the National Glory settling in the water, with the remnants of the fire still visible. The two boats can be seen a long way astern.
The story reported in a Singapore newspaper:
[Back to Index]