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17 posts :: Page 1 of 3
By: silvo (offline)  Monday, 07 July 2008 (Read 22348 times)  

I'm very excited about my trip to Islay in October. I have a very keen interest in the wreck of HMS Otranto as my Great Grandfather was one of the British crew who died when the ship sank. I understand that there is no grave for him so his body must have been unidentified or not even recovered. I was in contact with Tim Epps a few years ago and he very kindly gave me lots of information about the ship. I have tried to contact him recently. I was hoping to dive the wreck but having no experience of diving (and not being a very competent swimmer anyway!) and seeing some reports of experienced divers having difficulty themselves, I am anticipating that I may not be successful in doing this. I would love to see some of the material that has been recovered from the wreckage and speak to anyone on the island who also has a keen interest in Otranto. I have read that in 1920 the US government ordered the bodies of the men to be exhumed and taken back to America or to the military cemetery in Brookwood. I would like to know more about this. Much of what I have read about the sinking talks about the American sailors and the British crew do not seem to be mentioned very much.

If there is anyone reading this who would be happy to share their information, photos, knowledge or wreckage artifacts with me, I would love to hear from you. I would like to make the very most of my trip to Islay as I will be travelling from the south coast of England and may not be able to visit again for a while.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

   

silvo



Registered:: 07/07/08

Posts: 3
By: Anonymous: agrewe ()  Monday, 07 July 2008  

Sorry to be frank, but if you have no experience of diving and aren't even a competent swimmer I'd strongly advise you to not even think about trying to see the actual wreck (or what's actually left of it, to my knowledge there isn't much). The waters in that area are treacherous, you really don't want to get into any trouble there. I know of swimmers who got into trouble just trying to have a paddle at Kilchoman Beach/Machir Bay and had to be rescued (they were lucky, there were some surfers about who could pull them to safety, not a regular feature).

That doesn't mean that your trip can't be a success though, just seeing the area will give you an idea of what will have happened back then. Depending on how the weather turns out when you visit in October you might experience a stormy or at least windy day which will give you a feel of how it must have been back then.

Take a walk along the beach with the waves coming in, preferably on a grey and cloudy day, not a sunny day. It does make a huge difference. Walk up the track towards Kilchiaran, which will give you a good view over the bay and an impression of the area.

I assume you have a visit to the cemetery and possibly also to the memorial on The Oa planned anyway.

You don't mention what you've read already, in case you haven't seen it my HMS Otranto & HMS Tuscania page has a bit of information with a few links to personal accounts of the disaster. The picture on the top left gives an impression of the type of day I mean above.

By: ron (offline)  Tuesday, 08 July 2008  

Quote by: silvo

I'm very excited about my trip to Islay in October. I have a very keen interest in the wreck of HMS Otranto as my Great Grandfather was one of the British crew who died when the ship sank.



Hi Silvo, first of all welcome to the forum. There is quite a lot of information available regarding the HMS Otranto and Diving on Islay.

Take a look at the following pages:

Otranto and Tuscania by Lord George Robertson

The Exmouth Tragedy

The Shipwrecks of Islay

These pages should give you some more information. Enjoy Big Grin

   

ron



Registered:: 06/15/06

Posts: 595
By: silvo (offline)  Tuesday, 08 July 2008  

Thank you for the replies and the advice. My hopes of diving the wreck were a bit far fetched I know. I did quite alot of investigation into it last night, spoke to a friend who is a diver, found out about the necessary courses and qualifications, and read accounts written by people who had dived the wreck and had realised that it was not going to be possible. I wouldn't have ever considered diving without an experienced diver anyway.

Thank you for telling me the places to visit and giving me the links to the websites. I've read some information on the web but may not have seen those sites so will have a good look.

   

silvo



Registered:: 07/07/08

Posts: 3
By: Anonymous: agrewe ()  Tuesday, 08 July 2008  

My hopes of diving the wreck were a bit far fetched I know. [...] I wouldn't have ever considered diving without an experienced diver anyway.



I think it's really nice to read this, it sounds like you're realistic about this and have done some proper research. There are far too many people who don't do that and believe they can do something they're not really able to. Just ask the Mountain Rescue teams every year...

Just a thought: I'm planning to be on Islay in October for a week (the week before the clocks go back), should you be there during that week I might be able to show you some of the places I've mentioned above. I'll be staying in that area anyway.

By: mags (offline)  Tuesday, 08 July 2008  

Dear Silvo,
It is also worth visiting the Museum of Islay Life in Port Charlotte. I think they may still be open until the end of October. I hope you manage to get more information on your grand father. What a project.
I am also on Islay from 18th October so if you and agrewe let me have your car regs. and makes (If you are going by car!!) I will look out for you and wave!! Mags

   

mags



Registered:: 06/03/07

Posts: 41
By: Anonymous: agrewe ()  Tuesday, 08 July 2008  

I am also on Islay from 18th October so if you and agrewe let me have your car regs. and makes (If you are going by car!!) I will look out for you and wave!! Mags



Don't really want to publish my car registration in public, but I think this entry in combination with this entry should help you to identify my car easily enough (you can see the last two digits of the registration on the pictures, that's as far as I want to go).

Happy spotting Wink

By: mags (offline)  Tuesday, 08 July 2008  

Thanks agrewe. Very distinctive and love the Islay map on the back!!! My car is a common o` garden silver Toyota Auris but I do have a red devil on the aerial. (Just so I can find my car when I`m in crowded Manchester and the environs!!) Best wishes, Mags

   

mags



Registered:: 06/03/07

Posts: 41
17 posts :: Page 1 of 3