Port Isaac performs in memory of SS Milly

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Port Isaac performs in memory of SS Milly
A special centenary service at the Golden Lion, Port Isaac to mark the 100th anniversary of the SS Milly, a merchant steamer sunk by German U-Boat action in World War One, is set to form the centrepiece of a day of celebration in remembrance of the entire crew and especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice for King and country.

The service, at 6pm on Thursday 6th September, will be led by the Reverend Dr Elizabeth Wild, vicar at St Endellion church, at our tenanted pub the Golden Lion in the village and will feature a performance by Port Isaac Chorale alongside a rendition of the Last Post by serving marine Commodore Jamie Miller.

While the service itself forms a fitting and sober reminder of the consequences of war, the day itself -  planned by Golden Lion landlords Marc and Beth Kendall - is designed to be a wider celebration of the contributions made by local people to the war effort.

Locals and visitors alike are welcome to come along to the pub and join in the festivities from 12 noon onwards. Beers from local microbreweries from Padstow, Tintagel, Falmouth and Goonhavern will be available for sampling as part of a micro beer festival at the pub, alongside a special Centenary ale that we've brewed for the event from which 50p from every pint sold will be donated to local charities.

Following the 6pm service, musical performances by the Port Isaac Gulls and Josh Curnow will provide an atmospheric backdrop to the celebrations in the pub.

SS Milly, a 3000-ton British steamer, was built in 1904 by Sunderland ship builders William Gray & Co. and requisitioned for war transport work in 1914. On September 6th 1918, on a voyage from Brest to Barry, the armed merchant ship was torpedoed and sunk by German U-Boat Karl Petri (UB-87) south west of Tintagel Head, with the loss of two young mariners’ lives.

Both 18-year old Mess Room Steward Robert Hocking from Mutley in Plymouth and 17 year old Deck Boy William Sydney Eaton from Cardiff are named as lost at sea on the Tower Hill War Memorial site in London but they and the rest of the crew of the SS Milly will now be properly remembered locally with the siting of a special centenary plaque at the pub, to be unveiled at the remembrance service.

As Beth Kendal commented, “The Milly is part of the fabric of Port Isaac, especially the pub with the artefacts here that have been brought ashore by divers from the wreck. While those who lost their lives are remembered at the national war memorial in London, we just felt it was the right thing to do to have them honoured here locally and for everyone to join in a celebration of their lives.”

While the hunt goes on for surviving relatives of any of the crew members of the ship itself, anyone with any connection with the SS Milly is asked to contact Beth at the Golden Lion on 01208 880336, where more information about the service and the day of celebration and remembrance can be obtained.


Additional notes:

The MILLY was a 2,964-ton cargo vessel completed as Yard No.685 in April 1904 by William Gray & Co. Ltd. at West Hartlepool and launched as the LUDWIG GROEDEL (Official No.118423) for Groedel Bros. Steamship Co., Ltd., London. She measured 325ft in length by 47ft.1in and the single screw was powered by a 276hp, 3-cylinder triple expansion steam engine that used two boilers and gave 11-knots

In 1914 the same owners renamed her MILLY

In 1916 she was sold to SS. "Elmgrove" Co., Ltd., London (Glasgow) and managed by Alexander & Mair. The MILLY was armed for defence around 1916.

She was torpedoed and sunk by UB 87, on 6 September 1918, just 2¼ miles W ¾ S of Tintagel Head, North Cornwall and 5-miles NW from Camelford at 50.39.N 05.15W, while voyaging from Brest to Barry Roads, in ballast.

The MILLY was sailing alone and proceeding on a zigzag course at 10-knots when a torpedo was sighted when only 100 yards away. The submarine had never surfaced at any time. The attack took place at 1355hrs and the torpedo struck on the port side level with No.3 hold which sank her in just five minutes. Two boats were launched, but men in the aft part of the ship found themselves in the sea since the stern went down very rapidly. Two men drowned but the survivors of the 33 crew were picked up by the SS MADAME BROOKE about 15 minutes later and were landed at Swansea. The vessel (MILLY) was a non-commissioned ship on Admiralty service. The ship's code books were thrown overboard.

The wreck lies in general at a depth of around 45m. Her gun was salvaged In August 1991 and is on display in Port Isaac at the Golden Lion pub.


Photo: Beth and Marc Kendall from the Golden Lion with son Kenton by the Milly's stern gun.