The Tragic Loss of the USA Barque ‘Cuba’ on Holyhead Breakwater.

The Last Voyage of the Barque ‘Cuba’. Late in the afternoon of Wednesday, 10th November 1869 the 478 ton USA Barque ‘Cuba’, en route from New York to Dublin with a cargo of wheat, was battling a north-westerly gale of force 8 to 9 in the Irish Sea. The Master and part owner was Captain Arthur Prince from Thomaston, Maine, USA. He was accompanied by his wife Victoria Margaret Prince and their children Jennie Case Prince, aged 3, and Arthur Victor Prince, aged 6. The vessel’s crew made up the remaining thirteen on board.

Barque ‘St. Andrew’ built at Canada in 1872, passing Point Lynas, Anglesey. Of similar construction to the ‘Cuba’.

The vessel had already been at sea for 54 days battling the Atlantic and had spent the last four trying to get into the safety of Dublin Harbour. However this was not to be and she was being steadily driven across the Irish Sea towards the Welsh coast. With dark skies, raging seas and very limited visibility Captain Prince decided to give up trying for Dublin and to make for the safety of Holyhead’s Harbour of Refuge. However he had not been to the port before. He consulted his charts with the Chief Mate after passing the South and North Stacks but neither of them seemed familiar with the approach to the harbour and possibly knew very little of the breakwater.

The Great Holyhead Breakwater commenced construction in 1845 and in 1869 was nearing completion. It would be formally opened by the Prince of Wales in 1873. The breakwater snaked across Holyhead Bay for one and three-quarters of a mile. Incorporating two bends, it formed a large Harbour of Refuge. It was built on a stone mound comprising 7 million tons of rock quarried from Holyhead Mountain (Mynydd Twr). The greater quantity of stone was deposited on the seaward side of the great wall resulting, at certain states of the tide, an accessible beach of large and slippery boulders. In 1869 the lighthouse was yet to be built but a red navigation light was located at the end to warn shipping and to indicate to ship’s captains when to round the breakwater to enter the harbour. There was no other lights on the breakwater.

The construction of the Breakwater with the wall set on an immense stone mound. The Cuba would have grounded on the sloping mound on the seaward side of the breakwater.

The Tragedy. At approximately 6pm a small number of onlookers saw the barque heading for the breakwater and immediately realised that she and those on board were in immediate danger. The ‘Cuba’ struck the breakwater at the first bend. Thomas Jones from Back Bath Street, Waterside, Holyhead was one of those who saw the barque strike. He sent a boy to summon the Coastguard and he and two other men went down to the beach to provide help. At Holyhead Captain Robert Hughes of the schooner ‘Holyhead Trader’ together with John Davies, master of the ‘Grace Phillip’ of Porthdinllaen had also seen the tragedy unfold. They with some other men rowed over to the inner wall of the breakwater and with the use of ropes reached the stricken ship stranded on the outer wall.

The ‘Cuba’ struck the outer wall of the breakwater at the first bend. In 1869 there would have been more of the stone mound evident.

They had previously shouted to the crew on board the barque to keep the sails set to steady the vessel but this advice was either not heard or misunderstood and the Captain ordered the mainmast and mizzen mast to be cut away. This caused the ‘Cuba’ to heal over to seaward resulting in powerful waves breaking over the deck washing away the deck cabin and all those on board.

The efforts of the rescuers were rewarded by the saving of five of the crew. They waded into the sea to bring ashore those struggling to reach safety. Unfortunately the ship’s captain, his family and the remaining four crew were washed away and beyond help. The survivors were brought to Captain Rigby’s house at Soldiers’ Point and cared for there. The bodies of those lost were later recovered, some after a few days. Both the Lifeboat and Coastguard had set out to render assistance but could do nothing to help once the vessel had become deluged and the occupants thrown into the water.

breakwater_storm_2
Holyhead Breakwater in Storm Conditions

The Inquest. During the inquest held soon after the tragedy the surviving crew were questioned about how the vessel came to be stranded. Seaman Samuel McFee had been to Holyhead five years previously. He knew of the breakwater and the red navigation light but assumed that the captain was aware of this and able to enter the harbour safely and did not pass this information to him. He believed that Captain Prince may have become confused by two strong lights at the shore end of the breakwater causing him to adopt a course that led the barque to strike the breakwater.

The Funeral of Captain Prince, his wife (named in the Burial Records as Catherine), and two of the crew took place on Saturday, 13 November at Maeshyfred Cemetery, Holyhead. It was attended by Captain Rigby and the American Consul, Captain R R Jones. The five surviving crew members were the chief mourners. The flag draped hearse was accompanied by many of the town’s seafarers and prominent citizens.The bodies of the remaining crew and the two children were found some days later and were also interred in the cemetery. The two children were then placed at rest with their parents.

The Prince Family Grave at Maeshyfryd Cemetery, Holyhead.

The Prince Family of Thomaston, Maine, USA. Arthur Prince was born at Thomaston, Maine on 4 May 1830. His father Hezekiah Prince and his grandfather, also Hezekiah, were both very prominent citizens and businessmen of the town. His grandfather built many of the houses and churches in this area of Maine. Both were Customs Collectors of the port. At this time Thomaston (population about 3,000) was a thriving town with many successful businesses, mostly around shipbuilding. The census of 1840 recorded seven millionaires in the USA. Three of these were Sea Captains residing at Thomaston, having made their money from maritime trade and shipbuilding.

Arthur Prince went to sea at the age of 14 as a Cabin Boy. He gained experience and responsibility and became, by all accounts, a very able and sucessful ship’s captain. For a time he left the sea and eventually went into the insurance business. He married Victoria Margaret Harrinton of nearby Rockland in April 1856. A son, Frank Dwight Prince, was born in May 1858. A further son, Arthur Victor Prince, in August 1863 and a daughter, Jennie Case Prince, was born in September 1866. In March 1868 Arthur and Victoria Prince divorced but then remarried in November of the same year at Boston. Arthur was then employed as an Insurance Agent.

In 1869 he returned to the sea and took command of the Cuba, a three-masted barque built at Franklin, Maine in 1866. It is believed that he was part owner of the vessel. In August 1869 the Cuba arrived at New York from Havana, Cuba. Whilst at Havana six of the crew were admitted to hospital suffering from Yellow Fever. Two of them subsequently died. Sadly on the voyage to New York Captain Prince’s eldest son, Frank Dwight Prince, also succumed to the disease, aged 11. The Cuba left New York on 16 September 1869 bound for Dublin with a cargo of wheat, comprising 8,908 bags to the value of £3,000 (worth close to £500k in today’s money).

Two weeks after the tragedy the remains of the Cuba and its cargo was auctioned at Holyhead. William Williams, Builder and Contractor of Tanyrefail, Holyhead succeeded in obtaining the cargo of wheat for the sum of £283. There was doubt expressed at the time whether this would end up as a good deal for William Williams. It is interesting to note that he was the contractor who went on to build the lighthouse at the end of the breakwater. It is this lighthouse that now helps mariners navigate a safe entry into Holyhead’s Harbour of Refuge.

The Heroes. Each of the four Holyhead boatmen who waded into the crashing waves to rescue the Cuba’s crew members were rightly recognised for their bravery by the award of the Royal Humane Society ‘Bronze Medal’ – Thomas Jones, Lewis Thomas, Thomas Roberts and John Roberts. It would be good to know where these medals are now.

The Award of the RHS Bronze Medals to the Holyhead Boatmen.

The Holyhead Breakwater was built to offer a much needed Harbour of Refuge to the many ships sailing the Irish Sea. Its presence undoutably helped save many mariner’s lives. However in this instance, and also in at least 3 other recorded instances, the breakwater itself became a significant contributor to tragedy.

The wreck of the Cuba and in particular the loss of the Prince family is not a well known story. It appeared through a search in records regarding another subject. The finding of the grave at Maeshyfryd and its simple wording adds much poignancy to the story. The gravestone now lies flat among many unmarked graves. Someone took the trouble to mark their final resting place and by doing so resulted in someone else, so many years later, to ask the question – I wonder what’s the story here?

Contributed by the Editor.
© Holyhead Maritime Museum.

Painting of the Barque ‘St. Andrew’ by William Gay Yorke, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The photograph of the breakwater in storm conditions is included with the kind permission of Holyhead photographer, Alan Jones.

Information of the Prince family, including the images of both Hezekiah Princes, is from research completed by Anna Kavalec of Maine, USA.

Information relating to the wreck of the Cuba is from online searches of newpapers.

Reginald Blennerhassett Pinchin – Vaudeville Artist, Soldier and enigma.

This is the story of Reginald Blennerhassett Pinchin. He was a very colourful character who was sadly affected by mental illness. An adventurer and opportunist, he served in the armies of numerous countries, travelled the world as an entertainer and died at a relatively young age back at his birthplace of Anglesey.

Reginald Blennerhassett Pinchin, the ‘Globe Trotting ANZAC’.

He was born at Holyhead on 24th June 1887, the son of Captain John Fitzmaurice Pinchin OBE, Commodore of the LNWR Fleet at Holyhead for 12 years and distinguished Captain of HMS Scotia during WW1 and who later became Naval Consul to Norway. Captain Pinchin was himself an adventurer. During the Anglo-Egyptian War of 1882, and whilst Chief Officer of the ship that carried troops to Egypt, he decided to join the soldiers and fought with the Naval Brigade at the Battle of Tel-el-Kebir. Captain Pinchin died in 1929 at Conwy and was buried at St. Agnes Cemetery.

In 1901 Reginald was a pupil at the minor public school of Trent College in Derbyshire and may have also attended Manchester Grammar School. In 1904 he commenced an apprenticeship with the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) at the Crewe Locomotive Works. He served for a short time with the 2nd Cheshire Railway Engineers until he left the LNWR in 1908. Prior to leaving Holyhead in 1909 he took part in a number of concerts as a singer and in 1908 appeared at the King’s Theatre, Southsea as a ‘Versatile Comedian’. In 1909 he travelled to the USA and it is believed that he took part in the Mexican Wars of 1910 and in 1911 joined the US Army, but later deserted.

Private Reginald Blennerhassett Pinchin, Australian Army

In early 1914 he arrived in Australia. In September of that year he joined the Australian Army under the name of Reginald Sarsfield. He was discharged 5 months later. A daughter Winifred was born in March 1915 to Florence Lockwood, whom he later married at Tasmania in November 1917. Winifred died in May 1919, aged 4 years. Just prior to his marriage he again joined the Australian Army under his birth name. His previous occupation was then recorded as a ‘Vaudeville Artist’. Unfortunately he was discharged from the Army two months later having been declared ‘Mentally Unstable’. It would appear that he had previously spent two years in a Mental Hospital at Victoria. The photograph of him in army uniform would have been taken during one of his short periods in the Australian Army. A son Allan Reginald Pinchin was born in January 1918.

Immediately after discharge from the Australian Army he travelled to New Zealand and was accepted in the New Zealand Army. He served with them until September 1919, including 15 months in France. His discharge was then due to a medical condition affecting his eyesight. In 1920 he spent 7 months at the Seacliff Mental Hospital in New Zealand. After which he decided to recommence his career as a Vaudeville Artist, travelling to San Fransisco in 1921. He adopted the stage name of R H Sarsfield. It would seem that by this time he had abandoned his family. His wife remarried in 1920.

Reginald Pinchin as R H Sarsfield, the ‘Globe Trotting ANZAC’ at the Regal Theatre, Eastleigh, UK

He was a relatively successful, although minor entertainer, and over the next few years appeared many times in the USA, Canada and UK. He styled himself the ‘Globe Trotting ANZAC’. His act included singing, comic routines and mimicry. He also presented lectures using magic lantern slides on the scenic beauty of New Zealand and later using films to promote Canada. He appeared to be a ‘larger than life character’, very good at self promotion and creating an heroic persona for himself, making the most of his ‘war time experiences’. One of his claims was that he opened the first cinema in Ireland at Newry, County Down in 1910. (This was actually achieved the previous year in Dublin by author James Joyce). His career as a Vaudeville Artist in the UK seemed to come to an end in about 1927, undertaking most of his last performances in the south of England, stying himself sometimes as the ‘Singing Mountie’ or the ‘Irish Anzac’.

The Grave of Reginald Blennerhassett Pinchin at St. Agnes Cemetery, Conwy. The gravestone was erected by his sister Kathleen

His father died at Conwy in 1929 and he returned to the UK from Canada in March 1931, possibly residing at his sister’s home at Portsmouth. He sadly died of Pernicious Anaemia at the Valley Home Infirmary, Anglesey on 19 September 1931, aged 44, and was buried at St. Agnes Cemetery, Conwy, close to his father’s grave.

Contributed by the editor. 
© Holyhead Maritime Museum.

With thanks to Aled L Jones for the benefits of his research and the photo of Captain Pinchin. Also Rhodri Clark of History Points who first brought to our attention the grave of Captain Pinchin at Conwy – https://historypoints.org/index.php?page=conwy-grave-john-fitzmaurice-pinchin.

A Tale of Two Medals

This is the story of two medals from the First World War. Both are connected to Holyhead.

They were handed to the Holyhead Maritime Museum recently by a person with no apparent family connection to them. As can be seen they lack their medal ribbons and both show signs of wear.

Two Allied Victory Medals

They are Allied Victory Medals and show a classical figure depicting victory. They were not awarded for any specific act of bravery or valour. Over 5.7 million were issued and they can now be readily bought for a few pounds. They were issued to all personnel who served in the army, navy or airforce in a theatre of war. Those who served from the early part of the war would be awarded a set of three medals. These being the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. Those who served after December 1915 received the last two only. One distinctive feature of medals from WW1 is the recipient’s name, rank and service number is etched on the medal, a boon for any military researcher or medal collector.

1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal

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The medal that still retains its ribbon ring was awarded to Owen Hugh Jones of Holyhead. He served as Gunner 112406 in ‘A’ Battery, 385 Brigade, 57 Division, Royal Field Artillery. Unfortunately Gunner Jones was killed in action on the 9th April 1918, aged only 20.

The circumstances of his death are not entirely known. However on the day he was killed the German Army launched a powerful offensive to the north of the Somme. Early in the morning of 9th April, an intense bombardment of high-explosive and gas shells burst over British and Portugese positions on a 10-mile front south of Armentieres. By evening upwards of 8 German divisions had swept forward through thick fog and smoke. By nightfall, the line had advanced by as much as 4.5 miles. The Artillery of 57 Division were involved in resisting the onslaught and suffered from the intense return bombardment. It is probable that Gunner Jones died during this action. His body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial Panel, Belgium.

Owen was born at Llanbadrig, Anglesey on 5th July 1897, the son of Edward and Catherine Jane Jones of 12 Longford Terrace, Holyhead. His father originated from Llanfechell, Anglesey and was employed as a Railway Labourer. His mother came from Rhosberw, Anglesey. Owen joined the LNWR as a Junior Clerk on 21st July 1913 and was originally employed at Llainfair Traffic Department and then transferred to Padeswood Station, near Buckley on 20th November 1914. He left LNWR employment to join the Army on 20th October 1915.

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The other medal was awarded to Private John Elderkin of the Army Veterinary Corps (AVC). Private Elderkin was born at Oundle, Northamptonshire on 11th December 1867. He married Maria Elsie Amondsen on 1st September 1892 at Southwark, London. By 1901 they had two children and were living at Camberwell, London. He was then employed as a Carman. Two further children were born by 1911. On 26th August 1914, less than 3 weeks after the commencement of WW1, he volunteered at London to join the Northamptonshire Regiment. He gave his age as 29 although he was actually 46. After 42 days service he was discharged as being over age.

WW1 Army Veterinary Corps AVC Collar Badge
AVC Cap Badge

On 27th April 1915 John Elderkin joined the Army Veterinary Corps and served with them until he was medically discharged on 22nd March 1918. His pension record makes mention of him being 70% disabled by Chronic Asthma. It is this service that qualified him for the award of the British War Medal and Victory Medal. As a medically discharged soldier he was also awarded a Silver War Badge. In early 1919 his wife, Maria, died at Camberwell, aged 45.

His eldest son, Frederick William John Elderkin, joined the Duke of Cornwall Light Infantry in 1911. He was killed on 23rd April 1917 whilst serving with the 1st Battalion DCLI on the Western Front.

Llaingoch, Holyhead

By 1921 John Elderkin had arrived at Holyhead and lived at 29 Llaingoch with his daughter Hilda and son Herbert. Living with John was Alice Elderkin, recorded as his wife. However no marriage record can be found to confirm this.

It is not known why he brought his family from London to Holyhead since it would appear that John found difficulty in obtaining regular employment as a labourer, probably not helped by his Asthma condition. John Elderkin died at 29 Llaingoch in March 1936, age 68 and was buried at Maeshyfryd Cemetery on 10th March. It would appear that this is an unmarked grave.

John’s son Herbert Emil Elderkin (1904-1963) married Edith Warren at Holyhead in 1929. They lived at 2 Maes Cybi and had two sons, John and Herbert and a daughter, Violet Mary. John died at Holyhead in 1988 and Herbert in 1987. Violet died in 2017.

It would appear that there is no family connection between the recepients of these medals, other than they both lived at Holyhead. They have ended up together purely by chance. It is the museum’s desire to return these medals to each respective family and would be keen to hear from present day family members – maritimemuseumholyhead@gmail.com

Post Script – John Elderkin’s medal has now been returned to the family.

Photograph of Llaingoch was previously posted on ‘Holyhead, Past and Present’ Facebook Page by Phil Coombs. Exact source is not known.

Contributed by the editor.

© Holyhead Maritime Museum.

Morris Richard Ellis AM – Holyhead Hero

The Albert Medal (AM) was instituted in 1866 and awarded for saving life at sea. Before being combined with the Edward Medal in 1971 to become the equivalent of the George Cross, only 216 bronze Albert Medals had been awarded. Morris Richard Ellis of Holyhead was awarded his postumously. It was presented to his family by Queen Elizabeth II at an investiture at Buckingham Palace on 27 February 1952.

Morris Richard Ellis was born in Preston on 18 July 1926. His father, Samuel Hugh Ellis, was from Holyhead and had served with the Cheshire Regiment during WW1. He married Annie Miller from Preston in 1922. Sadly Morris Richard’s mother died during his birth and he was then brought up by his paternal grandparents, Hugh and Ellen Ellis, at 1 Arthur Street, Holyhead. From that time he was known locally as Richie. His older sister, Catherine Megan (b. 1924) went to live with her maternal grandmother in Preston.

Richie went to school at Holyhead, Kingsland Primary and Cybi Secondary. He left school in 1943 and was employed in the Post Office in Holyhead. He had been a member of the Holyhead Sea Cadets and in 1944 joined the Merchant Navy. By 1950 he was an Able Seaman serving on the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Oil Tanker, Wave Commander.

RFA Vessel Wave Commander

The Wave Commander was on a voyage from Heysham to the Persian Gulf. On 4 July 1950 the vessel was off the coast of Portugal when during tank cleaning the Bosun entered the tank to complete the cleaning by hose. The nozzle dropped from the hose into the tank and the Bosun descended to try and locate it. He was three-quarters of the way up the ladder when he was overcome by gas.

Able Seaman Morris Richard Ellis

Able Seaman Ellis went to his assistance and managed to lash the Bosun to the ladder with a rope passed down to him. In doing this he must have been well aware of the danger and risk to his own life. Unfortunately he was overcome by the gas and having lost his grip on the ladder, fell to the bottom of the tank and was killed.

The Albert Medal awarded to Morris Richard Ellis

The vessel put in to Gibraltar and his body was taken ashore. He was buried on 6 July 1950 in the North Front Cemetery in Gibraltar. The grave in Gibraltar has been tended by members of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary for many years whenever their vessels were in Gibraltar. Members of Richie’s family in Preston visited the Cemetery in 2012, and arranged for a plaque to be added to the grave. They also placed some stones collected from Rhoscolyn beach, as the Ellis family can be traced to that area.

Richie Ellis’ Grave at Gibraltar

As regards the medal – In 2002 the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Association Historical Society made enquiries through the local press in Anglesey to see if any of the family were living locally. No useful information came to light at this time although the Medal itself was in the care of relatives of Richie in Holyhead. Further enquiries were made by Chris White of the RFA Historical Society in the Preston area in 2005. This drew a response from family members of Catherine Megan Swarbrick (nee Ellis), Richie’s sister. They in turn made contact with the relatives in Holyhead and the Medal was rightly handed to them as his sister, although by then deceased, was the actual next of kin. The medal is now in the care of this side of the family.

The Royal Navy continue to pay their respects – https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2016/may/24/160524-rfa-sailors-honour-brave-comrade-in-gibraltar

Editor note – With thanks to David Winckle for the family research and also the RFA Historical Society and particularly Chris White for the free use of images and information.

Contributed by Peter Scott Roberts and David Winckle

This is part of a collection of posts telling the sometimes overlooked stories of some of Holyhead’s brave heroes.

© Holyhead Maritime Museum.

Captain Neville Riley DSO, Holyhead Scout Hero and Operation Pedestal, the Relief of Malta

Officially Frederick Neville Riley was born at Holyhead on 24 March 1896. However another source suggests that he was actually born on a Sailing Barque at Antwerp, his father Alfred Thomas Riley being Master of the vessel.

Captain Frederick Neville Riley DSO

Neville Riley was brought up at Sunrise Terrace, Gors, Holyhead and in 1909 was a member of the fledgling 1st Holyhead Scout Troop. On a Saturday afternoon in June of that year, and dressed in his new Scout uniform, he went to the aid of a 10 year old boy, Richard Robert Jones, who had fallen into the water off Mackenzie Pier whilst fishing. The rescue was witnessed by a number of people and a recommendation was made for recognition of this brave act to the Chief Scout, Major-General Robert Baden-Powell. As a result Neville Riley was awarded the Scout Silver Medal for Saving Life. He was presented with the medal in the grounds of Llys Y Gwynt at Holyhead by Colonel Pilkington.

The Silver Scout Medal awarded to Neville Riley
Scout Neville Riley with Richard Robert Jones

By 1913 Neville Riley was serving as a 17 year old Cadet on the Blue Star ship SS Broderick. We know this from a postcard sent from his mother, Mirriam. The photograph was taken by his father, probably at Penrhos.

By 1915 Neville Riley had qualified as Second Mate and by 1917 as First Mate. In 1919 he gained his Master’s Certificate for Ocean Going Vessels. He was at sea throughout World War 1 and for this he was awarded the Mercantile Marine Medal and British War Medal. His brother Ronald was employed on the clerical staff of the LNWR Marine Department when war broke out and was selected by Commander Holland to serve in the recently formed Inland Water Transport section of the Royal Engineers. He ended the war as Captain.

SS Broderick

By the time of WW2 Captain Riley had obtained his own command and in 1942 was Master of the Blue Star vessel SS Brisbane Star. This vessel, together with her sister ship Melbourne Star, were selected to be part of the relief convoy to the besieged island of Malta under the code name Operation Pedestal. Both ships were fast and ideal for a quick passage through the Gibralter Strait. In all the convoy consisted of 50 ships with 14 merchantmen heavily loaded with essential supplies the island needed to resist the Axis onslaught. The convoy set off from Scotland in early August and passed through the narrow Strait of Gibraltar on the 10th August. The Brisbane Star‘s cargo included high octane aviation fuel in cans, torpedoes, bombs, gun barrels and other materials of war. On the 13th August she was hit by a torpedo in the bow, which resulted in a large gaping hole causing the vessel to significantly reduce speed.

SS Brisbane Star

Captain Riley decided to run for the shelter of the Tunisian coast and eventually anchored off the Tunisian port of Sousse. Here the French harbour authorities declared the Brisbane Star unseaworthy and tried their utmost to detain her, but since the ship had not actually entered the harbour they were unable to enforce their declaration about the state of the ship. It has also been reported that Captain Riley had helped persuade the French Authorities not to intern his ship with ample servings of good Scotch Whisky. With Malta about 200 miles away the Brisbane Star moved away from the coast under cover of darkness, later picking up an escort of Spitfires in order to hopefully complete the last leg of the journey with some sort of protection. Valetta was reached with her cargo intact on the 14th August, the day after her sister ship, the Melbourne Star had arrived. Only 5 of the 14 merchant ships managed to reach Malta but the war materials they carried allowed Malta to continue to survive.

The damaged bow of SS Brisbane Star at Malta (IWM)

Captain Riley was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO), one of the first officers of the Merchant Navy to receive this honour for ‘seamanship, fortitude and endurance in taking merchantmen through to Malta in the face of relentless attacks by day and night from enemy submarines, aircraft and surface forces’.

Captain Riley married Jean Nicolina Ralston in 1937 and when he retired in 1962 they moved to live in Sydney, Australia. He died there in September 1979. His wife passed away in February 1992.

Contributed by Barry Hillier and Mark Bertorelli whose postcard was the starting point for finding out more about Neville Riley

© Holyhead Maritime Museum.

This is part of a collection of posts telling the sometimes overlooked stories of some of Holyhead’s brave heroes.

The photographs of Captain Riley and his Scout Medal are from https://www.militaryimages.net/media/frederick-neville-riley.137389/ and can be found at Fort St. Elmo National War Museum, Valletta, Malta.

The photograph of Neville Riley and Richard Robert Jones is from https://scoutsmon.wales/announcement/holyhead-scout-awarded-silver-medal/