A new appeal has been launched to support an initiative to ensure those lost at sea are never forgotten at www.lostatsea.org.uk.
The Maritime Foundation, curator of the Memorial Book for those lost at sea with no known grave, wishes to digitise the records it holds and substantially expand the operation globally to include many more memorials to individuals regardless of status, creed or nationality.
Maritime Foundation Chairman Julian Parker OBE commented:
“Developing an interactive website driven by a unique searchable database of those lost at sea with no known grave will provide comfort for the bereaved and encourage a younger generation to discover how their relatives and forbears died. It will also highlight the perils faced by the 1.5 million seafarers who serve as professional mariners.”
The appeal and new website was launched at the annual Service of Remembrance for relatives of those lost at sea at All Hallows by the Tower in central London on 16 October.
Countess Mountbatten of Burma, President of the Maritime Foundation, was present at the Service and Reverend Andrew Wright, Secretary General of The Mission to Seafarers, gave the reflection.
Reverend Wright said:
“ I was delighted to have been invited to address the Annual Memorial Service for those lost at sea with no known grave. It is a wonderful initiative that provides huge comfort to many and I applaud the efforts to digitise the records of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, thereby offering a tribute to their memory which can be accessed globally as well as by future generations.”
Notes for editors
- The Maritime Foundation is a charity promoting Britain’s interests across the entire maritime sector. Its purpose is to inform and raise public and parliamentary awareness of the importance of Britain’s maritime industries, commerce and defence through education, training and research.
- The Commonwealth War Graves Commission provides memorials to people killed in wars, but many who are lost at sea – whether in peacetime or war – have no such memorial. The Memorial Book provides an enduring memorial to the many, representing a focus of remembrance for relatives, friends and the entire nation.
- Eligibility to place an entry in the Memorial Book and online database is open to all who have been lost from ships, offshore installations, and from beaches and who have no known grave, irrespective race, creed or nationality.
- The Memorial Book is kept on public display in the Mariner’s Chapel at All Hallows by the Tower, the oldest church in the city of London, which enjoys strong and long-standing ties to the sea and seafarers.
- Globally there are some 140,000 water-related deaths reported annually: this doesn’t include all the unrecorded losses, which are likely to be far higher, and many of those will have no known grave.
- The IMO reports the number of lives lost at sea has been over 1,000 seafarers for each of the past five years. Additionally, the UK National Water Safety Forum estimates there are some 500 deaths from water related accidents in the UK each year, which includes recreational sailors and those swept to sea from the shore never to be seen again.
- Details of the Memorial Book and appeal at https://www.lostatsea.org.uk
- Photos from the Memorial Service available upon request.