Who remembers the Wangle-tragedy?

First published in News

Is there anyone who has memories, a story or even photographs that can be connected with the tragedy with the Wangle III in 1950? That is what mrs. Joyce Pool and mr. Pip Barnard from Texel (Holland), who are doing research on his matter, would like to know.

In August 1950 a group of ten seascouts from the Mortlake Group set sail for a trip to France. They arrived safely in Calais, but on the journey back home their boat, a "whaler" named Wangle III, disappeared completely and they never made it back to London. A Canal-wide search was called with ships and aircraft, but only after several weeks six scouts washed ashore on the Dutch and German Frisian islands. They were burried together on Texel, the first island off the northcoast of Holland, in a grave that is still cared for by the local scouts. A commemorationplaque is to be seen in St. Mary the Virgin on High Street. Four bodies were never recovered.

Researchers Pool and Barnard, who live on the island of Texel, visited Richmond and Mortlake twice and did research in several archives, including that at Scouting HQ in Gilwell Park, Chingford. "We now hold the largest collection documents and information about this matter", mrs. Pool says, "but what we are missing is the personal touch, the human interest. Who were these boys, what families did they come from? And what impact did the disaster have on the local community?" Also the researchers would like to find some more photographs of the boys. "We only have a few copies of snapshots and newspaperprints. Everything could help to honour these fine young men who died so suddenly."

With the 65th anniversary of the disaster coming up in 2015, the researchers are working on a book of the event.

The ten boys and men that parished in 1950 were: Lt. Cmdr. John Weeden (1917); William Patrick (Bill) Towndrow (1932); Bernard Bell (1924); Donald Edward (Olly) Amos (1924); Robert Edward (Bob) Walford (1933); Peter Frederick White (1932); Brian Alan (Soley) Peters (1933); William Woods (1934); Maurice Alan Percival (1934); Kenneth Black (1926).

Based on information supplied by Pip Barnard.

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