12 November 2009


The BBC's excellent and ever-alert Athens correspondent Malcolm Brabant comes up with a timely story that seems not to have seeped down to my level of chattering classes.

The week before Remembrance Day, Brabant comes up with un vrai coup and, since these things don't always appear on the Net, MB has co-operatively posted the story on his own website.

A row over honouring dead British military veterans has erupted following the discovery of part of a warship badly damaged by a mine during one of the opening incidents in the Cold War.

American divers have found remains of British sailors amid the wreckage off the Greek island of Corfu.

The Ministry of Defence’s refusal to build a memorial to the dead, has been branded as shameful by an MP campaigning on behalf of the survivors.

Quoth Brabant ~ "For decades, members of the Corfu Channel Naval Association have been asking the Ministry of Defence to erect a stone memorial to honour 44 sailors who died in 1946 when their ships struck communist mines in the narrow stretch of water separating the Greek island from Albania.

The bodies of twelve men were recovered and they were buried in Corfu. But the other thirty two were never found. American divers have now discovered part of the bow section of HMS Volage in 150 feet of water. News, in the week preceding Remembrance Day, that some remains had also been found, gave new impetus to the veteran’s campaign. But the Ministry of Defence is refusing to grant their wish. A spokesman said the Ministry did not fund individual memorials, adding that the names were inscribed in monuments in three Naval dockyards.

MP Mike Penning, who supports the veterans, described the Ministry’s attitude as shameful.

“It tells you everything about a government which doesn’t understand the sacrifices that have been made by so many, especially at a time when we are at war,” he said.

The infamous Corfu Channel incident, at the start of the Cold War, led to five decades of tension between London and Tirana with Britain refusing to hand over Albanian gold that had been seized by the Nazis during the second world war.

The Ministry of Defence has asked for the final resting place of the thirty two sailors to be respected.

And Mr Penning has appealed to the Albanian authorities to ensure the wreck is placed out of bounds to divers."

Linkfail: Alert Sinbad caught a bad link (see comment), for which he wins the coveted prize of having his well-researched Richer Dust Concealed chosen as Link o' Day.

  • International team of archaeologists ~ so that's what they're calling them? (See Sinbad's comments passim ) ... anyway, this is the lot that "recently discovered the remains of a British military ship which had an accident off Albania’s Ionian Sea coast in the mid-1940s ... The ship remains were discovered by a - here we go - "international team of scientists from the US Institute of Nautical Archaeology, the Albanian Institute of Archaeology and the Albanian Defence Ministry."
  • Bow Portion: The Cardinal sends me what "seems to be the most comprehensive account by the man who claims the discovery of HMS Volage's bow portion - James Delgardo"

    See his exemplary blog and the last section on HMS Volage.

    Good stuff and an extra tot of rum to the on-the-ballsy Caliph of Kora-sur-Brum.


    Simon Baddeley said...

    The URL for 'incident' goes to Corfu Incident. This was a different issue around a pre-WW2 border dispute. The one you mean I'm sure is the Corfu Channel Incident
    See also:

    Simon Baddeley said...

    What I find interesting is what were American divers doing searching the Corfu Channel. Who sponsored this? Anything to do with that humpbacked US freighter bristling with telecommunication gear that's been anchored out of ferry lanes north east of Vido, on and off over the last two years?

    Simon Baddeley said...

    Lovely ... you know one of her US ratings, was asked - in a bar in town by young Kate (name changed) - her cargo, replied “toilet rolls”. D told me no-one in a boat is allowed near her. From one of the SE facing seaview villas below Pantokrator, an acquaintance of D was gazing from a villa in Nisaki, in daylight, through a tripod steadied night-view telescope at this vessel, about 8 miles away. Looking down from his eyepiece for an instant, he saw four red dots on his chest. D said he raised his hands in surrender stepping swiftly back from his scope. What did I think?...that's asymmetric war for you.

    Busker said...

    Well, that is sinister and I'll publish this but I won't make any wisecracks about Ahmed and I'll be watching for red dots that aren't from an excess of the hooch. Not good. A case for "Brabant's Next Coup."

    Simon Baddeley said...

    Can you give the exact link to Brabant's story. I can find Brabant of course, but not this story.

    Busker said...

    No I can't give the link coz these things dont always appear on the Net. But MB has been a hero and actually posted it on his own blog, which you will see i have added with the speed of 2nd-spring lightning.

    Simon Baddeley said...

    This seems to be the most comprehensive account by the man who claims the discovery of HMS Volage's bow portion - James Delgardo: