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Engineer saves Captain from being crushed by rocks at sea

Year 1936

Read by Georgie Grandy – Supporter, Royal Humane Society

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Cross, Henry, Engineer, M.V. Derek.

On 14th February, 1936, during a two days cyclone, the Fiji Government Workboat, m.v. Derek, was driven ashore on Komo Island, being stranded broadside on the rocks and swept by the tremendous seas. Owing to her position it was impossible to launch a boat on either side, and it was therefore decided to try and reach the shore by swimming before the vessel either broke up or rolled over to windward and sank.

Capt. Twentyman had gone down the gangway so as to get a good shove off with the next incoming wave, when a sudden lurch of the ship caused his feet to slip on the copper sheathing, resulting in his being sucked under the vessel by the backwash from the rocks under her lee.

Mr. Cross, the engineer of the Derek, seeing Twentyman’s predicament and realizing that he would probably be crushed on the rocks when the vessel swung back, held on to a rock, groped under the bottom of the ship, seized him and succeeded in drawing him clear before the vessel did so. Twentyman was completely exhausted by now and was therefore unable to assist Cross in any way during their 30 yards swim for the shore, where both were helped ashore by others, who had previously landed.

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