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HMS Goldfinch
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HMS Goldfinch

Date estimated

Willie writes:
'HMS Goldfinch. Wrecked on Start Point Sanday. Some wreckage still exists.'
Picture added on 17 April 2006
Comments:
Jamie Stone, MSP for Caithness and Sutherland told me that it was his grandfather that was in charge of HMS Goldfinch when she stranded on Start Point.
Added by Ian Thomson on 26 December 2007
My Grandfather, James Hodges Kelly of Belfast, was one of the stokers aboard this ship when it ran aground. Being "off ship" he was granted home leave to visit his wife Mary in Carrickfergus. During that leave, his first child was conceived. That son, Jim Kelly, Later Alderman of Carrickfergus, Freeman of the City of Belfast and naval participant of the 2nd world war's Burma Campaign, passed away peacefully in October 2007, aged 91. Stoker JH Kelly however, survived Jutland and reached the rank of SPO before being demobbed in 1919, after which he joined the Mercantile Marine and met a premature death in Hamburg in 1923, leaving a widow and 5 children.
Added by Denise Beddows on 20 April 2008
My grandfather, William Gilbert Victor Garland (known to us as Gilbert) was also aboard the HMS Goldfinch when it ran aground. He was a stoker 1st class on this ship from 14th Feb 1911. The story goes that he and a friend made it to an island where they were turned away by the crofter at rifle point. On knocking at another door, they were taken in by a widow and her daughter, where they were given food and money to get back to their base, which I believe was in Portsmouth. They arranged to meet up with their wives at Temple Meads railway station in Bristol where the women were shocked to see their men wearing ladie's coats! It was also said that the MOD sent the kind women who helped them £5 for each man. I've no idea whether this story is true or was a sailor's yarn, though my grandmother loved to tease Gilbert about it. Has anyone else heard this story?
Added by Diane Rothery on 18 November 2008
Hello Diane. Further to my previous entry re my GF, he too was a stoker First class and my uncle (who sadly passed away a year ago aged almost 92) had told me this same story. He understood though that all the crew came ashore on Sanday (naval records confirm all hands survived) and indeed received a mixed reception from the islanders. He also mentioned the coat episode and said the rest of the burly stokers (mostly then clad in loaned fishermen's clothing) ribbed their 2 shipmates mercilessly about their ladies' apparel. My uncle had his own ship blown up beneath him in WW2 and found himself shipwrecked in the Gambia, where he was given an army uniform to wear as the naval stores were closed. He would have considered this just as infra dig as a lady's coat. I have a lovely studio photo of my GF in uniform wearing his HMS Goldfinch hat, but sadly no pics of him with his crewmates. Do you have any photos of your GF with his shipmates? My GF might be amongst them. If you'd like to share more reminiscences of our GFs' WW1 exploits, do contact me at denisebeddows@yahoo.co.uk
Added by Denise Beddows on 19 November 2008
My grandfather Thomas Murphy was also a Stoker on Goldfinch from 28 Feb 1911 until she grounded, his Naval record shows him on the ship till 28 Feb 1915
Added by Clive Richards on 17 June 2012
Where was your grandfather from Clive? Mine had a good mate named Murphy though I thought his first name was Eddie and that he was a Scots lad.
Added by Denise Beddows on 21 June 2012
Denise, he was from Ringaskiddy, Cork, Ireland, I have a picture of him with crew mates, but I am not sure what ship he was on at the time the picture was taken
Added by Clive on 27 June 2012
Dear Sir,

We are writing on behalf of the Sanday Community Association, and the Horne Photographic Archive in particular. The Horne Photographic Archive is a research tool for members of the community as well as a source for displays in the Sanday Heritage Centre.
We are writing to request your permission to reproduce your Sanday photographs from Orkney Image Library. We would give due acknowledgement to yourself as contributor/photographer, and they would not be used for any commercial purpose.

We hope that you can help us in this matter.
Added by Sheena and Andrew on 11 March 2014
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