The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

Sinking of the S S Britannia

B A Pearce and J T (Jack) Arkinstall

Mervyn Misquita wrote:"Then on January 10, 2004, I received an email from Adrian Pearce of UK.

"(My) father joined the RAF in 1935 and left in 1946 to return to his home island of Jersey."

"....My father (who died 2 years ago this February 2004) was a survivor on the Britannia. He was a Flight Lieutenant in the RAF. I still have contact with the 90-year-old Mr Jack Arkinstall who was a Squadron Leader who also survived the sinking. He was a close friend of my father's," wrote Adrian.

"There were only four on my dad's raft, one of which was Sdn. Ldr. Arkinstall and the other two were nursing staff. His was the raft which was rescued after five-and-half days by a Spanish vessel. They had agreed they couldn't go on any longer and had decided to slip into the sea the next day.

It was at night when dad saw what he thought was two car headlights coming towards him. It was a Spanish ship which had miraculously been re-routed which picked them up and confined them to the hold. There was nothing due to be passing on that sea lane for 2 more weeks, according to dad.

The Spanish didn't like them and threw a few dry biscuits down which they had to bang the weavals out of before they could eat them. I believe a bucket of water was lowered down to them. The ship took them to Tenerife where they were interned for two weeks and surrounded by Germans. They arrived back in Liverpool and walked into the Liver Insurance building unannounced and unchallenged!"

This does not seem to have been the experience of either Tom Dunn or my father, as Pearce and Arkinstall were also on the Cabo do Hornos and signed my father's menu.

Web-site which includes account by Tom Dunne

NB This account is at odds with that provided by Jack Arkinstall in which he says that he was rescued from Lifeboat No. 3 commanmded by Commander Spurgeon:

Account by Jack Arkinstall

Colin Bower
29 February 2008

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Sinking of the SS Britannia - Index

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