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H.M.S. Curacoa

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Fraser Mitchell:
We have just spent a lovely week exploring the area around Mallaig and visiting some of the Small Isles. We visited several cemeteries from Kilchoan in Eigg to Inverie in Knoydart, and kept stumbling across the last resting places of sailors lost with the sinking of the H.M.S.Curacoa can anyone shed some light on this tragic event?

Patrick Anderson:
last summer time I was on SKYE when we found I think 16 War graves at LOWER BREAKISH CEMETERY (SOME NAMED) to HMS Curacoa and later in that holiday found more of these graves at ARISAIG graveyard (within the RC church yard) and then one more at MORAR CEMETERY (THIS ONE NAMED). I wrote to the SCOTS MAGAZINE and got replied about the sinking ... the HMS Curacoa was escorting the Queen Mary carrying 10,000 US troops of the 29 Division for training in the Normandy landings ...OCTOBER 1942 and as the HMS Curacoa was doing its Zig Zag course the faster Q Mary ran straight into it cutting it in half, luckily some of the Queen Mary crew and US soldiers on board threw down life belts but only a few surviviors were picked up later when rescue ships arrived. I recently found more 5 war graves from that ship at OBAN cemetery on the road to Ft William, only 2 of them named. That cemetery has many RAF and Merchant Navy and RN last war casualties. Info found on the HMS CURACOA can be found in the WAR AND PEACE EXHIBITION North PIER, OBAN (curator Bill Grant). There is a book on the sinking written by the only officer survivor Patrick Holmes and a former naval officer David A Thomas called QUEEN MARY AND THE CRUISER 1997 by Lee Cooper, Barnsley. The ship's Captain was the only other officer survivor .

Willie Moir:
I stumbled across this site by accident while doing some research on HMS CURACOA. My grandfather was killed on her during this "accident". I would love to hear from anyone who can provide any more info on survivors or graves.

Bob Woodward:
My uncle was lost on the Curacoa. I only yesterday read about the graves in the Skye area in the Feb edition of Family Tree Magazine. I have ordered a book from the library "Queen Mary and the Cruiser" by David Thomas and Patrick Holmes which deals with the tragedy. I also have two long articles from the Sunday Express in about 1967. If you do not get the information you are seeking perhaps I could help.

Patrick Anderson:
Readers may have read my write-up in THE FAMILY TREE MAGAZINE for FEBRUARY 2002 in TOM WOODS pages and some may have seen my LETTER in the PRESS & JOURNAL (Aberdeen and areas ) on 1 February 2002 about the sinking of the HMS Curacoa. During December 2001 and January 2002 I had a short story in the CRAIGIE SECTION of the DUNDEE COURIER about the sinking and a month later in January 2002 a gentleman from Rattray near Blairgowrie wrote in saying that he was a wee boy on Rum when his father helped to bury bodies that came ashore on the island from the ship and these bodies were re buried in war graves in 1947. I have also found out that one of these bodies was taken home to STORNOWAY, Lewis for re burial. Readers may like to know about a book called SCOTTISH DISASTERS by DONALD M FRASER (1996) and a large chapter covers the sinking with photos too. (publishers are MERCAT PRESS, 53 SOUTH BRIDGE, Edinburgh. The missing sailors who have no known grave are listed on the ROYAL NAVY Monument to the MISSING for WW1 and WW2 at CHATHAM, KENT "we will remember them"

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