Prestatyn memorial to Thomas Roberts

Memorial to Thomas Roberts (d.1905)

Photo of capstan headstone in memory of Thomas RobertsThis unusual and massive headstone is carved in the shape of a capstan. It marks the family plot of Thomas Roberts, captain of a steam tug (ST) which vanished mysteriously on the Irish Sea. The inscription at the base notes that he was lost at sea.

The ST Clarence was built near Edinburgh and entered service with the Alexandra Towing Company in Liverpool in summer 1904. On 24 February 1905, the tug left the Mersey towing a damaged ship which was bound for Australia and needed repairs in Milford Haven. The following day the tug rested at South Bay, Ireland, and Capt Roberts wired his bosses at ATC, where he had worked for 25 years.

Various ships made contact with the tug as it headed for Holyhead on the Sunday afternoon but then nothing more was heard or seen of the vessel. All 11 crew were lost. Six were Welshmen. Captain Roberts and two others were from Greenfield, and one from Llinegr (by Ffynnongroyw).

The captain was making plans to retire to his farm, called Coed Mawr, before his demise. He left four children and a widow, Margaret, who died in 1920 aged 69.

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