St Mary’s Church, Angle

button_lang_japaneseSt Mary’s Church, Angle

This church has surviving medieval features. The churchyard includes a Sailors’ Chapel and the grave of 10 people who drowned after a Japanese ship was torpedoed in the First World War.

For a short while in the 12th century, Gerald of Wales was the rector here. He is best known today for his written descriptions of his travels in Wales and other countries.

The oldest parts of the current church are thought to date from the 14th century. The tower is from c.1500. The church was extensively rebuilt in the 1850s.

The Sailors’ Chapel, separate from the church, was used for prayer for the safety of sailors as they headed out to sea. It’s thought to date from the 15th or 16th century. Its crypt was used to lay out bodies which had washed ashore in the area.

A polished granite obelisk in the churchyard (north-west corner) marks the burial place of 10 people who died after the Japanese ocean liner Hirano Maru was sunk, south of Ireland, by a German submarine on 4 October 1918. The ship was on a long voyage from Liverpool to Yokohama, Japan. Fewer than 30 people were rescued and c.300, of various nationalities, died. Bodies later found on Pembrokeshire’s coast included that of a South African who was going home after serving as a Captain with the RAF in France, and the wife and child of an accountant who worked for a Japanese bank in London.

Ten of the dead were buried here. Most were unidentifiable but one was identified as Shiro Okosie, in his mid-20s. Their granite memorial, replacing a wooden one which had decayed, was unveiled by the Duke of Gloucester on 4 October 2018, 100 years after the sinking. Guests at the ceremony included Yoshiko Nakamura, whose grandfather Shintaro Yamamoto (an officer in the Japanese Navy) was one of the Hirano Maru victims.

With thanks to the Rev Josh Maynard

Postcode: SA71 5AP    View Location Map

Church website

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