On Thursday, the 4th of August 1966, the sea began to give up its dead. Over the next two weeks, for the relatives, friends and communities of twelve people, the unimaginable grief could at least be tempered to some small extent by the fact that their remains had been found. For the loved ones of 19 others, there was to be no such closure. All 31 lives were lost because they had been aboard a small vessel which foundered in a storm off the south coast of Cornwall. The name of that boat was the Darlwyne.
She sank on the evening of the 31 July. The previous day, the England football team had beaten West Germany 4-2 in a thrilling final to lift the World Cup at Wembley Stadium. The euphoria which followed served to effectively overshadow the news of the Darlwyne tragedy, with the result that outside of the communities directly affected, it has now all but disappeared from the national consciousness. The massive search for the Darlwyne was soon scaled down. Those touched by the tragedy lived their lives in private grief and remembrance.
But the tale of the Darlwyne was not completely over. For those who hunt for shipwrecks, the quest is not always for treasure. More often than not it is to tell a forgotten story and Nick Lyon had never encountered one like this before. It spans so many facets, from a village numbed by grief and whole families wiped out, to angry exchanges in the House of Commons and law courts. There is intrigue, chicanery, deceit, incompetence, and greed. But for all that, it was a story which lacked an ending. In 2016, a group of divers, archaeologists, filmmakers, photographers and wreck researchers decided that this story needed to be taken to its natural conclusion. Nick was part of that group and now The Forgotten Shipwreck brings the whole tale together in his immensely readable style.
The author of The Forgotten Shipwreck
Nick Lyon was born in Plymouth to seafaring parents and has been obsessed with the underwater world since childhood. He is an instructor trainer with the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) and has worked as the Southwest Regional Coach for the organisation. Nick is a twice-times winner of the Alan Broadhurst Award for displaying the highest standards of diving conduct whilst performing an underwater rescue. He spent 28 years working as an operating theatre practitioner before leaving the NHS to write and dive full-time. He has written over 100 articles for SCUBA magazine, including a monthly column. This is his second book (after The Diver’s Tale).