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September 2017, vol 13 no 3

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Guy Stephenson,

Forty-nine Miles Southwest by South, a Half South*

In Memoriam: William George Stephenson, 22/06/1881 - 24/11/1917

The watch relieved, he had handed over to his Number Two before going to his cabin. At the small sink, he ran hot water then carefully scrubbed the engine-room grime from his hands. Looking up, noticing the reflection of the rocking horse was marred by a splash of soap suds, he used the tip of his shortened forefinger to clear the mirror, the better to see.

He was pleased with his plan, getting the Ship’s Carpenter to make the toy – a first Christmas gift for his son, now nearly eighteen months old.

The moon was fitful that night, the Channel choppy. The lookout did not see the periscope or the deadly bubble-trail. When a ship carrying iron ore is struck below the waterline by a torpedo, she sinks very quickly

Painted wooden horse
rocks gently rotting
fifty-four fathoms down.


Note: The wreck of the SS Dunrobin lies at this position, off the Lizard, in the English Channel.


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