Remembering the Mona’s Queen

Steam Packet fastcraft Manannan sails past the memorial service at Kallow Point, Port St Mary

Steam Packet fastcraft Manannan sails past the memorial service at Kallow Point, Port St Mary

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The Mona’s Queen anchor memorial service – held in brilliant sunshine on Sunday, at Kallow Point in Port St Mary – was particularly poignant this year.

Terry Kelly, who was instrumental in bringing the anchor to the point, died in hospital while the service took place.

The annual service is held on the anniversary the Mona’s Queen was struck by a magnetic mine while evacuating troops at Dunkirk in 1940.

She sank with the loss of 24 lives, 17 from the island.

During the service Steam Packet vessel Manannan stopped, while en route to Belfast, and gave a long sound on her horn.

Attendees included Hamish Ross and Doreen Douglas, widow of Andrew, both of whom were the driving force behind getting the anchor lifted off the sea bed at Dunkirk, and John Quaye of Manx Independent Carriers, who brought the icon to the island in 2012.

‘It was good turnout,’ said Jack Rona, a former SP captain, who with Terry, whose father Paul died on the ship at Dunkirk, fought to have the memorial at Port St Mary.

He said the memorial is ‘fulfilling all we expected that it would do, people come from away to see it because of their connection.

‘I remembered Dunkirk happening and people on board the ship, some were lost, so many of them lived within sight of that anchor’.

Guests included Marie Adams, 84, the daughter of Jimmy Beckerleg, who was chief engineer on SP vessel the Manxman at Dunkirk during the evacuation.

Marie travelled from Foxfield, near Barrow.

Jimmy experienced the sinking of the City of Mysore during the First World War. And after Dunkirk, the Manxman did more dangerous evacuations from St Malo and Cherbourg. The Manxman was the last ship to leave Cherburg as the Germans advanced, headed by Rommel, who referred to her in his papers as the ‘cheeky two-funnel steamer’.

Jack didn’t realise it at the time, but during the service Terry passed away in hospital.

‘He died at the very time. There is something mysterious about that anchor.’

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