Book launch at Buckler’s Hard remembers lost voices of SS Persia
A new book focusing on the previously untold stories of passengers lost aboard the P&O liner SS Persia, tragically sunk by a German U-Boat during WWI, is being launched at Buckler’s Hard.
Author Alan Wren, who lives locally to Buckler’s Hard, said: “I could never have dreamed of launching my book at Buckler’s Hard, where the idea for the book started in 2015. After five years of research and rewriting, then Covid hold-ups, the launch is now imminent. In the early days, a wise publisher told me that while writing books is difficult, selling them is where the work really starts.
“Thanks to the efforts of many people at Beaulieu and Buckler’s Hard, the book launch will be not only an opportunity to gain valuable publicity, but also to meet some extraordinary people, many of them descendants of those on board the SS Persia. Without their enthusiastic contributions, there would not be a book launch.”
The sinking is commemorated at Buckler’s Hard with a special display in the Maritime Museum, which includes several artefacts from the ship, recovered during the world’s deepest salvage operation of its type, as well as the door to the ship’s bullion room. Also to be seen is a memorial sundial which was commissioned by the Montagu family to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking.
Not only was the SS Persia believed to have been carrying a large quantity of gold and jewels belonging to a Maharaja (including real rubies, amethysts, moonstones and some of the earliest known synthetic rubies) at the time of the sinking, but her human cargo was truly remarkable. John 2nd Baron Montagu was fortunate to be amongst the survivors of the disaster, but his secretary Eleanor Thornton, immortalised as the inspiration for the Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy mascot, was lost and her body never found.
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