Interesting Story of British Sailors Buried in Olbia, Italy

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Interesting Story of British Sailors Buried in Olbia, Italy

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 04 Mar 2014 23:35

Hi! I thought this would be an interesting story that some of you might enjoy. I've been spending some time trying to find Lieutenant Arthur Pringle of the Royal Navy. All that I knew about him was his birth date, parents' names and that he died after 1899 in some sort of accident.

After some plowing through online newspaper archives (it's amazing how many men were named "Arthur Pringle"!), I was finally able to come up with a few little articles. The most concise was in The Times:

THE ACCIDENT ON BOARD THE FORMIDABLE.
We have received the following communication from the Admiralty with reference to the accident on board the Formidable, battleship. Captain A.W. Chisolm-Batten:---
"The Secretary of the Admiralty regrets to state that the following telefram has been received from the Commander-in-Chied in the Mediterranean, date Aranci, April 28:---
"Regret to report death this morning of Lieutenant Pringle, Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Henry Bowie, O.N. 155557, and A.B. John Searle Davey, O.N. 193129, of Formidable, killed through slipping of boat's derrick fall when restowing derrick after hoisting in boats."
A Reuter telegram from Maddalena states that the funeral of Lieutenant Pringle, Petty Officer Bowie, and seaman Davey took place at 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon at Terranoca Pausania. The ceremony was attended by representatives from all the British vessels, by the local cicil and military authorities, and by representatives of the Italian navy. Practically the whole population of Terranoca also attended to demonstrate their participation in the mourning of the British squadron, and after the service expressions of sympathy with Great Britain were heard on all sides. A number of wreaths were laid on the coffins.
Admiral Marchese, the Italian commander at Maddalena, immediately after learning of the accident expressed his sympathy to Admiral Sir John Fisher and placed the services of the garrison at Maddalena at his disposal if it could be of any assistance. Admiral Fisher, in reply, thanked the commander, saying he appreciated the sympathy shown and the kindly offer made to him.
Later on an Italian torpedo-boat brought Admiral Fisher a telegram from Signor Morin, the Italian Minister of Marine, expressing the deepest sympathy on behalf of the Italian navy.
-------------------------------------------
Lieutenant Arthur Pringle, the officer killed in the accident on board the Formidable, was the gunnery lieutenant of his ship, and was esteemed by his brother officers one of the best in the Navy in his special branch of work. Entering the Navy as a cadet in January, 1891, he became a midshipman in 1893, sub-lieutenant in July, 1896, and, having taken five first-class certificates, was promoted to the rank of lieutenant on July 15, 1897, after less than seven years' service.


After reading that, I thought it would be kind of nice to see if Lt. Pringle's grave was listed on FindaGrave or one of those sites. Maybe someone had seen the grave and taken a photo. Well, who would ever guess, but doing some fancy searching (and figuring out the present name of the town in Italy), an Italian online news article pops up here: http://www.olbianova.it/notizies/item/l ... e-per-caso

Since my Italian is non-existent, I ran the article through Google's translate option. The entire article is trying to raise town awareness to the shameful neglect and disgusting condition of the local cemetery. And the grave they used as their main example? Lt. Arthur Pringle's! What are the chances?! They did not know the story of the Navy men buried there, and could not think of a reason why British seamen should be there before WWI. The writer of the article goes on to say that he hoped, in years to come, that the name of the Englishmen would be picked up by the Google search engines --- hoping that family would find the reference to the sad memorial. A photographer even took the attached photo of the memorial, broken into several pieces and thrown in a pile at the cemetery.

So, that is the sad fate of one of Britain's many Naval Officers. It was very nice of a couple of Italians to bother finding the grave and posting about it! One small piece of land that is forever England . . .
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Re: Interesting Story of British Sailors Buried in Olbia, It

Postby Frogsmile » 08 Mar 2014 13:17

BingandNelsonFan wrote:Hi! I thought this would be an interesting story that some of you might enjoy. I've been spending some time trying to find Lieutenant Arthur Pringle of the Royal Navy. All that I knew about him was his birth date, parents' names and that he died after 1899 in some sort of accident.

After some plowing through online newspaper archives (it's amazing how many men were named "Arthur Pringle"!), I was finally able to come up with a few little articles. The most concise was in The Times:

THE ACCIDENT ON BOARD THE FORMIDABLE.
We have received the following communication from the Admiralty with reference to the accident on board the Formidable, battleship. Captain A.W. Chisolm-Batten:---
"The Secretary of the Admiralty regrets to state that the following telefram has been received from the Commander-in-Chied in the Mediterranean, date Aranci, April 28:---
"Regret to report death this morning of Lieutenant Pringle, Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Henry Bowie, O.N. 155557, and A.B. John Searle Davey, O.N. 193129, of Formidable, killed through slipping of boat's derrick fall when restowing derrick after hoisting in boats."
A Reuter telegram from Maddalena states that the funeral of Lieutenant Pringle, Petty Officer Bowie, and seaman Davey took place at 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon at Terranoca Pausania. The ceremony was attended by representatives from all the British vessels, by the local cicil and military authorities, and by representatives of the Italian navy. Practically the whole population of Terranoca also attended to demonstrate their participation in the mourning of the British squadron, and after the service expressions of sympathy with Great Britain were heard on all sides. A number of wreaths were laid on the coffins.
Admiral Marchese, the Italian commander at Maddalena, immediately after learning of the accident expressed his sympathy to Admiral Sir John Fisher and placed the services of the garrison at Maddalena at his disposal if it could be of any assistance. Admiral Fisher, in reply, thanked the commander, saying he appreciated the sympathy shown and the kindly offer made to him.
Later on an Italian torpedo-boat brought Admiral Fisher a telegram from Signor Morin, the Italian Minister of Marine, expressing the deepest sympathy on behalf of the Italian navy.
-------------------------------------------
Lieutenant Arthur Pringle, the officer killed in the accident on board the Formidable, was the gunnery lieutenant of his ship, and was esteemed by his brother officers one of the best in the Navy in his special branch of work. Entering the Navy as a cadet in January, 1891, he became a midshipman in 1893, sub-lieutenant in July, 1896, and, having taken five first-class certificates, was promoted to the rank of lieutenant on July 15, 1897, after less than seven years' service.


After reading that, I thought it would be kind of nice to see if Lt. Pringle's grave was listed on FindaGrave or one of those sites. Maybe someone had seen the grave and taken a photo. Well, who would ever guess, but doing some fancy searching (and figuring out the present name of the town in Italy), an Italian online news article pops up here: http://www.olbianova.it/notizies/item/l ... e-per-caso

Since my Italian is non-existent, I ran the article through Google's translate option. The entire article is trying to raise town awareness to the shameful neglect and disgusting condition of the local cemetery. And the grave they used as their main example? Lt. Arthur Pringle's! What are the chances?! They did not know the story of the Navy men buried there, and could not think of a reason why British seamen should be there before WWI. The writer of the article goes on to say that he hoped, in years to come, that the name of the Englishmen would be picked up by the Google search engines --- hoping that family would find the reference to the sad memorial. A photographer even took the attached photo of the memorial, broken into several pieces and thrown in a pile at the cemetery.

So, that is the sad fate of one of Britain's many Naval Officers. It was very nice of a couple of Italians to bother finding the grave and posting about it! One small piece of land that is forever England . . .


A fascinating story Sarah and thank you for posting it.
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