Peter McArthur’s article on ship hydrodynamics reminded me of the Royston Grange tragedy on the River Plate in 1972 which was most likely caused by a combination of bank rejection, interaction and a poorly maintained channel. Surprisingly little factual information is available regarding this collision so the following  account has been compiled from several sources.  The photos are from the web with no photographer accredited. JCB

On the 11th May 1972, the Houlder Line’s 7,113 ton Royston Grange, was outward bound in the River Plate from Buenos Aires to London with a cargo of chilled and frozen beef and butter.  On board were 61 crew, 12 passengers (including six women and a 5-year old child) and the Argentinian pilot. At 0540, as she traversed the Punta Indio Channel in dense fog, she collided with the Liberian-registered tanker Tien Chee, carrying 20,000 tons of crude oil. The Tien Chee immediately burst into flames and a series of explosions rapidly carried the flames to the Royston Grange where most of the crew and passengers were asleep. Although the Royston Grange did not sink, all 74 on board were killed. This is surprising since the Royston Grange had split accommodation with the Deck Officers & passengers separated from the engineers and crew accommodation by a cargo hatch. The reason for this grim statistic seems to be that following what would appear to have been an initial fireball of vapour, the cargo of butter and the hold insulation ignited resulting in an inferno which would have been impossible to survive. The Tien Chee also caught fire and eight of her forty Chinese crew died but the remainder, along with her Argentinian pilot, managed to abandon ship and were picked up by cutters of the Argentine Naval Prefecture.

The report of the Liberian enquiry into the disaster concluded that the master and pilot of the Tien Chee, in an attempt to get enough water for her deep draught, had probably been navigating too far to the south of the channel. The report concluded that the officers of the Royston Grange were probably not to blame, although there may have been some human error in attempting to avoid the collision. Whilst finding that the Master and pilot of the Tien Chee probably should’nt have entered the channel in the tidal conditions prevailing at the time, the report criticised the lack of maintenance of the channel.

Subsequent analysis suggests that the Royston Grange had probably suffered bank rejection causing her to shear towards the Tien Chee. With the Tien Chee navigating with minimum UKC she was probably navigating in navigable mud and experiencing difficulty in steering so as the two vessels approached each other the interaction forces would have been enhanced. The diagram below taken from Ship Stability for Masters & Mates reconstructs the collision.

As ships get ever bigger and operational windows are reduced, safety parameters are inevitably eroded and the Royston Grange tragedy serves as a reminder as to how important an understanding of     hydrodymics are to safe ship handling.


Those killed are all buried in The British Cemetery in Montevideo (following picture) but the above stained  glass  window was commissioned as a memorial in the All Hallows-by-the-Tower church in London.


The list of the deceased:

The Tien Chee was scrapped at Buenos Aires in 1976 and the Royston Grange was eventually scrapped in Spain in 1979.                JCB

Further information (in Spanish) and photos are at the following link: 

Record of the 40th anniversary service held in Montevideo along with tributes (in English & Spanish) can be read at the following link:

It would appear that my Royston Grange article  was published just too late to avoid an almost identical collision scenario which features in the 2012 MAIB digest! Fortunately on this occasion there was no loss of life but the following edited extract from the MAIB report highlights the need for caution when navigating in narrow channels.          JCB

A 10,000 tonne container vessel, with a pilot embarked, collided with another vessel which was proceeding in the opposite direction of a narrow channel. Both vessels suffered extensive damage and were out of service for a considerable period while costly repairs were undertaken.

Prior to the collision, the container vessel had increased speed to overtake a small barge as she entered a long, narrower channel. The overtaking manoeuvre resulted in her being on the extreme starboard side of the channel, close to the bank. A short time later the vessel then took a sudden and uncontrollable sheer to port into the path of a vessel proceeding in the opposite direction.

Analysis of information obtained from the container vessel’s VDR showed that she was influenced by bank effect and squat prior to the collision. The vessel’s speed was excessive, and she was closer to the bank and in less water than the bridge team had planned for. In shallow water, with reduced under keel clearance, the vessel’s pivot point would have moved aft, reducing her steering lever. Close to the edge of the bank the large forces associated with the high pressure area around her bow and the low pressure area around her stern caused the sudden sheer to port which the helmsman was unable to correct before the collision occurred.

Fundamental to incident was the decision to overtake the barge at the entrance of the smaller channel. This decision to overtake was taken to avoid following the slower barge along a channel where overtaking would have been difficult. However, the decision was made without sufficient communication between the bridge team or consideration of the consequences of the manoeuvre.

The Lessons

1. The cause and effects of interaction should be recognised and taken into account. Speed is critical, since the magnitude of forces created by both bank effect and squat increases with the square of the vessel’s speed through the water.

2. The requirements of planning and executing a safe navigational passage must be clearly and fully understood and implemented by all bridge officers. SOLAS Chapter V clearly defines the requirements for the planning and conduct of a safe navigational passage and the key elements of these are:

Appraising, Planning, Executing and Monitoring

When a pilot supplements the bridge team, these requirements do not change; if anything, the ship’s permanent team should be even more vigilant when monitoring the execution of the mutually agreed passage plan.


50 Responses to “The ROYSTON GRANGE Tragedy”

March 23rd, 2012 at 16:35

There is more information on this disaster along with many photos and press releases from the time at the following link:

Regards from Montevideo


March 24th, 2012 at 12:12

Thank you Fernando,

I have posted the link at the end of the article

May 14th, 2012 at 20:56

A service of “Remembrance & Thanksgiving” in memory of the Crew, Passengers and River Plate Pilot, who perished as a result of the collision in the River Plate, between this vessel and the MT “Tien Chee”, 40 years ago.- Montevideo, Uruguay



Ernst Tuma
May 26th, 2014 at 22:10

Schade um die MS Royston Grange. Es war ein schönes Schiff und ich hatte die Ehre als Bäcker auf diese Schiff 1961 arbeiten zu dürfen.
An meiner Südamerika-Reise habe ich viele liebe Menschen kennengelernt und es sind viele schöne Erinnerungen an diese Seereise in meinem Herzen geblieben.
Meine Trauer um den Verlust der Seeleute die meine Kollegen gewesen sein konnten, ist mit den Hinterbliebenen der gestorbenen Seeleute.
Mein Herz ist sehr traurig.

gez.: Ernst Tuma – Bäcker auf der MS Royston Grange.

October 25th, 2014 at 14:39

My wives cousin David Revell was an officer on the Royston Grange and stated he would never sail on an oil tanker because it was too dangerous and it is ironic that he was killed by one. He was unmarried and he had many interests the most important to him was that he owned 2 vintage Rolls Royce cars which he restored and he played in a jazz band. We were fortunate to be able to visit the mass grave when we went on a cruise to South America, the first members of the family to be able to do so except for his mother who went to the committal ceremony, his father had a severe heart condition and could not travel. I researched the history of the accident and Furness Withy who had taken over the Houlder Brothers line kindly contacted some ex employees who gave them the location of the cemetery. To cut a long story short the Captain of the Holland American cruise ship very kindly organised a car and driver, free of charge, to take us to the cemetery to visit the grave when we docked in Montevideo and we were able to take photographs for the remaining members of the family.He was an only son and his mother and father never recovered from the shock of loosing him, he was 34 years old. I have only recently become computer literate so I hope this related story is of interest to you.


Paul Blackett
January 11th, 2015 at 12:50

to Vincent O Hara
I was an apprentice on ther Royston Grange but alas fell in to the hold
on a trip to Casablnaca but had to be taken off and hosptitalised in Vigo N Spain
On recovery Ihad my orders and was due to fly out to jion the Royston Grange had the consultant not stopped me going at the very last minute I would have been aboard on the ill fated trip.
This is the first time in all these years I have written about this episode in my life.After reading your posting I just wanted to say that David Revell was a fine engineer and a great guy to sail with, always laughing and full of fun and a big leg puller.Oh and he like me loved his food.Unfortunately he was one of many fine people to die in that tragedy.
Paul Blackett

I was


Tony johnson
April 20th, 2015 at 06:08

My brother Gary Johnson was the second Radio Officer on the ship, it was his first trip and just out of college, a long long time ago and still missed by all


Ian Braithwaite
May 11th, 2015 at 07:48

I was deck apprentice,3rd officer and 2nd officer with Houlder Bros shipping company 1965 to 1974.In 1972 I was assigned to the Royston Grange, but I had marital arrangements April 8th,so my place was taken by 3rd officer Stewart Third, a close friend of mine. We were at Boulevard Nautical School together 1963 to 1965 and lodged in Gypsyville, Hull, before joining Houlder Brothers as indentured apprentices. As apprentices Stewart sailed on the Royston Grange and I sailed on the sister ship Hardwicke Grange in 1967.We sailed together on the gas tanker Clerk Maxwell as 3rd officers, close friends, as Stewart lived in Guiseley and I live in Shipley


craig rich
October 27th, 2015 at 12:34

The Captain of the Royston Grange at the time of the tragedy was George Boothby who was one of the finest Masters that I sailed with in my 12 years at sea.I also got to know his wife and daughter for whom I baby sat one night in Rotterdam! I was his 2nd Officer on the ‘Duquesa’ and he had me promoted to ist officer in 1963 at the age of 25. The two frig engineers who died, Ronald Platt and George Jeary and the purser Willie Hagan as well as Jakob Dekker the Bosun were all on the ‘Duquesa’ at that time. I relieved on the Royston around the UK coast and she was a fine vessel. I left Houlders in 1965 to take my Extra Master’s Certificate and subsequently taught at Sir John Cass College in London. It was after I moved to Plymouth Polytechnic in 1971 that the tragedy took place and I remember to this day the shock I felt whenI heard the dreadful news on the car radio on the way into work. It was an even greater shock to me when eventually I found out the names of those who had perished. Some of the best shipmates of my time at sea.I often wonder if, as I got on so well with Captain Boothby, that had I not come ashore to teach ships’ officers I might have been his Chief Officer on the Royston at that time. So sad and my heartfelt condolences are with the failies and friends of those 74 souls who lost their lives on one of the blackest days in the history of Houlder Brothers.


Jeff Frankling
November 29th, 2015 at 19:38

I was RO for two trips in 1970 I have a photo of the Royston Grange when she was alongside in Santos. Where unfortunately some locals broke into my cabin and stole my camera. Luckily the film was finished and had been taken out.

November 29th, 2015 at 19:41

I am also visiting Montevideo February 2016 and am planning to visit the mass grave at the British cemetry


Paul Blackett
February 3rd, 2016 at 13:47

Hi For Ian Braithwaite
Ian I sailed with your friend Stuart on The Oreosa I think it was when apprentice in fact I bought books off him stamped hull where he was from I think cant be sure which I still have in loft somewhere.
Below I have listed full crew list in case use to anyone.Cheers
Paul Blackett.
Lista de víctimas (todos britanicos excepto los que se informan)

George Boothby, 55, Master Colin Craddock, Chief Officer Stewart Third, Second Officer
David Lewis, Extra Second Officer Paul Hambly, Deck Cadet David Hamilton, Deck Cadet
Philip Harrison, Deck Cadet Hugh Watkins, Deck Cadet John Barter, First Radio Officer
Gary Johnson, 20, Second Radio Officer (his first voyage after qualifying) Terence Teppett, Chief Engineer David Revell, Second Engineer
John Kincaid, Third Engineer Brian Thomis, Fourth Engineer Colin Nolan, Fifth Engineer
Robert Lyon, Junior Engineer Clive Weatherburn, Junior Engineer James Craddock, Engineer Cadet
Nicholas Finch, Engineer Cadet George Jeary, Chief Refrigeration Engineer Ronald Platt, Extra Chief Refrigeration Engineer
Andrew James, First Electrician Stephen Hartnell, Second Electrician William Hagan, Catering Officer
James Flower, Surgeon
Jacob Dekker, Boatswain (Dutch) William Townsend, Boatswain’s Mate Ronald Williams, Carpenter
Brian Jones, Senior Seaman Andrew Adams, Able Seaman Leonard Bruce, Able Seaman
John Burden, Able Seaman (American) John Hurley, Able Seaman Thomas McClelland, Able Seaman
Alexander MacDonald, Able Seaman Eugene MacDonald, Able Seaman John Macritchie, Able Seaman
Ernest Walsh, Able Seaman Arthur Furrand, Deck Hand Stephen Brookes, Junior Seaman
Michael Hawley, 17, Deck Boy David Hullis, Deck Boy George Morris, Engineroom Storekeeper
David Miller, Greaser John Thearle, Greaser Reginald Watkinson, Greaser
Carlton Davis, Fire and Water Attendant James Fairweather, Fire and Water Attendant Stanley Tracey, Fire and Water Attendant (New Zealand)
Peter Wright, Chief Cook Henry Watkinson, Second Cook James McIntyre, Baker
Lawrence Bassant, Catering Boy Graham Edwards, Catering Boy Roy Mills, Second Steward
Denis Beverley, Assistant Steward Herbert Collingham, Assistant Steward Peter Harvey, Assistant Steward
Raymond Lee, Assistant Steward David Potterton, Assistant Steward James MacCulloch, Messman
Harold Bateman Donald Campbell y Jean Campbell Grace Puhl
Almut Dein y Lother Dein (West German) Teresa Lilian Hagan, y Valentine Hagan, hija y esposa del Catering Officer William Hagan Jan Craddock, 22, esposa del Chief Officer Colin Craddock (se habian casado hacia 4 meses) (Australian)
Rosa Leach John Treharne y Margarita Treharne (Argentinian)


Joe Wilson
February 26th, 2016 at 07:58

I was a student at Boulevard Nautical College up until 1973 and received a memorial prize from Mr & Mrs Third, Stewart Third’s parents. He was 3rd Officer. I still have the briefcase.
I too joined Houlders as a Cadet in 1973.


stephen gerrard AB
April 23rd, 2016 at 06:56

sailed on blue star line to south america maney times it broke my hert i was about to joine ROYSTON GRANGE IN 1969 KG5 she looked so big


Ian Braithwaite
May 11th, 2016 at 14:46

44th anniversary and one I always remember being one day before my birthday,which I never celebrate.Craddock the mate helped me with my studies a great deal and gave me some of his text books.Stewart Third and I had a day off the Clerk Maxwell gas tanker in Texas City,Texts and returned together from the rodeo show sporting stetson hats-when Stewart was apprentice on Royston Grange in Buenos Aires I was on Hardwicke Grange in Mar del Plate so train to Be and we had a great night out together via Presidents pink palace and company office on 25deMayo Dekker the boson was a gentleman and like other messages George Boothby was probably the best loved captain in the company Best wishes to everyone affected by May 11th 1972 always.

May 27th, 2016 at 16:21

Good to find this information about the Royston Grange. There is another stained glass memorial at the Church of St Paul, Barry Dock, virtually identical to the one at All Hallows-by-the-Tower church in London. I have recently added it to the online Stained Glass in Wales Catalogue:

The church has recently closed.


Doug Clark
June 25th, 2016 at 19:12

I was a Junior Engineer on the Douro [ex-Hornby Grange] in the same service. We passed the Royston Grange when she was inbound and we outbound from BA. As I recall one of our crew had a brother on the Royston. We were almost home when we heard of the disaster. Really a very sobering feeling on board, a mixture of sadness and ‘There but for the grace of God’. Later in my career I was the Engineer Superintendent with Geest Line. The Marine Super had been Houlder Bros Superintendent in BA and had to deal with the immediate aftermath. I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been.


tony Woollam
February 25th, 2017 at 13:51

I served my time as a deck apprentice with holders, 1963to 1967. and then left to join RFA. I served on Oremna, Oswestry grange, Duquesa ( with Captain Boothby) etc. but never sailed on the Royston Grange.
I had a very good experienced apprenticeship with Holders and many happy memories.
I have just returned from a holiday in South America and made a special trip to the cemetery in Monte to pay my respects to some of my shipmates.
If you have not been I can assure you the memorial is beautiful and is kept in good condition and in a peaceful location.
Should anyone recognise my name please get in touch.
Tony Woollam


Jeffrey Frankling
February 26th, 2017 at 13:50

I was the RO on the Royston Grange in 1970 and ’71 when I was 20 and made two trips to South America with her the last trip was with Captain Boothby. I also visited Montevideo last year and went to the British cemetery to see the grave which as you say is very well looked after and very moving. At first we couldn’t find the grave but as soon as we spoke to an official there she knew exactly what we were looking for and took us straight to it. I left the merchant navy shortly after but if I had stayed I could easily have still been on her in 1972 I am still working and run a direct marketing business with my family.
Jeff Frankling


Paul Blackett
March 9th, 2017 at 15:02

Hi Jeff
Were you aboard when I fell in to no 3 hold on the Royston Grange I was an apprentice at the time
I have watched the service on you tube in the cemetery very sad!!


Jeff Frankling
March 9th, 2017 at 15:22

Hi Paul
My discharge book is stamped for the two trips I did on the RG:
5th May 1970 and 13th July 1970.
Vaguely remember someone falling in the hold – I thought it was another boat but must have been you if either those dates match.
Hope you made a full recovery.
Best wishes


Ian Braithwaite
May 10th, 2017 at 05:50

45th Anniversary today and best wishes again to everyone affected by the loss of our friends,relatives and shipmates on May 11th 1972,so far away in the River Plate.Being from Shipley,West Yorkshire also remembering those who died in the fire at Bradford City football ground,and three friends/shipmates who died after the exocet missile attack on the World Knight outside the port of Kharg island,Iran during the Iraq/Iran war.Will be raising a few glasses today to them all.


Ian Braithwaite
May 10th, 2017 at 19:03

Boulevard nautical school April 1963 to December 1965,lived in lodgings with elderly couple in Gypsyville,Stewart Third lodged across the road,and we joined Houlder Bros together.I joined Falmouth drydock as deck apprentice on Bidford Priory Dec1965 to Sept1966,BP time charter crude oil cargoes,residue sludge dug out by hand and glass of 4bells rum afterwards to clear the lungs,and which included drydock in Malta after accident in Riyeka Yugoslavia,and England World Cup win which emptied the bond store.Oreosa Nov1966 to May1967,iron ore cargoes for British Steel,Narvik,Murmansk,Seven islands,Lulea,Monrovia,Vittoria,Bone to Port Talbot,Glasgow,Workington,Irlam,Middlesborough,Scunthorpe.Hardwicke Grange June1967 to Feb1968,beef cargoes/horse meatfrom Buenos Aires,Monte Video and Santos to Bilbao(horse meat),Rotterdam and Royal Victoria dock London.Same voyages as Royston Grange.We did a general cargo run Liverpool,Swansea,Newport to Buenos Aires,and lamb cargo Ushuaia,Rio Gallegos,beef La Plata,Buenos Aires to London.We were in La Plata as Royston Grange was in Buenos Aires so we 4deck apps caught train to BA and we had night out with Stewart Third and 3 other deck apps,a night to remember.Last ship asdeck app Tenbury,general cargo ship.Full ship complement changed over at Singapore anchorage,ship time chartered to NYK Japan,carrying cargoes Mogadiscio,Khismao,Mombasa,Zanzibar,Dar es Salaam,Beira,Maputo,Madagascar,to Singapore,Hong Kong,Japan,for 8months.Studied Boulevard Nautical school and passed 2nd mates 1969.Joined Cerinthus,product tanker time chartered to Shell,3rd officer,Venezuela,Curacao to Swansea,Rotterdam,and first decent wage,for 8months.Deck app first yeat £10/month,2nd year £12/month,third year £14/month,fourth year £20/month,1965 to 1969.Oredian iron ore cargoes,usual routes,mate Evans from Mumbles,Swansea(later to die in cabin fire on Orepton in Murmansk).Back to Boulevard nautical school,passed mates license 1971,then Tewkesbury general cargo ship,joined in Hull,loaded cargoes Germany,Holland,Belgium(stained glass windows for Sydney Opera house),France,then refuelled Cape Town,discharged cargo Fremantle,Melbourne,Sydney,Brisbane.Loaded bagged wheat and flour cargo Wallaroo for discharge Aden,Mocka,Hudeidah in Yemen.Then to Vizagapatnam,north east India to load chrome ore for Ghent,Belgium,spent 2weeks in Vizag trapped by the India/Bangladesh war of 1971.After Ghent we all payed off in Liverpool,9months.Clerk Maxwell second mate,together with Stewart Third 2nd mate,chief mate on daywork.Houston to France,Rotterdam and Finland with LPG and Ammonia cargoes.Spent a few days on laybyberth Texas City,Texas so Stewart and I went to rodeo show,returned with stetson hats.Then February 1972 I was appointed 2nd mate to the Royston Grange,but I had arranged marriage in April,so Houlder Bros appointed Stewart Third in myplace,and I joinedthe Orenda Bridge in June 1972.The rest is history,anf further componded by the Bradford City fottball ground disaster,also on May 11th,in 1985.Seems like yesterday,not 45 years ago.Best wishes to all.


John Peard
May 27th, 2017 at 18:19

Ian, you seem to have missed out a short break ashore in Japan after the first tripper lowered the Derrick on your thumb!
It is so good to know you are still around and many thanks for all your guidance on my first trip, except for the bit where you were guiding the Derrick into the crutch.
Despite the efforts of a very unpleasant Scottish mate, jmc, the Tenbury was a good trip.
Fond memories.


John F Peard
May 27th, 2017 at 18:27

Not sure how this site works, but due to a domestic crisis, ie helping to make a bed, I forgot to tick the notification boxes so please reply to this message if you so wish.
Ships nostalgia site has a big Houlders presence and a lot about the Royston, I left it in March 72 when I was 3/O.


ivor jones
July 19th, 2017 at 11:34

i sailed on the Royston Grange for 4 trips, i only had a trip off as my sister was getting married, but i had to work by til she sailed on that terrible voyage……..i remember a lot of the crew especially the catering department. i am hoping to visit Montevideo some time as i would like to see the momument……R..I.P.


Sue Hooley
March 30th, 2018 at 13:34

To Anyone one who could help Me please ,I am The Daughter Of Reginald Watkinson, I am looking for any siblings I Have I believe 2 half Bothers who live in England, does anyone know of them Please I would like to contact them Thank You Regards Sue


Ian Braithwaite
May 10th, 2018 at 15:25

Hi John Peard,was a good trip on the Tenbury,Japan to East Africa via Hong Kong and Singapore,for 8months,thumb is ok and the 8days in Nagoya hospital was a good chance to teach the Japanese nurses Yorkshire english!Good news for your neck of the woods Mark Williams winning the snooker for Wales.To Ivor Jones,like you I was lucky missing that voyage,and I sailed after with Royston Granges permanent electrician,who missed the voyage with hospital treatment for an eye complaint.Will have a few ales in memory of everyone tomorrow,and all who perished on May 11th at Bradford City football ground.


Ian Braithwaite
May 10th, 2018 at 16:14

With regard to the interaction of the Tien Chee and Royston Grange.The main channel of the River Plate to Buenos Aires was a continously dredged channel,in a very wide river,with crosscurrents of water.Steerage was always difficult,and heading corrections by the wheelman had to be swift and correct.Due to the width of the dredged channel,ships heading in opposite directions would align on a collision course,then both alter course to starboard in a timely manner to avoid collision,passing each other in a short time.After the collision on May 11th 1972,the navigation rules of the channel were changed,so that ships could only navigate in one direction at a time.As with all disasters,lessons were learned,and as in later years,the implementation of airline style checklists/forward planning makes mere humans realise they are not infallible,something my local council management team could do with,having allowed the gasboard to lay new supply pipes over a watercourse,causing flooding.Best wishes to all relatives and friends of loved ones in the Royston Grange/Bradford City ground May 11th disasters .


August 11th, 2018 at 20:01

Hi all,

My uncle was Michael Hawley, a deck boy aboard the Royston Grange in this tragedy. Did any of you know him?




Andrea Askey nee Beverley
September 3rd, 2018 at 18:37

My brother Denis Beverly was Second Steward on the Royston Grange that fateful day and my older sister and I were due to go to Montevideo for the service back in May 1972 but unfortunately I couldn’t go as I was expecting our son at the time and could not fly. My sister did still attend.
On the 17th November this year my husband and I will be in Montevideo for 3 days so we can visit the British Cemetery and pay our respects. 46 years later than I originally wanted to go but better later than never.
Denis would have celebrated his 28th birthday on the 14th of May 3 days after the tragedy. He really was a lovely man and enjoyed the merchant navy.


Jeff Frankling
September 5th, 2018 at 06:49

I was the RO on the Royston Grange in 1970 but I left the merchant navy in 1971. I visited the British Cemetery in Montevideo in 2016. Its beautiful and very moving.

October 8th, 2018 at 15:55

For some reason I looked up the details Of the Royston Grange after four years when I typed my memories of our visit to the mass grave. I was rather taken aback by the number of comments relating to the collision of the Royston Grange and the Tanker but it is nice to know so many people have so many happy memories of their service at sea. If you do visit the grave there is a small office at the entrance to the cemetery and the man who was on duty was extremely helpful giving us directions to the grave. I was surprised there were so many flowers on the grave so a lot of Brits must visit. The most upsetting part was reading the names of a scottish family who must have all been killed. Never forgotten RIP cousin David Revell and his shipmates.


Damian Chittock
October 15th, 2018 at 04:49

I was placed on standby duty on the Royston Grange as a Steward and spent several days with the crew. I know this was in 1971 and that it might have been the voyage before the fateful voyage. Even so I remember the disaster from those times. The, there for the grace… was on my mind and my sorrow went out to those that lost their lives. When onboard I found the crew to be supportive and I really wanted to sail with her. The person I was covering for arrived just before she was due to sail and I was released. I gave up the Merchant Marine soon after that incident. R.I.P.


Shelagh Macdonald
November 18th, 2018 at 14:53

My Husband Eugene Alastair MacDonald was an able seaman on the Royston Grange in May 1972 when the terrible tragedy in the river plate happened .I wonder does anyone remember him old shipmates etc,he served in the Merchant Navy since 1955.


Andrea Askey
November 18th, 2018 at 19:29

Today I have been to my brothers grave in Montevideo for the first time. I could not attend in 1972 as I was pregnant and thought I would never see where he was. So today is a very special time. If a cemetery can be beautiful this one is. Jacaranda trees, parrots & other tropical type birds. I hope it helps to know it’s still clean & tidy. I will be going back tomorrow for the last time & will take some flowers, yes for my brother Denis Beverley but also for all the others who are there with him.


Jeffrey Frankling
November 20th, 2018 at 12:45

In reply to Andrea Askey.
I served as RO on the Royston Grange in 1970/71.
I visited the grave at the British Cemetery in Montevideo in February 2018. It was a beautiful place and very well looked after. A very moving experience.


November 20th, 2018 at 12:53

Hi all,

My uncle was Michael Hawley, a deck boy aboard the Royston Grange in this tragedy. Did any of you know him? Or work with him?




billy moore
January 4th, 2019 at 21:14

j did two trips on the Royston grange in 1968 paid off to take my ticket in November 68.i had the pleasure to sail with mr craddock
captain of the Royston on my first ship,the oreidian ,I think he was 2nd mate.great guy.R.I.P


Pete W
April 9th, 2019 at 10:17

The ship I was on had to do an extra call in Montevideo for repairs in 1973/4, we use their floating dry dock and right along side us was the Roston Grange, sad sight very day for for 2 weeks while we had our shaft replace, all the time we was there no one was happy even with shore leave every day.


Bob Thorman
April 28th, 2019 at 21:23

Sailed on the Royston Grange/GFDU as second R/O on my second trip at sea 1963 only stayed in MN until 67 when I got married.

May 10th, 2019 at 15:31

47years anniversary of the passing of many shipmates and friends, but never forgotten. Also the anniversary of Bradford city stadium disaster, where my dominoes partner David Hustler won the Queens gallantry medal for bravery, rescuing several and burns to head, back, both hands. Good to hear that memorial grave Montenegro Video well cared for. MY 70th birthday on May 12th, will raise a glass or three for everyone concerned with both disasters.

January 13th, 2020 at 13:22

Vincent. O Hará David. Revell Was my best friend. An I still think about him to this day. And miss him we spent out childhood together and uncle. Tom. And aunty. Joan never were the same afterwards. It was a terrible tragedy god bless them all.


Pieter Dekker
February 10th, 2020 at 18:42

My uncle Jakob Dekker was killed in this terrible accident. He was born in Holland in 1915 and served with distinction on the gunboat Flores throughout the war.
During the war he married a girl from Newcastle and had one son, also called Pieter. For me and my family uncle Jack will always be our great hero, although he never thought of himself as a hero.


February 23rd, 2020 at 14:00

Patricia Mortensen would like to get in touch with anyone who knew Donald Mcculloch who died in the fire on the Royston Grange.


May 2nd, 2020 at 13:53

Hi Pieter,your uncle Jakob was a wonderful man,well respected as Bosun in Houlder Brothers.In 1968 I was deck apprentice on Hardwicke Grange,loading cargo in La Plata Argentina,and Royston Grange was in Buena Aires,so we four apps caught train to BA and surprised 4apps on Royston,including my Boulevard Nautical schoolmate Stuart Third,who sadly died on RG in 72,we sailed together on Clerk Maxwell,and took them for night out at 25de Mayo bars via Flying Angel seamen’s club.We spent the night on Royston Grange,before returning to La Plata by train.Unfortunately our return tickets were not date transferrable,so we were ejected from the train at Quilmes station by ticket inspector.We spent the last of our funds buying coffee in cafe,then boarded next train to La Plata,returned to ship late,and just on board in time for sailing to Monte Video to complete loading.All four of us were hauled into 53Lead Street for riot act/futures warning.During the visit met Jakob in the seamen’s mission,where everyone was in close harmony.The large crews on the Royston Grange and Hardwicke Grange meant the Bosun,and histwo right hand men,the Carpenter and Lamp trimmer,had to work hard to maintain a happy and efficient crew.48 years now,but never forgotten,even in these troubled times,I will raise a glass,probably several,to all their memories.


Pieter Dekker
May 24th, 2020 at 09:28

Thank you for comment, it is great to hear from you. Uncle Jack was a semi mythical figure for me and my family. I only first saw him when I was 14 years old, he had spent the night with us and when we woke there he was, this big man with beard and moustache. As long as people are remembered, they are in some way still alive. I will drink to his health and yours as well.


John Findlay
June 12th, 2020 at 07:52

Hi Victoria
Yes I new Michael we were at Gravesend sea training school together. The Royston Grange was his 1st trip. He was also top deck trainee at Gravesend.. my email is
kind Regards John Findlay


John Findlay’
June 13th, 2020 at 06:28

Hi Victoria
I was at Gravesend sea training school with Michael end of 1971/72 he was Top deck Trainee in our group.


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