Scilly’s School Could Help Commemorate Sir Cloudesley Shovell


Porthellick Beach where Cloudesley Shovell's body was found.

Porthellick Beach where Cloudesley Shovell’s body was found.

School children in Scilly will be asked whether they want to help commemorate the anniversary of a famous nautical innovation, born out of a tragedy here in Scilly.

Sir Cloudesley Shovell, the captain of the Royal Navy fleet, drowned when his ship, the HMS Association, hit the Gilstone in 1707.

It was Britain’s greatest naval disaster with 2,000 deaths from sailors on board all the ships wrecked.

This year is the 300th anniversary of the establishment of the ‘Board of Longitude’ by the British government.

They launched a competition to find an accurate method to plot longitude, to help avoid a repeat of the navigational errors that brought such a loss of life.

It eventually resulted in the invention of the John Harrison marine chronometer in 1773.

Schools in Shovell’s hometown of Crayford in South East London are pursuing Heritage Lottery funding to make an animation and documentary about the legendary figure.

Peter Daniel from the Crayford Town Archive says he’d like his town’s children to work with youngsters in Scilly to design a more fitting memorial to Shovell for Westminster Abbey.

He’s going to approach the Five Islands School, after speaking with historian and HMS Association expert Richard Larn.

Peter says he’ll be on the islands this summer with his children, to visit Shovell’s memorial at Porthellick.

He’s been buying Association artefacts online from St Mary’s diver Terry Hiron to show the children in Kent, including coins and a portable sundial.

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