Roumelian 1932



The 2600 ton steamer Roumelian of Liverpool collided with the SS St Nazare 24 miles south west of the Needles. The St Nazare continued her journey while the Roumelian limped towards the safety of the Solent. She had 56 crew and passengers and was taking in water fast.

When the maroon went off the Sunday evening service in Brook Church was interrupted and abandoned and the lifeboat quickly launched :

…the rector is in the middle of an eloquent sermon – and very good sermons they are; he has preached many at St Martin’s in the Fields. The windows suddenly shook with the reverberation of the maroon.

The rector then said: ‘I would suggest that we conclude the service.  I have been in telephonic communication with the coastguard, and I know that the vessel in distress is being assisted by the Yarmouth lifeboat. Moreover, in any case, should our services be required it will take half-an-hour for the crew and horses to assemble, and I think it would be best for me to conclude my address, and give you a benediction.’

Whereupon the faithful gardener who rows number three in the lifeboat (Joe Morris) started up from the choir in his surplice and said quite loudly: ‘Well chaps, that be right enough, but I ‘lows we five had better go now and see what is doing;’

And without another word, out filed the whole of the adult members of the choir. I have been told, though I was not present, as I should have been, that the rector’s closing words were of great eloquence,  and that the benediction was delivered in record time.

Launch, JEB Seely