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NC researching yachts built by Thornycroft. NC sent us an e-mail: “I am researching yachts built by Thornycroft. I am particularly interested in one that was taken over by the Navy, and I believe was lost in the area of Falmouth. The yacht was called the Anna Maria, later known as the Torrent. I believe that some of her crew were buried in Polperro. Any information you can give will be much appreciated. ”.
The yacht in question was in fact called the Anne Marie, and was built by Thornycroft’s at their Woolston yard in 1930, for V. Graae. She is mentioned in the company’s history 100 Years of Specialized Shipbuilding and Engineering. She was hired by the Admiralty in September 1939, and employed as an anti-submarine yacht. Some time later she was re-named Torrent, and was sunk by a mine off Falmouth on 7 April 1941. It is very possible that some of the bodies of her crew were washed up near Polperro, but we are unable to verify this.
Although staffed by informed volunteers the Bartlett Library, National Maritime Museum Cornwall, still has considerable costs overheads to cover. Thus we have to make a modest charge for in-depth research, and all too often the ‘free hour’ of research that we are able to offer as a tempter can only reveal some basic facts about the subject in question. By the time an initial search has been made, and an answer written, one hour quickly disappears. The above query fell within this category. Time constraints prevented us from checking either the Falmouth Pilotage ledgers, or the Harbourmaster’s journals for references to the Anna Maire – Torrent.
Similarly we were unable to check the many books about shipwrecks off the coasts of Cornwall, but Richard and Bridget Larn’s Shipwreck Index of the British Isles, did give a brief report of her loss by mine and a wreck position of 50. 05. 41N; 04. 58.
30W. We didn’t have time to compare this report with that published in ‘Lloyd’s War Losses’ which in fact differs slightly with the above – giving the position of her loss as 50. 05. 10N; 04. 57.
25W. We were unable to discover why she was subsequently re-named by the Admiralty, and we were unable to give any time to the point about some of the crew being buried near Polperro. And had we had time to give the subject some lateral thought we could have suggested that as the Cornwall Family History Society had recently undertaken [or is undertaking] a survey of Cornish grave yards, monuments and memorials, they might have been able to answer this point. The whole point of this postscript being that research takes time, and a one hour ‘free search’ can often only scratch the surface of a subject.
Please note, as our exhibitions change regularly, the boats, objects and pictures featured in this section may not now be on display in the museum. Please contact us on 01326 313388 for further information.