A Flock of Ships
Buy and Download >
Early 1941. Her Morse-keyed scream for help was loud, clear — and indisputable.
MV CYCLOPS TO ALL SHIPS: URGENT RELAY TO ADMIRALTY — TORPEDOED AND SINKING… MASTER AND OFFICERS DEAD: NO HOPE OF SAVING SHIP… WE ARE ABANDONING…
Far to the south of any South Atlantic navigational route lies the barren and deserted island of Quintanilha de Almeida. According to all records it has remained unvisited for decades yet, when a Royal Navy survey ship finally ventures into its land-enshrouded inner lake, her incredulous crew are confronted by a seemingly impossible sight… the incinerated hulk of a once-mighty cargo liner, the monstrously compacted bones of a less identifiable vessel and — their most bizarre discovery of all — the virtually undamaged corpse of a second British freighter riding docilely at anchor.
Even her name and port of registry under the forlorn, rusting counter can still be clearly distinguished… she's the 'Cyclops', out of Liverpool.
Yet such a situation cannot exist outwith a seaman's worst nightmare. Because 'Cyclops' was known to have been lost with all hands as a result of a Second World War U-boat action well over a quarter of a century previously. And, even more inexplicably — to have sunk in deep water several hundred miles distant from where she has now, apparently, been found without a single living soul aboard…
First published November 27th 1986.