Visit in Hastings, Ch Ch, Barbados to HMS Dauntless’ memorial at St Mathias church

In a quiet corner of the Caribbean, crew members from the latest HMS DAUNTLESS remember their predecessors.

In St Matthias churchyard, Barbados lies an often forgotten reminder of the hardships that sailors used to endure. Local military historian, Maj Mike Hartland, invited members of the modern Type 45 destroyer HMS DAUNTLESS’s ship’s company to join him for a visit to the memorial.

HMS Dauntless Lt Cdr Eleanor Slack (right) with Major Mike Hartland at St Mathias church

The memorial stands in remembrance of the crew of Her Majesty’s Screw Frigate ‘Dauntless’, 33 guns, which arrived in Carlisle Bay, Barbados on 15th November 1852 with yellow fever on board. The kindness and assistance afforded to the warship by the islanders at that time is immortalised by the memorial. The ship with a crew of 330 personnel was badly affected by the disease which took a heavy toll killing 85 men, almost half the number of the modern-day HMS DAUNTLESS’s crew. The ship remained in Barbados receiving medical aid until 21st March 1853 by which time she was clear of disease and able to continue her journey homewards.

“Our visit to the memorial was very humbling and served as a stark reminder of how lucky we are in the modern Royal Navy, when we have ‘state of the art’ medical facilities and the means or ability to get our sailors to hospitals and specialist assistance quickly,” said Lt Cdr Eleanor Stack, the ship’s Operations Officer. “I would much rather serve in the modern version of HMS DAUNTLESS than have had to endure what those sailors did in those days,” she added.

The modern Type 45 is the latest ship to bear the name HMS DAUNTLESS and is also now on her homeward journey, having been away from the UK for five months and having circumnavigated the Atlantic. The ship called into Bridgetown, Barbados for fuel and stores prior to commencing the final phase of her deployment, conducting a multi national maritime exercise in the region and carrying out Counter Narcotic patrols throughout the Caribbean. The ship will arrive back in the UK in late October.

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