Ex Conisbrough Couple Aboard the Lakonia

South Yorkshire Times, December 28.

Ex Conisbrough Couple Aboard the Lakonia


From Wikipedia: The TSMS Lakonia was a Greek-owned cruise-liner which caught fire and sank on December 22, 1963 with the loss of 128 lives.

Among the passengers of the ill-fated liner Lakonia were a former Conisbrough man, his wifeand 13 years old daughter, Mr and Mrs William Redfern and their daughter, now living in Farnley Tyas, Huddersfield.

“The latest news we received about my brother and his family was that his wife and their daughter had been picked up by the Montcalm and were heading for Casablanca with about 200 other survivors,” said Mr Retford sister, Mrs Edith Urch, of Church Street, Conisbrough, on Tuesday morning.

“However, no news as yet been received of my brother and we are awaiting in hope that we hear something very soon.”

“This was the first time Diana had been on a cruise of this type, although Bill and his wife have been on several since living in Huddersfield,” she added.

First News

Mrs Urch continue: “We have first heard of the disaster early on Monday morning on the radio news bulletin. We knew immediately that that was the ship they were in so we quickly tried to get in touch with the Greek Shipping Line. We were unable to get through.

Bill’s other daughter, Julie, now married and living in Lepton, Huddersfield, then got in touch with those and said she had heard from the shipping line, the local police, her mother and Diana were safe on-board the Montcalm. She was awaiting news of her father.

Mr Redfern left Conisbrough over 20 years ago, has a brother in Conisbrough, Mr George Redfern, and sisters in Sheffield, Peterborough and once. He also has a brother in Bournemouth. He worked at Edlington Colliery for many years and then at the works of David Brown in Huddersfield during the war. He now has a bookmaker’s business.

“We are all very anxious and we shall keep on trying the shipping office until we have got some news,” added Mr John Urch. He and his wife own a drapery business in Conisbrough.

He Waited!

A local man was due to board the Lakonia next week for a seven-week cruise was Conisbrough coach proprietor Mr W. Swift, of Crookhill Road. He was awaiting the return of the vessel and would have boarded her at Southampton.

“I don’t know what will materialise,” said Mr Swift this week. “I have my tickets, shipping times, and everything, and was expected to leave for Southampton on Sunday.”

He added: Last year I was on board the Arkadia, one of the ship sent to take part in the rescue operation. This year it was to have been the Lakonia

“I could quite easily have been on-board. I decided to wait until after Christmas to set out, and this seems to have been the wisest thing.”

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