NOSTALGIA: This week in 1917 and 1962

  • Firsthand account of sinking of SS Transylvania by torpedo in 1917
  • Talks over new bridge over river Haven in 1962

This week in 1917 ...

The Standard carried an account of the sinking of the SS Transylvania from a Boston soldier who had been on board at the time of the attack.

I shall never forget the sight while I live and never want to witness anything like it again.

The passenger liner was torpedoed by German U-boat earlier in the month while carrying Allied troops to Egypt, with the loss of 412 lives.

Among those to survive was Bostonian Pte J. F. Ingamells.

Writing to his family from the Seaman’s Institute, in Savona, Italy, he said: “It was just about one hour from being struck to sinking. I shall never forget the sight while I live and never want to witness anything like it again. We carried about 3,500 aboard and we lost a good many.”

Pte Ingamells said two Japanese destroyers attached to the Transylvania ‘worked hard to pick as many up as possible’ from the water.

“They took us to Italy and I must say that the Italians were most good to us and we cannot speak too highly of them,” he said. “I shall never forget their kindness. They buried 14 of our men and the captain of the ship on Sunday and all Savano turned out to follow, even the school children. It was a long march to the cemetery. There were placards everywhere with the words ‘in honour of the English’.”

This week in 1962 ...

A party from the Boston Highways Committee was to travel to London for talks with the Ministry of Transport and the Government’s Fine Art Commission in a bid to accelerate plans for a new bridge over the Haven.

Chairman C. Valentine said: “We have accepted the suggestion of traffic lights at the end of the bridge in South End in order to meet the Fine Art Commission’s objective and to enable the work to go ahead. We didn’t do so with a great deal of relish, but we are anxious to get the scheme moving as quickly as possible and our acceptance was on the definite understanding that it would not prejudice our demand for a roundabout in South End should experience provide this to be necessary.”

- A new golf course for Boston was set to open at Cowbridge.

The previous course, at Fishtoft, was flooded when a freak tide burst the banks of the Witham in 1949.

Speaking at the opening, Mayor of Boston Coun R. H. Jenkin said it was a ‘great pity’ that the town had been without a course for so long.

“But I have nothing but praise for the people who have been responsible for this present venture,” he added. “Only four months ago, this was a grassland farm.”