Diving club seeks Methlick captain’s family

Severnside scuba divers Nigel Braybrooke, left, and Leon Smith have been exploring the wreck.
Severnside scuba divers Nigel Braybrooke, left, and Leon Smith have been exploring the wreck.

Scuba divers have launched an appeal to find the relatives of a Merchant Navy captain from Methlick whose ship was torpedoed in the English Channel in World War 1.

Arthur Ligertwood Murrison, who was master of the SS Baygitano, survived the sinking in 1918 - which claimed two lives - but according to records discovered by the scuba team, he died a year later in France aged 58.

It would be fantastic to find relatives of Captain Murrison

Nigel Braybrooke Nautical historian

SS Baygitano was sunk by U-boat UC-77 in Lyme Bay while travelling from Le Havre in France to Cardiff, and both the first mate and fourth engineer were killed in the attack.

The vessel lies around 60 feet down off Lyme Regis and the Severnside branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club have been exploring and investigating the wreck for the last three years. They recently won an award for their archaeological efforts.

They are planning a dive at the exact time of the sinking to mark the centenary on March 18, 2018.

It is part of the Nautical Archaeology Society’s ‘Lost Beneath the Waves 1914-1918’ initiative.

In the meantime, the group wants to trace the captain’s relatives.

Club member and nautical historian Nigel Braybrooke said: “I will be trying to locate relatives of anyone who may have served on her at the time of the sinking, especially Captain Murrison and the two casualties, first mate Frederick Rudolph Richards and fourth engineer Harold John Chinn.

“If anyone can help locate descendants or has any further information on the Baygitano I would urge them to get in touch via Severnside Sub Aqua Club.”

He added: “We have a small amount of information about Captain Murrison including that he was married in May, 1900, to Annie Donaldson in South America.

“The couple had two daughters, Annie Murrison, who died in July, 1999, in Maryland, USA, and Agnes Hastie Murrison who died in March, 1995, in Perthshire.

“It would be fantastic to find relatives of Captain Murrison so we can share our project with them, particularly the dive we are planning on the centenary.”

Nigel said the wreck lies flat on the seabed and has provided the club with an excellent training dive site as well as an intriguing project.

The club can be contacted by email at info@severnsidesac.com

Anyone watning more information, or with details on the SS Baygitano, can visit www.severnsidesac.com or follow @severnsidesac on Twitter.