Robert (Bobby) Tatton Brown (1913-1990) and Peter Tatton Brown (1921-2009) wrote about their Uncle Neville: "He was a strange person. He was a yachtsman and published articles in the Yachting World and Marine Motor Journal of 1910. He gave a description of a single handed sail across the channel to Le Havre. He had a fifteen and a half foot clinker built, sloop rigged, half-decked boat with a fixed keel.
During the war he fought in France reaching the rank of Major. He never recovered from the experiences of the war. He went out to Australia sometime in the 1920s. He went out in a sailing ship. He had married Helen Blagg in 1914 and they had a daughter Teresa. He sailed back from Australia in the Herzogen Cecilie, a full rigged ship which was wrecked on the south coast. Teresa used to stay with us at Tonbridge quite often until she married a Canadian and had a daughter."
The 3111 tons gross Herzogin Cecilie of Mariahamn, Finland, was a full-rigged, steel hulled, four-masted sailing ship which cost £43,000 to build at Bremerhaven in 1902. She was a crack cadet training ship for the Norddeutscher Lloyd Shipping Company for twelve years until interned in Chile at the outbreak of World War I where she remained until 1920. In 1921 she was purchased by Captain Gustaf Eriksson, who used her to make record runs in the annual 'grain-races' between Australia and Europe. In January 1936, one of sixteen ships in the 'race', she reached Falmouth in a record -breaking 86 days.
On leaving for Ipswich, she struck the Ham Stone at 4.0am in fog. The Salcombe lifeboat, Alfred & Clara Heath, took off most of the crew. She lay stranded for seven weeks before being towed into Starehole Bay, being refused permission to enter Salcombe in case she sank and blocked the harbour. Of the 52,514 bags of wheat she carried, only 464 tons were saved, the rest rotting on board and creating dreadful pollution as the wreck broke up in 1939. Her ship's wheel is preserved at Bradley Manor.
Mostly from Shipwrecks of Devon
R & B Larn.