Chris Holden

Flintshire man to unveil unseen underwater film of Wales’s greatest shipwreck

Royal Charter


From Flintshire Chronicle


Never-seen-before underwater footage of Wales’s greatest shipwreck will be premiered next month – thanks to the work of a Flintshire couple.

The steam clipper Royal Charter, which was built in Sandycroft, was smashed against rocks off Moelfre, Anglesey, by the storm of the century – a Force 12 hurricane – with the loss of least 459 passengers and crew on October 26, 1859.

The ship was returning from Melbourne to Liverpool and laden with gold.

The film will be shown by diver Chris Holden, from Higher Kinnerton, who is treasurer of the Chester Branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC).

Chris and his wife Lesley wrote of one of the definitive works on the tragedy – Life and Death on The Royal Charter.

He will show the video as part of a lecture on the 2,719-ton Royal Charter at the Chester Grosvenor Museum on October 25 – the eve of the 152nd anniversary of the tragedy.

Mary Tetley, chief executive of the British Sub-Aqua Club, said: “Chris and Lesley have done a phenomenal job in researching the story of the Royal Charter and the lecture will give us a new and fascinating insight into this maritime catastrophe.”

Along with unseen footage, the showing will be the first opportunity for many to see artefacts from the wreck.

Chris, who has dived the wreck since 1982, will also have at his talk Raymond Agius, a direct descendant of the heroic crewman Joseph Rogers (born Guze Ruggier in Malta), who – incredibly – managed to swim ashore with a rope helping to save lives.

Twenty-one passengers and 18 crew survived.


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