Spanish naval officers will gather at Mount Carmel Cemetery in St. John’s today to remember 15 Spanish sailors who died when a ship sank off the coast of Newfoundland in 1918.
Retired priest Father John Maddigan conducts a service of remembrance in October 2012 at Mount Carmel Cemetery in St. John’s for 15 Spanish seamen lost in the sinking of the Florizel in 1918. Crew members of a Spanish warship provided an honour guard. The ceremony marked Día de la Raza, the National Day of Spain. — Telegram file photo
Owned by Bowring Brothers, the SS Florizel was carrying 137 people when it crashed into rocks near the Southern Shore community of Cappahayden. Ninety-three crewmembers and passengers died and 44 people were rescued.
The Arnomendi was scheduled to arrive in St. John’s this morning with 39 naval officers on board. Lt.-Cmdr. Carlos Garros commands the vessel, which left Spain on Sept. 3. According to a news release, the patrol boat is taking part in a seasonal campaign to perform monitoring and surveillance tasks relating to fish trawlers, serving as a naval asset for the European Union.
Oct. 12 is known as Día de la Raza — the National Day of Spain. It also coincides with the date that Christopher Colombus first stepped upon New World soil in 1492 after departing from Spain.
Spanish naval officers are expected to parade to the memorial grave site and raise Spain’s national flag to remember the 15 Spanish sailors who died on Feb. 23, 1918.
According to the Archival Moments website, most of the Spanish sailors worked as firemen on the ship, ensuring the engine furnace was fed with coal.
Today’s service is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. The Arnomendi is due to return to its home port in Cartagena, Spain, on Oct. 24.