Friday 19 January 2018

Mystery of anniversary Mass lady is solved

SOME weeks ago I wrote about an anniversary Mass held in St Peter's Church in the second part of August each year.

From what I knew it was a lady from Co Wicklow that organised it and it recalled an incident in 1951

On August 7th, 1951 Christopher and Raphael Gogarty from Palace Street left Deauville in Northern France on board the Laguna Bay with the skipper Gilbert C Berry, Michael Sahl and Donald Adderly, from Ushford, Middlesex.

Christopher (26) was on the engineering staff of the ESB in Drogheda while Raphael (21) worked in a boot factory and lived with his parents at 4 Palace Street.

What happened to the Laguna Bay no-one knew.. The channel had been stormy and it is presumed the vessel sank en route to Southampton. Three bodies were washed ashore in September 1951, but not the Drogheda men.

Raphael O'Donnell from Cabinteely filled me in a little bit more.

' The lady you refer to, who organises the anniversary Mass is my mother, Kitty O'Donnell (nee Gogarty) the youngest sister of Christopher and Raphael Gogarty, who now resides in Carlow,' he revealed.

'My mother married some years after the incident and as was the life of a bank official and family at that time, she subsequently left Drogheda and lived in a number of locations in the Midlands before retiring to Carlow with her husband, Walter in 1984.

'As far as I am aware my mother has been arranging this anniversary mass for many decades, probably since soon after the tragedy in 1951.'

Kitty maintained an interest in Drogheda over the years, through reading the Drogheda Independent and also contact with friends and relatives.

'Of course a lot of time has passed since and much of the Drogheda she knew has changed. However, she still maintains a connection with Drogheda through another ritual, once a year she still visits Drogheda, prays and lays flowers at the family graves, visits the town centre and of course St Peters Church.'

Six of the eight Gogarty children have since passed on. Mary, now 96, resides in a Nursing home in Dublin and Kitty lives independently in Carlow town.

But whatever happened to the brothers remains an unsolved mystery.

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