Drogheda Independent

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Remembering Gabriel who died after fall on board ship

It was just before Christmas 1970 - 50 years ago this year - when Gabriel Silva Cardoso (44), a native of Cape Verde, off the west coast of Africa, lost his life.

He was on board the Friars Craig when he fell into the hold as it prepared to sail from Drogheda port.

He was rushed to hospital but died the following day, Christmas Eve.

He was a married father of six.

In January 1971, the Corporation met and proposed a vote of sympathy with his relatives and friends and also thanked all who had helped him, both at the port when the accident happened and in the Lourdes hospital.

Gabriel was buried in St Peter's Cemetery, but without any family.

Now, 50 years on, Michael Twohig wants to honour his old friend with a permanent memorial on his grave.

'I was 21 when Gabriel died. He was a saint of a man, from Cape Verde, a Portuguese colony at the time.

'In the summer of 1970, I was on the Friars Craig with him and we hit a storm off Lands End. We travelled two miles in seven hours, but managed to get around and into Penzance, but the boat was wrecked,' he stated.

He was later shocked to learn about Gabriel's death and he didn't know where he was buried until he began a search for the grave, recently returning to Drogheda to see it.

Gabriel was married with six kids and Michael wondered what became of them after his death.

'I hope to put a stone up to him as he's 50 years there,' Michael added.

The Friars Craig was skuttled off Barbados in 1985 and today is a spot where divers come to explore the ocean.

Drogheda Independent