GUERNSEY HISTORY 

13th September 1959
Schoolboys and teacher went missing off Sark

French and maths school teacher Colin Noble had a plan to sail from Sark to either Winchester or Bosham. He roped in his friend John Clewett, chartered a three-sail yacht called Rohilla, and brought along six students for the ride. The boys were all enrolled at Kingham School, Oxfordshire, and aged between 14 and 16.

The teacher and his crew left Sark at 4pm on Sunday 13 September, but the alarm was raised when their time of arrival had come and long gone. Something terrible had happened.

A sea search

Coastguards at Portland Bill reported seeing a yacht that looked like the Rohilla, a converted lifeboat, five days later. They hadn’t been close enough to make a positive identification, but claimed that she seemed not to be having any problems at that time.

Soon, though, search teams from both the UK and France, including four minesweepers that had been on exercises, had headed out into the Channel in search of the boat. All they found was a buoy bearing its name. A small dinghy, also from the boat, soon washed up on a Cornish beach.

The Admiralty declared on 21 September that “through some unknown cause, Rohilla has been lost without trace”. This was seemingly confirmed when three bodies were discovered. Noble, who had been an experienced sailor, which washed up at Ventnor on the Isle of Wight. Two of the students were found a few weeks later. One washed up on a Cornish beach on 10 October; another was recovered from the sea. No trace was ever found of the other four who had been aboard.

There are several theories as to what had happened. The weather was worsening as they headed north so they may have been capsized – but might also have struck another vessel. The pupil who had been recovered from the sea, Robin Green, was determined to have died of shock, which would have supported this latter theory.

Category: Guernsey History | Other events tagged ,

Check out The Sarnian’s email newsletter for Guernsey history, features, puzzles and pictures. It’s also the first place where you’ll find out about the Sarnian series of books, including sneak previews and discounts.

We will never sell your data to third parties, and there’s an unsubscribe link in every email, so you can leave whenever you like.

What else happened in Guernsey in September?

Guernsey history newsletter

Check out The Sarnian’s email newsletter for Guernsey history, features, puzzles and pictures. It’s also the first place where you’ll find out about the Sarnian series of books, including sneak previews and discounts.

We will never sell your data to third parties, and there’s an unsubscribe link in every email, so you can leave whenever you like.

* indicates required

The Sarnian

The Sarnian Book 1: Dead in the Water

A body on a beach, an impossible alibi and an unstoppable race against time!

Check out the first book in The Sarnian series, set on the Channel Island of Guernsey.

Click here to get your copy today…

November in Guernsey through the years…

Guernsey hosts its first marathon

26th November 1909

A plane crashes on Crevichon

19th November 1940

Horticultural painter William Caparne is born

17th November 1855

Jethou tenant falls off his own cliff

14th November 1954

Guernsey Yacht Club is founded

12th November 1890

Sarnian secrets

Sign up to The Sarnian's occasional newsletter for updates on your favourite characters and locations, to go behind the scenes on the writing process, and for early-bird discounts on every new book. We promise not to share your details with anyone else, and you can easily unsubscribe whenever you choose.
* indicates required

Search the archiveWarning