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Rescue Attempt
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Rescue Attempt

Attempting to rescue the crew of SS Giralda which was bombed off
South Ronaldsay. The crew were all lost. The capsized lifeboat
can be seen in the centre of the photo.
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Picture added on 30 October 2008
Where is this? is it on the eastside? Can we have more info please?
Very tragic, what was it all for, this is a fitting time to be reminded of the horror of war.
Added by John Budge on 02 November 2008
George Esson's book "For Freedom & Honour" gives an account of this tragedy. The SS Giralda was sailing from Ayr to Kirkwall carrying coal. SE of Grimness she was attacked by two German aircraft and left ablaze. Their lifeboat capsized before reaching shore and the crew of 23 were drowned.
Added by Bill Sinclair on 03 November 2008
Thank you Bill and thank you for all the wonderful photos you have posted to this site we can never get enough of this sort of material.
Added by John Budge on 05 November 2008
I have a scale model of the Giralda which was made by my Grandfather, Walter Colvin, believed to be the ship's engineer. I am trying to find out if he was still on the crew in 1940, he was not on board the day she sank. Does anyone know when he left this vessel ?
Added by Denise Farwell (nee Colvin) on 12 January 2009
Shetland museum archive photo NE02001 [is a picture of a member of the crew. To see this and other pictures, click here.]
Added by M.Nicolson on 12 January 2009
One of the men lost was Donald Farquhar from Sandwick, Shetland. His son Don is usually on the crew of the "Swan". He was in Bill Peace's hoose in Stronsay wan night and Bill had some coal he had dredged off the Girlada. Bill mentioned this as he threw some coal on the fire and Don telt him aboot his fether being lost on her. It must have been horrible seeing the poor men and not being able to help them.
Added by Bill Miller on 24 November 2009
Your story of Don Farquar,s dad being lost on the Giralda is most intresting Bill. I have known Don for a long time, I suppose 30 years, but was not aware of the story of the Giralda.

Visiting Shetland a long time ago I was shocked to see the numbers of men who lost their lives during the wars, a great number being lost at sea in the Merchant Service and in the Naval Reserve.

Shetland men went to sea much more so than Orcadians as there was not the good land to gain employment from as here in Orkney. I remember visiting a war memorial on Burra Isle and being shocked at the numbers lost from that small island. We must remember there was more loss off life in the Merchant Navy than the Army the Airforce and Royal Navy put together and only very recently were they recognised for there massive input to our victory over the enemy during hostility.
Added by John Budge on 30 November 2009
An unfortunately named ship. In August 1918,the armed merchant ship, the 1,100 ton 'SS Giralda' was torpedoed by a U-boat 5nm off Whitby whilst returning to the Tyne from London.
A Spanish vessel (2,194 tons) of the same name was also lost to a U-boat of Cape Guardia in January of the same year.
Added by Dave Dawson on 04 December 2009
My grand father was Jesse Bradley a fireman/trimmer on the Giralda has anyone any information or photographs please.
Added by George Jesse Perrin on 03 November 2019
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South Ronaldsay

Derelict building near BurwickSt Peter's Kirk, Eastside, South RonaldsaySouth Ronaldsay from Olad viewpointPort side lounge on MV AlfredCar deck on the new MV AlfredUpper desk of MV AlfredSS CollingdocAncient croft fireplaceEarl's Palace and St Magnus Cathedral, colourisedNorth Walls School day out