Originally the Richard Wagner, the 1994 ton Hera was owned by Rhederei Aktien of Hamburg. On that February night the Hera was 91 days out of Pisaqua loaded with Chilien nitrates, and closing the Lizard. The weather was rough with a gale blowing, and Captain Lorentz was unsure as to his exact position. He thought to sail slowly into Falmouth bay and pick up the flash of either St. Anthony’s light or the Lizard. As dusk fell the weather steadily worsened and as the hours passed they still saw no shore lights. At about midnight the second mate reported land ahead. Captain Lorentz ordered the Hera put about, but the ship was slow to answer the helm and seconds later the Hera was impaled on Gull Rock.
You can read more about the Hera and the events of the night of 31 January/1 February 1914 by clicking on the link below.
The Centenary Weekend 1-2 February 2014
On the weekend of 1-2 February 2014 the loss of the Hera and her crew, and also the part played by those involved in the rescue was commemorated in Veryan Church with a Requiem Mass and the re-dedication of the grave. On Saturday 1st February there was an exhibition of artefacts, photos and reports which was opened by Bishop Chris Goldsmith (Bishop of St Germans) & Revd Steven Wild (Chairman of Cornwall Methodist District). One of the most amazing events in that memorable ’Hera’ weekend was the visit by Mrs Kathleen Benney (neé Frost) who was the baby in her mother’s arms in the photograph taken in 1914 at the graveside. Mrs Benney came to see the display in the church and was photographed, appropriately, beside her own infant image. That evening there was an evening of song and story to commemorate and remember, with Du Hag Owr, Philleigh Shout, Trounce Guy and Charles Fox.
The Requiem Mass took place on Sunday 2 February at 11 am with Revd Jon Robertshaw preaching and the re-dedication of the memorials by Canon Doug, Ven Roger Bush (Dean of Truro Cathedral) and Revd Mark Dunn-Wilson took place at 3 pm that afternoon with the German Honorary Consul (Plymouth) Mrs Angela Spatz in attendance.
Photos of the weekend can be seen here: Hera Commemoration Weekend 2014
The Wreck Today
In 1959, a group of divers explored the wreck having been taken to the site in the fishing boat of Les Johns and William Arthur Blamey. Among the items recovered were some of the ship’s portholes. A group of divers from the sub-aqua club of RAF St Mawgan began to investigate the wreck in 1970. After many dives they located the wreck and brought up a number of artefacts including links of chain, pulley blocks and lumps of coal stamped with a crown and “Cardiff”. some of these items, along with photographs, were presented to the then landlord of the “New Inn” Veryan for permanent display in the bar. Since the early dives, the wreck has been visited several times with more artifacts recovered.