Pocket watch found off Welsh coast returned- after 130 years!August 19th, 2009 - 2:36 pm ICT by ANI
London, Aug 19 (ANI): A silver pocket watch, which was lost 130 years ago, has finally being returned to the family of its owner.
The watch belonging to one Captain Richard Prichard lay at the bottom of the ocean for over a century.
Rich Hughes, a diver, spotted the watch in the sand as he explored a shipwreck sunk off the Welsh coast.
After bringing it to the surface, he saw the words “Richard Prichard 1866 Abersoch North Wales” engraved on the casing and set out in search of the family.
“I was amazed that the watch was in such good condition after laying at the bottom of the sea for generations,” the Telegraph quoted Hughes, 38, as saying.
“As soon as I saw the name it started me thinking about Richard Prichard.
“I knew he would be the master and commander of the ship - none of the crew would be able to afford a valuable timepiece,” he added.
Hughes discovered Prichard was the captain of the Barbara, a square-rigged barque which came to grief during a storm off the Pembrokeshire coast in 1881. He had mysteriously died earlier during the voyage to pick up a cargo of rice from Burma.He was buried at sea and a new master, known only as Captain Jones, became the watch’s custodian - probably intending to give it to the Prichard family after arriving in Liverpool.
However, the vessel was hit by a storm and the Barbara sank off the village of Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire, in November 1881.
Hughes, of Fishguard, Pembrokeshire, used the internet to scan old manuals and shipping records and also took help of amateur historian David Roberts to trace Capt Prichard’s family.
The watch will be handed to retired dentist Owen Cowell, of Pwllheli, North Wales later this month.
Cowell’s grandmother was Captain Prichard’s cousin, making him the closest surviving family member.
“I am delighted the watch has come home after all these years,” said Cowell.
“It has come as a complete surprise to me that my ancestors had such a colourful, seafaring past,” he added. (ANI)
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Tags: abersoch, amateur historian, barque, bottom of the ocean, captain jones, captain richard, david roberts, fishguard, freshwater west, historian david, master and commander, north wales, pembrokeshire coast, pocket watch, prichard, pwllheli, rich hughes, shipping records, surviving family, welsh coast