Murder at Angra Pequeña, by Gordon McGregor
Gordon McGregor did research on the old story of an incident that happened in 1863 at Angra Pequeña during the American Civil War and is about the wilful murder of a sailor.
In the many years that I have been researching the history of Namibia there was always one name at the lagoon at the town of Luderitz that fascinated me and that was where the bay known as 'Griffith Bay' got its name from. Every other name in and around Luderitz was German with this name being English apart from that of 'Radford Bay', it stood out like a sore thumb. Upon enquiry with various older inhabitants of Luderitz, the naming of Radford Bay was quickly cleared up to my satisfaction. That of how 'Griffith Bay' got its name ran something as follows and is even printed in information brochures available at the town today: During the Civil War in America (1861-1865) the Confederate Ship 'CSS Alabama' used Angra Pequeña, today known as Luderitz as a base. The frigate 'USS Vanderbilt', of the northern states discovered her there and a battle then ensued between the two of them in the lagoon at Angra Pequeña. After the 'USS Vanderbilt'captured the ship 'Saxonlying at anchor in Radford Bay, the First Officer of the 'Saxon', Griffith, left the ship and remained with David Radford at his house at Radford Bay. Griffith lived with David Radford for a while and they became good friends. After the battle between the ships, Griffith was shot for mutiny by the First Officer of the 'USS Vanderbilt' and buried by his friend Radford in the bay now called Griffith Bay. This sounded good, a battle in the lagoon at Luderitz (Angra Pequeña) all those years ago and even mutiny on one of the ships involved, good historical story! This I accepted as a relatively unknown aspect of Namibia's historical connection with the American Civil War.
However, after reading a book on the CSS Alabama during the course of last year it triggered my mind again, on how Griffith Bay got its name. Nowhere in the Alabama publication was there mention of a battle at Angra Pequeña and according to the book, the only person killed on the British ship Saxon was a certain Mr. James Grey, the First Mate of the Saxon. Now I really was confused as to who was in the right - the old Luderitz residents or the publication! This now prompted me to get to the bottom of what had now become an issue with me, and then started researching the battle that took place there during the American Civil War. Lo and behold, it became very clear to me after I contacted the United States Naval Archives in Washington D.C. and receiving information from them on the cruises of both the CSS Alabama and the USS Vanderbilt that the above story was very incorrect indeed! [...]
This is an excerpt from the book: Murder at Angra Pequeña, by Gordon McGregor.
Title: Murder at Angra Pequeña
Subtitle: James Grey shot and killed! 30 October 1863
Author: Gordon McGregor
Publisher: Namibia Scientific Society
Windhoek, Namibia 2012
ISBN 9789994576111 / ISBN 978-99945-76-11-1 Namibia
Softcover, 15x21 cm, 56 pages, numerous b/w photos
McGregor, Gordon im Namibiana-Buchangebot
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