Search uncovers sea tragedy off the coast of Mablethorpe

Lance and Sneha Gray pictured in Mablethorpe.
Lance and Sneha Gray pictured in Mablethorpe.

A COUPLE’S return to their ancestral home revealed a shocking discovery of a tragedy at sea.

Lance and Sneha Gray, of New Zealand and currently living in Newcastle, came back to the area this month on a visit to find Lance’s great-great-grandfather’s gravestone.

The headstone of John Gray.

The headstone of John Gray.

They found John Gray’s grave in Trusthorpe St Peter’s churchyard, but when they cleaned back the 127-year-old headstone they saw the following words:

John Gray of Mablethorpe aged 36

“While sailing in an open boat

Not very far from shore

It overturned and this young man

Soon sank to rise no more”

The couple were shocked to see that their great-great-grandfather had died in what appeared to be a tragedy at sea.

Sneha, currently living in Newcastle for a year, said: “We knew John was from Mablethorpe and came back to see what we could find after doing a year’s research, but we had no idea he’d died at sea.

“We looked around at newspaper reports and asked around 
but found no sea disasters in 1885. We could only find one in 1883.

“We know his wife lived at 81 Victoria Road in Mablethorpe, which we found.”

John Gray, born in 1848, had left behind a pregnant wife, Caroline Bateman, and three young children, John Henry, Gertrude and Harold, the fourth born after his death was Alice Maud.

Harold Gray moved to New Zealand in 1913 and was Lance’s great-grandfather.

The couple are appealing for anyone who knew of John through their parents or grandparents, or who might know what happened to his boat, to get in touch.

Sneha can be contacted on snehapaul@yahoo.com .