The Marchioness Disaster – 20th August 1989 – London, England

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    Still interested in your Marchioness song, though, Tom!

    Good times.


    Flared trousers psyopping. Still in vogue in the late 80s, so it seems.

    Don’t tip the boat over!

    Things change. People move on, but I’m just left with that end-of-show-party feeling. ”Hey, that was cool. Yeh, see ya later. Take it easy”.

    Remember Tom, there also was that beginning-of-show-party feeling? Beer, wine, crisps, you put on some 80s and 70s records, who will be the first to show up…


    Putting on another record. All aboard!



    Now this survivor story made me wonder.


    It turns out this survivor is a scuba diver/photographer.


    This is the passage which caught my eye alongside the over-elaborate and amazingly remembered story of the near drowning and rescue in treacherous and chilly waters with no scuba equipment:

    He was taken to St Thomas’s Hospital, where he discharged himself after a few hours, sitting alone in a cubicle with a blanket wrapped around him. There were, he says matter-of-factly, other people who needed the doctors more than he did.

    Totally unbelievable. Heroic.



    Once again, is that really the best photo of a loved one which can be dredged up by either former girlfriend or mother or model agency or band [see below]?

    Model Simon Senior, who was 20 years old, was also on board.

    Mr Senior modelled for ID magazine, lived with his girlfriend on west London’s trendy King’s Road and played bass guitar in a band.

    “He was creative, artistic and had an amazing sense of humour,” says his mother Judy Wellington. “He just cut to the chase and made you laugh in seconds.
    “He had this need to be successful. There weren’t many black models and he just wanted to be the best.”
    On board the Marchioness, Mr Senior was with a woman on the dance floor but when the craft crashed they were thrown apart.
    He escaped into the river water outside the vessel and started trying to swim to shore but the current was against him.
    for the 25th anniversary.

    A few days later, a body matching Mr Senior’s description was found in the river near HMS Belfast.

    so close, with strong tides? By whom?
    Senior is also a key name in the excavation of the missing hands rabbit hole:

    Relatives found out about the removal of the hands by accident when a funeral director told the family of Simon Senior that his hands were missing.

    allegedly; like funeral directors would blab
    March 20 2001

    But Senior brings me to another survivor account: that of Annette Russell
    2004, a 15th anniversary special revelation:

    another high quality image, you’ll agree

    “Because of where I was on the boat, I saw everything. I was on the deck facing the direction we were going and a friend, Howard, was facing the direction we were coming from.

    “He pointed to the dredger, the Bowbelle, and said, ‘Annette, look at that. It’s going to hit us.’ I looked over my shoulder and saw it as it slammed into us.

    “I instinctively dived off the boat, went underneath, and, as I came up, mine was the only head in the water. I remember it being completely silent. I could see The Marchioness was vertical and had already half-sunk. Then I was pulled back underwater and was taken by the current.

    “I had this euphoric feeling that I was drowning. I know it sounds a peculiar thing to say but, for anybody who has lost someone in a drowning accident, it isn’t a bad way to go.

    “The current carried me through the arches of Southwark Bridge, I went under again and as I did I can remember thinking: ‘I can’t die before my Mum and Dad.’ Then I popped up again and there were heads everywhere in the water and lots of screaming.”

    A strong swimmer, Annette reached the banks of the Thames and, with other survivors, was taken to hospital in one of a fleet of ambulances and then on to the Howard Hotel, which is right on the Embankment. The police were using the hotel as an information centre and as a place where they could question survivors.

    Seems familiar – a debriefing station. Is this where Andrew Sutton went?
    Also curious is the failure to describe the direction the Marchioness was going in. Every tourist even to London will know east, west, upsteam and downstream. Yet Russell just describes it as a general direction of motion. No matter.

    Tom Dalpra

    Here he comes, barging in like the Bowbelle; like old 5 pints in the afternoon Dougy driving that dredger over that poor little Marchioness. It’s the Flying Dutchman himself.

    Welkom rgos, pull up a pleasure cruiser, put on a couple of records, have a cheese puff or perhaps a drink. May I recommend Magda Allan’s Thames water. ”Soothing and smooth, like honey’

    Now, here it is! Does this work? It’s the (quite dull I think) demo of the song I recorded in memory of The Marchioness victims with the Katrina and the Waves guys.

    Kim, who is my good friend in The Waves, wrote the song – he’s written better I think. I was called in by the management for the vocal.

    Not very good was my verdict at the time. I couldn’t really feel it and wasn’t that surprised when nothing came of it. The bagpipes at the end seem a bit out of place too.

    Interesting that perhaps an angle was seen with that one. Where did that idea come from I wonder? There’s a point where this stuff becomes not so much ‘close to home’ as ‘in your home’!

    And No! It wasn’t my idea haha 🙂


    Tom Dalpra

    Relatives found out about the removal of the hands by accident when a funeral director told the family of Simon Senior that his hands were missing.

    Hold on, I thought they found out about Knapman’s handy identification technique when a cleaner found a pair of hands in a fridge?

    These hands…what IS going on with that? Why both hands? Why hot keep one?
    Or, if you want to be economical, keep a finger. You’ve got the print? 🙂

    Further, which version is true, the funeral director telling Senior’s family their son was handless, or the cleaner finding hands in the fridge?

    All very odd.

    this, was interesting to me that you posted from East London MP, Nigel Spearing from 1993 [Faldo, the skipper of the Marchioness was a former constituent of his]

    ”I have received two letters since the [Despatches] broadcast which I should like to quote. One was from a lady called Gillian Moseley, who wrote: 975 “I am a survivor of the disaster and was the first person to climb out of the Boat after the Bowbelle ran over us and once the Marchioness ‘bobbed back up’.”

    Read more:

    I’m probably being slow, but another discrepancy I saw, was that I thought the boat is supposed to have sunk? That’s what it says…as you and I said, it doesn’t look like it sank necessarily but that’s what ‘they’ say.

    This testimony by ‘letter’ in parliament (which strikes me as a way to say something whilst not incriminating yourself) includes the deliberate placement of the phrase the Marchioness bobbed back up

    Well, that’s a new one.

    This ‘victim statement’, read in parliament, says the boat didn’t sink. It popped back up.


    Tom Dalpra

    CHECK THIS OUT! haha

    Oh, this little beauty is a clincher, I think. Having studied three survivor stories that read like bad fiction, I found this video. Having watched it, I’m now left with no doubt. The Marchioness tragedy was a big watery fake.

    Meet Ward Bingham, complete with subdued lighting, a spacey back-drop, ‘under-water’ music and the odd nightmarish image.

    This guy says he swam down to the bottom of the river and held on to a wheel hub for 2 minutes, to stop himself getting swept away by the current!!

    Duper’s Delight? This guy certainly appears to be on the verge of some sort of laughter/ joy as he begins to remember his friends that night, holding on to him and dropping-off, one-by-one, as they died.

    He’s always had a problem with that. Duper’s Delight, I mean. Just look at 3:18 when a handsome young Ward breaks out in laughter on live television!

    Part of the joy ,for me, of looking at these things is a kind of ‘reflexive Duper’s Joy’, if you will. On finding out that 51 young people didn’t apparently drown, I am delighted.
    It’s a joy to find 51 people ‘alive’.
    Living here in the U.K, I took it all in, I’ve lived with it. It’s a relief to realise it was staged.

    The image that was planted in my mind about that incident, was powerful.
    I’m free from that now. I can laugh about it.

    This kind of video becomes a self-help one to me. ”Laugh along with Ward Bingham.”
    It’s a classic of it’s kind, I think. Enjoy. 🙂


    Tom Dalpra

    Worth noting the standard 20/21st century psyOp appendage – The Television Docu-drama.
    Narrative assertion for the TV zombies.


    Tom Dalpra

    Ok, so this is a pretty mainstream recent production, complete with multiple actors. I’m ready for it now 🙂 Fascinating.

    It strikes me that, even now, I begin to watch these things and start half-believing them.
    Could two mothers really lie like that?” I wonder.

    But you see, I’ve seen Ward Bingham’s account and already been laughing in relief that this thing was indeed, definitely another major British Op to chalk-up. So it’s an exercise in realising how effective this level of lying is. It ALMOST convinces me – even now!

    ALMOST being an important word there. Stick with this and the chinks begin to appear in the armour of this little ship.

    We meet the ‘flamboyant, charismatic’ Phang, the party organiser. A guy, who ( I’ve read ) says the trauma led him to over-eat and look ugly!

    That’s his regret now he’s seen himself on TV for his big turn, I’d suggest.
    Life’s a bitch.
    He’s a pretty good actor here, I’d suggest, regardless of his weight or looks.



    These hands…what IS going on with that?

    I wouldn’t have a clue.

    Now, let’s listen to that sea shanty.


    Meet Ward Bingham

    Bingham, Bingham, where have I heard that name before…?


    Now, here it is! Does this work?

    I think it does. It managed to convince yourself for 25 years, so yeah, I think it did the trick.

    Personally, I like the raw undisciplined power of Nutmeg better, but it seems you definitely missed your calling.

    Any plans for the 30th anniversary?


    Out of interest, Tom, this ditty was rejected by the committee?


    What a ham.

    1.11 Hi, Robbie Parker!
    2.10 Don’t touch your nose Pinocchio.
    3.44 What did I just tell you? Don’t do it!
    3.53 Almost doing it again.
    4.29 “Bubbles everywhere”. You can say that again.
    5.07 That’s it, two hands now?

    Pass me the bucket, matey, I think I’m gonna be sick.


    It’s such a cheap shot.

    13.33 The old fogey blaming it on the boogie, not the moonlight.

    Good times!

    Some more cheese puffs, Tom?


    There’s a [rare] complete list of names here

    On the chronology page we see confirmation of this bizarre condition:

    August/September 1989
    Families were denied access to view deceased.

    Was anybody perturbed, did anyone challenge it? Obviously not.

    Lord Clarke held a separate inquiry on the identification of victims following major transport accidents. This followed the concerns of Marchioness families about the cutting-off of hands and the treatment of bodies and relatives’ rights to see bodies.
    His report said: “No one paused to consider the possibility of a deceased person being identified by dental records before the decision to remove the hands was taken.”

    How long had these bodies been in the water allegedly? Hours? And they need dental records, sorry hands???

    The first use of dental records in the identification of victims of mass disaster was probably the fire at the Vienna Opera House in 1878. Dental remains were also used to identify some of the 126 dead in a fire in Paris in 1897, which prompted the writing of the first textbook on forensic dentistry by the pioneering figure Oscar Amoedo.
    I suppose 1878 was such a long time ago, everybody had forgotten about the possibility. Useful where a FIRE has made visual recognition impossible.

    This is too silly for words.

    and not to clean a fridge for years, that is indeed terrible.

    Lord Clarke added: “It is to my mind a shocking feature of the case that it was possible for a pair of hands to be left undiscovered in the (Westminster) mortuary, not just for months but for years.

    What else did they find?

    More weirdness – in the 2004 release re: Annette Russell as already cited

    As many of the dead were her clients, she offered to help police identify the bodies. This offer was declined.
    “I wish to God I had been allowed to see the bodies because maybe mistakes wouldn’t have been made and it wouldn’t have taken so long. Various families had asked me to take care of the identification on their behalf. And now we know why I wasn’t allowed to see the bodies – – half of them had their hands cut off by the coroner’s office.

    What was the alleged motorway hearse incident* cited in this book, and which event, if it’s true? [see pp 148-150] Fascinating. The Clarke Inqury is a clear mop up exercise.

    *Why would that be? A strange occurrence? No?
    The author cited in those passages is Prof Phil Scraton [Edward Philip Scraton] , Liverpool FC supporter, criminologist and Hillsborough investigator.

    The Hillsborough Project
    Sheila Coleman, Ann Jemphrey, and Paula Skidmore were appointed to the Project based at Edge Hill University. Its priorities were to research, publish and make recommendations concerning the aftermath. The Project’s initial report, Hillsborough and After: The Liverpool Experience (co-authored with Sheila Coleman, Ann Jemphrey and Paula Skidmore), was published in April 1990. In six detailed chapters the report presented a detailed analysis of the impact of the disaster, crowd safety and crowd control, the Taylor Reports, the media’s role in the immediate aftermath and the treatment of the bereaved and survivors in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. The Report made 50 recommendations on: crowd safety, policing and the rights of spectators; the role and constitution of official inquiries into disasters; the role and function of the media in the aftermath of disasters; institutional responses to disasters; the collection and distribution of disaster funds. Throughout the early 1990s the Hillsborough Project continued its work culminating in the publication of the book “No Last Rights: The Denial of Justice and the Promotion of Myth in the Aftermath of the Hillsborough Disaster” (co-authored with Ann Jemphrey and Sheila Coleman)

    Note the reference to Hartley & Davis 1999 Thames Safety Inqury Written submssions from the same institution.

    Police failed to seal the Bowbelle…as a scene of crime…Senior managers of the company [RMC] were not interviewed….Charges against the company were not pursued…

    This is not the real world.


    Ward Bingham:

    “The boat just rolled and filled up with water decision was to dive off the front of the boat, into the Thames.

    So, not knocked off his feet by 1,800 tons of Bowbelle running over the Marchioness [some versions], or “rolling”? All very calm and controlled. A truck wheelhub in the Thames. Perhaps. Best to hang onto it underwater. Is he a pearl diver?

    bubbles everywhere and people sort of like kicking me and holding onto me…this is really freaky…in slow motion…it felt like I was watching a movie…

    [wondered when that line would appear]

    A funeral report Sept 1 1989
    ITN source

    Camilla Affleck reports on the funeral of Captain Stephen Faldo, who died when his boat, the Marchioness collided with a Thames sand-dredger called the Bowbelle. Over 300 people crowded into the south chapel at the City of London Cemetery in Manor Park. Includes interview with Dorothy Broomfield(?), funeral director; George Clarke(?), pleasure boat owner; Michael Stanton, Westminster pier worker.

    another report quotes Deborah Faldo, widow of Marchioness captain, Stephen Faldo; survivors Erika Spotswood and Annette Russell.
    Sept 18 1989

    I ask you. Why is young Bingham almost laughing in that 1989-ish footage? Puzzling.

    Here’s another survival story, from the organiser of the party, Odette Penwarden

    At 42, Yorkshire-born Ms Penwarden was older than most. She was working as a marketing executive at Thames tourism company City Cruises back in 1989 – a job she left shortly after the disaster. With a failed marriage behind her, she had come to London in her mid thirties to make a fresh start.

    “All of a sudden there was a lurch and the boat swayed … and then there was an almighty crash and the windows shattered and water came in. The only way I can describe what it was like was if you were in a washing machine because the water came in and tipped me over. I remember being under the water in the boat, being tossed about.

    “I remember coming out, and it was like a champagne cork coming out of a bottle because there were quite a lot of us all came out together, sort of floundering about …. I could hear screams, I could hear people crying, a lot of shouting, a lot of people shouting people’s names. And, because the water was warm, because it was a full moon, it didn’t occur to me that people were going to die.”
    Whaaaat? Warm water?

    Fifty-one bodies were pulled from the Thames that night,
    [not true because Senior was found later, allegedly]

    Discovering that her foot was tangled up in a cable, she managed to free herself and eventually managed to escape the boat through a broken window.

    [Peter Jay is now 26 for this article, not 27]


    I ask you. Why is young Bingham almost laughing in that 1989-ish footage?

    Here’s why:

    Tom Dalpra

    Ok, so Ms Penwarden adds to the list of silly survivor stories xilef.
    Every one a winner to date!

    The water was warm?
    ”because the water was warm, because it was a full moon, it didn’t occur to me that people were going to die.”

    No…why would it? It was a full moon, the water was a like a jacuzzi( well, a cross between a washing machine and a jacuzzi) why would it have occurred to her that what was going on was, in any way, dangerous? It was a full moon!!

    The moon has been referenced a couple of times in the survivor stories, I noticed. A little verifiable detail a straw of reality that the actors can write into their stories.

    Looking at Bingham’s absurd swim-down-to-the-bottom-and-hang-on-to-a-wheel-hub for-2-minutes-claim I was interested to know how deep the Thames was in central London.
    I was quite surprised to read at this link that it’s quite common for the tidal river to be as shallow as two metres deep even in the centre.


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