Mayor John Mulvihill Jnr speach at the unveiling of a memorial to Robert Forde.
Issued : Sunday 15 March, 2009
I am pleased to be here to day at the unveiling of this memorial to Robert Forde.
Cobh is a town with great history. Every where we look in our town its history can be seen.
Today to again we are adding to that historical story.
Robert Forde was part of the famous British Antarctic expedition in 1910 led by Robert falcon Scot
At the age of 16 he joined the Royal Navy. On April 16 1910 at the age of 35 as a petty officer he volunteered to take part in the British Antarctic expedition led by Robert falcon Scot. On the 30 May he joined the Terra nova. The strong reputation of Irishmen in Antarctica exploration was demonstrated by 3 Irish men who were picked to be part of the expidation by Scot. Including another cork man Patrick Keohan. Forde was a vital part of the team in conditions he worked 10 hour a day's man hauling in -62 c degrees temperatures.
Forde was part of a group which headed out from Cape Evans in January 1911 to explore the polar capes. He suffered severe frostbite during the expedition and was eventually ordered back by Captain Scott for medical treatment.
He is remembered by the naming of Mount Forde on Antarctica in his honor
He was treated by a skillful doctor who saved his hands and he was then sent invalided to new Zeeland in April of 1912. His loss was felt by the team. Scot made reference to it in his log stating no one could replace him. After his recuperation in new Zealand Robert returned to the royal navy he received a promotion to chief petty officer and was assigned to his former ship hms vivid in October 1913.
When world war one broke out in 1914 Robert went on to serve on several vessels during the war. He remained in the navy until his demobilization in February 17 1920 when he returned to Cobh.
Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of his death on 13th of March 1959.
Robert spent the last 39 years of his life in Cobh. He lived in 52 Harbour row at it is fitting that a plaque is being erected on the façade of the house.
I would like to thank the committee who have put great work in ensuring we are here today to add another page in the history of our historic town.
Cobh Town council is pleased to have been able to contribute to the fundraising effort which fruits can be seen here to day.
Cobh's rich historic past will be one of the corners stone as we strive to develop our town's tourism potential.
With people like John Hennessy who's great work and deep Knowledge of that history I am confident we will achieve that potential.
John Of coarse has been assisted by the members of the Robert Forde Memorial Committee Clair stack Secretary/ Pro Treasurer Tim Mac Sweeney
Chairman Of the Cork and county Branch Royal Naval Association John WEST
Basil Switzer (Commander George Crosbie Branch Cork ONE
Jack Gilmartin Cobh Branch ONE
And my Collegge Cllr Paddy Histon re Cobh Tourism.
As mayor of Cobh I would like to thank you for the effort you have put in to organizing this event.
I am sure Robert is looking down on us today as we mark his great achievements and in deed his bravery.
Go Raibh agat
John's Contact Details vCard
John Mulvihill Jnr The Labour Party
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