Raising a glass of brew to Bella crew

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A highly successful week of events to commemmorate the incident between the Gourdon boat the Bella, and a German U-boat in 1916, finished with a commemorative service in the Mission Hall, Gourdon on Sunday (September 25), 100 years to the day since the incident took place.

On September 25 1916, the six man crew of the Gourdon fishing boat the “Bella” were fishing off Catterline Bay when a German U-boat surfaced, took the fishermen aboard and sunk the Bella.

The men were taken to Germany as prisoners of war and returned safely to Gourdon in 1918 where they re-assumed their careers as fishermen.

A particular highlight of the event was the production of 100 numbered bottles of the “Bella” Brew, which was created by Robert Lindsay of the Marine Hotel Stonehaven and 6’North Brewery, and commissioned specifically for the Bella commemorations.

Selected numbers which had significance for dates, and numbers associated with the story, were auctioned as part of the event to raise funds for the Bella commemorations.

The auction included number 6 for the six men of the Bella, and 65 for ME 65 which was the registration number of the aptly named Happy Return, the first fishing boat skipper James Ritchie bought on his return from Germany as a prisoner of war.

Dave Ramsay, Project Director of Mearns Heritage services said: “This specialist production by Robert Lindsay was a great way of celebrating Catterline’s connection with the story with the label depicting the sea at Catterline, designed by Gourdon based artist Jacky Niven.”

The CD called “Catterline Connections” was also closely linked to the events and was presented to the RNLI Stonehaven and Montrose lifeboat crews for their participation in the Bella events. Montrose lifeboat visited Gourdon during the week, where the public were invited to meet the crew. The Stonehaven lifeboat let off six flares just off Gourdon at noon on Sunday and each lifeboat crew was presented with a commemorative medal.