Tercentenary Commemorations of the 1707 Association Disaster and
John Harrison's Resulting Invention of the First Practical Marine Chronometer to Accurately Determine Longitude

The Tercentary of the Naval disaster of 1707 was commemorated by a special series of events on the Isles of Scilly (and elsewhere) in October 2007. On the 22 October 1707 the British naval fleet, under the command of Sir Cloudesley Shovell, was returning from Gibraltar to Portsmouth. Due to a combination of bad weather and the inability of mariners to accurately calculate their longitude, or east/west position, the fleet was unaware that it was closing on the Isles of Scilly until it was too late. The Association (flagship), Eagle, and Romney struck the Gilstone Ledges on the Western Rocks and, of the more than 1,400 men on board the three ships, only one man was saved. The St. George and the Firebrand also struck rocks, but managed to get off. Nevertheless, damage to the Firebrand was severe and she too soon sank, with the loss of a further 23 of her 45 complement.

Click on any of the thumbnails to show larger versions. Click anywhere on the larger images to move through these, or close and click on another thumbnail. All photographs on this page were taken by Alan Jones of Shipwrecks UK, with the exception of two. If you have any comments, please use the online form to contact Shipwrecks UK.

Dava Sobel, celebrated author of `Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time`, with Richard and Bridget Larn and Alan Jones of Shipwrecks UK, and the Tercentenary commemoration service at the Old Town Church

Hunt Class Mine Countermeasures Vessel HMS Ledbury at anchor in The Roads as part of the Tercentenary commemoration

Distinguished speakers on 20th October 2007 : Dr John Taylor, horologist and Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, and Professor Sir Arnold Wolfendale FRS, 14th Astronomer Royal

Tercentenary commemorations at the Gilstone - HMS Ledbury and Sea King - and Seaking AEW helicopter from RNAS Culdrose