The late Mr King was one of 70 sailors aboard The HMS Rhexenor, when it was torpedoed on February 3, 1943, during World War II, by a German submarine in the Atlantic Ocean. The Rhexenor was 1,200 miles from the West Indies, and the crew divided into four 20-foot wooden sailing lifeboats. On February 23, 1943, Mr King’s lifeboat landed at Saddle Bay on Jost van Dyke.
Mr King and 15 other sailors were rescued by JvD residents who gave them food, drink, clothing and shelter.
Mr King and his wife, Frances, had visited Jvd on November 16, 2006, to show their deep gratitude to the Jost van Dyke community.
On November 6, 2021, the son of Mr King, Christopher King, along with his family, organised a memorial and appreciation ceremony on Jost van Dyke.
Among those at the ceremony was Governor John J. Rankin, CMG, who quoted a 2014 publication of the rescue incident.
“Two had died during the ordeal and their bodies were thrown into the sea. Their lifeboat had approached Saddle Bay on the Northwest Coast of Jost van Dyke during the night. It was winter and the ground seas were creating large breaking waves along the rocky and treacherous north shore of the island. Their boat crashed onto the shore and several were injured but no one was killed,” Governor Rankin read.
Meanwhile, the King’s family made a financial donation to the Jost van Dyke Primary School as part of their appreciation.
It was then Christopher King was called up to speak on the memory of his dad when he broke down. His son Matthew; however, came to his father’s side and reiterated his family’s gratitude to the people of the island.
“If your people hadn’t rescued my grandfather and the others I would not have been in this world, my dad would not have been in this world. We are forever, indebted to the people of this island,” Matthew stated.
The younger children of the King’s family also walked with special gifts for each child of the Jost van Dyke Primary School.
Also present at the simple ceremony were Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development Honourable Shereen D. Flax-Charles (AL) and Second District Representative Honourable Melvin M. Turnbull, both of whom expressed gratitude to the family for their show of gratitude.
On November 8, 2021, the King’s family, along with some members of the community, visited the Saddle Bay area where they laid wreaths in memory of those who had perished.