Kathleen Neill, CEO of Belfast Industrial Heritage and a member of the Nomadic Charitable Trust has written the first of an occasional series of updates on the Nomadic exclusively for ET. Nomadic Returns
The Nomadic helped to save 1500 Cherbourg inhabitants during 1945 war raids.
Many members of our group walked the decks of this tender with lots of deep feelings because their family had boarded her in Cherbourg. Our own great cousin, Berthe Leroy, daughter to colliers in the north of France, who was a maid to wealthy American passengers Mr. and Mrs Douglas ; Ninette Aubart, Guggenheim's mistress, was one of our member's godmother; Juliette Laroche was stepmother to one of our members; Mr. Omont was one of our member's father...
An international petition was then put on line on Â« www.petitiononline.com/NOMADIC/petition.html Â» (the link is still active); I personally asked our Communication officer, Thierry Dufournaud, to launch this petition. We quickly got 2629 on line signatures + 1300 by mail, 1100 of which in Cherbourg.
The Association FranÃ§aise du Titanic (French Titanic Society) personnaly contacted French Minister for Culture, Mr. Jean-Jacques Aillagon who very quicly reacted — see 4 April 2003 press release by the Ministry and the Catalogue du Patrimoine "Monumental 2003" (documents added to this message). We supervised the cleaning of the Nomadic and her expertise. The new French Minister for Culture, Mr. Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres sent Minister Hanson the said expertise report along with his encouragements. By the way, Minister Hanson widely talked about it during his talk at the official ceremony.
We worked for 4 years with the departments of Architecture and Patrimony. We tried to convince Mr. Vincent that he had to accept the propositions of these departments, but he would not change his mind.
We helped protecting the Nomadic while she was in Le Havre thanks to two of our members, Mr. and Mrs Gogibus.
We realised, printed, and sent over 600 Nomadic Files, looking for financial support because we wanted the Nomadic to stay in France. When we realised that would not be possible, the Association FranÃ§aise du Titanic immediately supported Belfast as, from the beginning, our main idea was saving the NOMADIC.
The lifeboat never was cared for by the Belfast Industial Heritage although they had asked the AFT to help them to find it and recover it. During one whole week end, we had booked a ship to carry the lifeboat and 14 people but the BIH contact never answered our calls and messages and the lifeboat remained in Cherbourg. By the way, the lifeboat can be seen at the private Chantereyne Museum and not at the Cherbourg Museum.
Until 2005, at no moment, the French MinistÃ¨re de la Culture et de la Communcation, mentioned the BIH or any other Belfast based organisation as being Interested by the Nomadic.
For anyone wanting to see the Nomadic without having to come to visit you can use the Belfast webcam facility available at this site.
To find the Nomadic you use the preset for Belfast Harbour, then (and this is where knowing where she is helps) go up a fraction using the scroll bar rather than the arrows and left using the same method. She is visable at the base of a large grey silo once found you can then use the zoom function for a closer look.
Below are some screen grabs I did this morning from the webcam to help show the location of Nomadic.
Please bear in mind that the webcam is a live image and therefore she is only visible during daylight hours.