A LOCAL historian is aiming to raise funds for a headstone for a Nigerian man who died when the boat he was onboard in 1915 was struck by a torpedo off the coast of Pembrokeshire.

John Myers was among the 104 crew and passengers who died when the SS Falaba sunk off the coast of Milford Haven after it had been hit by a German U-boat.

The bodies of eight victims were taken to Milford Haven for their inquests and all but one was repatriated to their families.

Following his inquest in Milford Haven John was buried in a grave in Milford Haven Cemetery and it has remained unmarked for the past 105 years.

Historian Simon Hancock said: “For 105 years John Myers has laid in an unmarked grave. This young black man was the victim of a shocking attack against an unarmed passenger ship near the Pembrokeshire coast in 1915 which reverberated around the world.

“Let us remember this young Nigerian who died serving in Britain's merchant fleet a century ago. Let's give him a memorial he richly deserves. Historical black lives matter.”

The boat had been sailing from Liverpool to Sierra Leone and John Myers had been working in the boat’s engine room.

On March 28, 1915, a German U-boat overtook them and gave the captain minutes to evacuate the ship of its 95 crew and 147 passengers.

The U-boat fired a torpedo while most people were still on the ship. The 4,806-ton Falaba sank in 8 minutes and 104 passengers and crew died in the explosion or of hypothermia in the freezing waters.

The sinking was shocking as it was the first submarine attack on a passenger ship during the First World War. The sinking was described as 'the most atrocious crime yet committed by the German submarine pirates.'

The body of John Myers was identified by John Thomas another Nigerian who was chief fireman on the Falaba.

John’s body was not repatriated and instead he was buried in Milford Haven cemetery.

The sum hoping to be raised will fund a headstone and possible need to buy the grave plot. Any surplus will fund the identification of other black actors in the history of Pembrokeshire and research into their lives.

The link to the just giving page can be found here.