Local author donates book to government schools

    Local author Sam Oakley has donated copies of her book, ‘The Wreck of the Ten Sail: A true story from Cayman’s past’ to government school libraries.

    The book chronicles one of Cayman’s most intriguing historical events, which may have shaped the future of the Cayman Islands as it is known today.

    Students and teachers from Years 3 to 6 received the books to add to their classroom libraries. “The text is a welcome resource for the primary schools’ social studies and English-language curriculum,” said Yosha Alphonse, literary specialist at the Ministry of Education.

    The school donation was facilitated by the ministry in conjunction with local charity, LIFE ‘Literacy is For Everyone’, which has been instrumental in the promotion of literacy engagement in schools.

    Oakley said it was a huge endorsement for her writing that the ministry wanted to introduce the book as part of the schools’ curriculum. “I am quite delighted at this huge honour,” she said.

    In her book, Oakley revisited the evidence for the historic shipwreck that occurred off Grand Cayman’s East End on 8 Feb., 1794, and discovered some new facts.
    Ten ships of a large convoy sailing from Jamaica to England – including the accompanying naval frigate, HMS Convert – were driven onto a reef on the eastern shore. The story is told in this new book.

    Thanks to the heroic efforts of the islanders at the time, almost everyone aboard the stricken vessels was saved, among them, someone with a link to King George III, said Oakley in the book. Legend has it that it was a royal prince who was saved. Historians have ruled that out, but according to Oakley’s research, there was indeed someone on board with close links to the British monarchy.

    In 1994, the 200th anniversary of the incident was marked by a visit to the site by Queen Elizabeth II, who dedicated a memorial to the six victims of the shipwreck.