Previous

Temperley Darke

(1864-1946) – Submarine mine layer

Captain Temperley Darke retired from the merchant service and moved to St Eval in 1909. He was called to serve in the First World War in Aberdeen, using mines laid by fishing boats to catch ‘nasty German submarines’ as he wrote in a letter to his four year old son Bob. Bob's son was the playwright Nick Darke.

Credit: St Eval Archive, near Padstow

Read full story

Captain Temperley Darke retired from the merchant service and moved to St Eval in 1909. Born in Bromley by Bow near the East India Docks, and son of a sea captain, Temperley was called to serve in Aberdeen in the First World War, as a Fellow of Trinity House.  His role was protecting the coast from submarines with mines laid by fishing boats. In a letter sent to his four year old son Bob at home in Porthcothan Bay, he asked him to be a good little boy with promises of presents if he was. The letter told of a little Aberdeen girl called Ella who brought Captain Darke a pot of blackcurrant jam when he asked for a newspaper.  The letter took on a darker tone when talking about ‘Daddy’s’ work: ‘There are two such nice little ships beside Daddy’s Office now.  They come there for Daddy to put on some winches and wires and great big things called fishes, just like a fish, for catching nasty German submarines and killing all the nasty Germans and when they are all finished Daddy goes out to sea in them to see if they are all right’.

Captain Darke survived the war and died aged 83 in 1946. His grandson was the well-known playwright Nick Darke, who wrote extensively about Cornwall and the sea. 

Credit: St Eval Archive, near Padstow, photos of the Darke family in the 1920s and the drawing four year old Bob received during the war