Keighley sailor's 1916 wedding ring found on seabed

Dorothy Reithermann with a picture of her great uncle Ernest Stanley Cubiss

Ernest Stanley Cubiss

The wedding ring, which was found by a diver 90 years later

First published in News by

A moving story of how a tragic Keighley sailor’s wedding ring was found on the seabed nearly 90 years after he drowned has been told as part of a First World War commemoration.

Stanley Cubiss was among more than 180 men who perished when the destroyer Opal sank during a ferocious storm off Orkney in January 1918.

The 25-year-old engine room artificer, a veteran of the Battle of Jutland, had been married for just two years.

And it was in 2007 that an amateur diver exploring Scottish coastal waters discovered the gold wedding ring Stanley had received from his sweetheart, Florence.

The love token – inscribed ‘To Stanley from Flo, 6 March 1916’ – was traced back to a family member, who donated it to the Scapa Flow Visitor Centre & Museum for public display alongside other artefacts from the tragedy.

Stanley was the great uncle of Cross Hills woman Dorothy Reither-mann, who has recounted the story during a poppy-planting ceremony at Kildwick war memorial.

Children from the village primary school joined members of St Andrew’s Church at the event.

“There was an invitation to share family stories relating to the war and I thought people would be interested to hear this,” said Mrs Reithermann, 67, a retired podiatrist.

“It is a fascinating story and I think it’s good to collate this kind of information so we have a record.

“Stanley – whose parents had a millenery shop in Church Street, Keighley – was the first boy in the West Riding to win a scholarship to the Royal Naval College in Portsmouth when he was just 14 years old.

“He later went on to serve with distinction in the First World War, gaining several medals plus a plaque for his service at the Battle of Jutland.”

The Opal went down with its sister ship Narborough while they were hunting German warships.

Two weeks after the tragedy, the Keighley News reported Stanley had been lost at sea.

The ring was found by Liverpool diver Peter Brady, who after examining the inscription managed to trace its owner on the ship’s casualty list.

And following further investigations he located a nephew of Stanley’s living in York and handed over the heirloom. The display where the ring now sits also includes photographs of Stanley and Florence and their wedding certificate.

Florence died in 1971, aged 82.

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