Book of Remembrance
The UK Oil and Gas Chaplaincy maintains a Book of Remembrance to commemorate those who have died offshore in UK waters. The Book is often located in the Oil Chapel in the Kirk of St Nicholas, Union St, Aberdeen but it is frequently taken to other locations. To make arrangements to view the Book please contact the Chaplaincy and we will ensure its availability.
Each year approximately 57000 personnel travel offshore in the course of their work. With such numbers it is inevitable that a small number will die unexpectedly while working away from home and their loved ones. Usually from natural causes these unexpected deaths cause tremendous shock to those at home and also the close knit offshore community. Sadly in recent years the industry has also suffered tragic losses through two helicopter accidents. Sixteen died on the 1st April 2009 and four died on the 23rd August 2013 when flying home at the end of their shift.
Major incidents affecting the industry have been commemorated by memorials to those who perished. For instance, Aberdeen contains the Piper Alpha Memorial in Hazlehead Park, and those who died on the 1st April 2009 were commemorated on a memorial erected in the city’s Johnston Gardens. However the majority of offshore deaths, those who died through natural causes, were not commemorated in a central location. This was to change in 2013, the 25th Anniversary year of the Piper Alpha Disaster.
July 2013 witnessed the 25th Anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster, a catastrophe which changed offshore safety management and legislation in the North Sea beyond recognition. Many events were organised to commemorate the event but the industry also decided to mark the year by dedicating a Book of Remembrance to commemorate all who have died offshore from the beginning of the industry to the present day.
How Are Names Added
A protocol was established with the Police to ensure that the Chaplaincy is informed whenever someone dies offshore. This allows the Chaplaincy to make contact with whatever company is involved and have information concerning the Book of Remembrance forwarded to the family via the company. Therefore, unless families request otherwise, the names of all who have died offshore since July 2013 are recorded in the Book.
Sadly there are no definitive records of those who died offshore before July 2013. Many names and details are known but others have slipped into the mists of time. To provide an opportunity for any family who has lost a loved one offshore to commemorate their relative, the Book of Remembrance is split into two volumes. Volume 1 covers the period up to July 2013 and Volume 2 the period after July 2013 for which names are captured automatically. Volume 1 has been constructed in a manner which makes it possible for our bookbinder to insert pages at any point in the volume. Names are listed by date. If you, or anyone you know, wishes to add a name to Volume 1 simply get in touch with the Chaplaincy and we will arrange to have the details added by our bookbinder without cost to the family.
The Annual Service
Each year on the first Saturday of November a service of remembrance is held in St Nicholas Kirk in Union St Aberdeen. The names of those who have died offshore in the last year are read out and a candle lit in their memory. However the service commemorates all who have died offshore and the Book of Remembrance is placed at the front of the church. The offshore community remains a close knit community and we hope the existence of the Book of Remembrance together with our annual service provides relatives with a little comfort knowing their loved one is not forgotten and is listed alongside others who shared and experienced a unique bond.