Tragedies of the Dido Class Cruisers

This stone column, its upper part abruptly cut off, is a memorial to the cruisers of this class which were sunk during World War II. The names of the ships and the dates when they were torpedoed are followed by a line from Virgil’s Aeneid, book vi, meaning “and they were stretching out their hands in longing for the farther bank.”

The line describes the plight of the souls of the unburied dead who cannot be taken across the River Styx by Charon until they have endured a long and miserable wait beside the river. The grief inherent in the Latin text and the memory of Queen Dido’s sad death cast their shadow over the fate of the lost Dido class sailors.


Column without capital and the trunk inscribed, Portland stone, Andrew Whittle, 1999