In 2012 at the request of a Commanding Officer in the Portuguese Navy a search was initiated in St. John’ s to find the unmarked grave of Dionisio Esteves, a 26 year old fisherman who lost his life of the coast of Newfoundland in 1966.
Using photographs and film, the unmarked grave was found by the archivist Larry Dohey in Mount Carmel Cemetery in St. John’s. Since the discovery of the grave, Portuguese Naval officials annually host a wreath laying ceremony at the site to remember Esteves who has come to symbolize all Portuguese fishermen who have died prosecuting the fishery. Esteves was one of the thousands of Portuguese who plied Newfoundland waters as part of the crew of the Portuguese White Fleet. Estves sailed on the celebrated Santa Maria Manuela.
Through the efforts of individuals in Newfoundland and in Portugal a small monument has been designed that will be placed at the gravesite as a permanent memorial. The memorial was designed by the Portuguese artist Antonio Neves.
The Portuguese Naval vessel, the FIGUERA DA FOZ will be arriving in St. John’s on August 14th, 2015 at 8.00 AM carrying on her deck a crate with the memorial. The vessel will proceed to Pier #11 at the foot of Prescott Street.
A wreath laying ceremony will be held on August 14th, 2015 at 11 AM at Mt Carmel Cemetery at the grave site of Esteves. The wreath laying ceremony is open to the public. Those attending are encouraged to use the Kenna’s Hill entrance to the cemetery.
The St John’s Port Authority will have the gates opened during the stay of the vessel. This will allow for the Captain and crew of the FIGUERA DA FOZ to welcome the public to the vessel on Saturday. Visiting hours 10 AM to NOON and 2PM to 4 PM.
The monument will be installed at the gravesite later in the summer and will be officially inaugurated on October 6th, 2015 with a short Prayer Service at the grave site. The Portuguese Ambassador to Canada will be in attendance with local dignitaries as well as a Portuguese film crew. The film crew is travelling with a white fleet dory fisherman who was a colleague of Dionisio Esteves.
Local businessman and author, Jean Pierre Andrieux has been spearheading a financial campaign to raise the funds to erect the memorial that will serve to remember all Portuguese fishermen who lost their lives fishing in Newfoundland waters.
For further information on these events contact:
Jean Pierre Andrieux @ firstname.lastname@example.org or 753-7277