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Pitcairn Islands Study Center

News - August 29, 2013

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  [California Study Center]


PITCAIRN ISLANDS STUDY CENTER, Pacific Union College, Angwin, California USA.

Herbert Ford, 559-592-0980, 559-732-0313.


                        ANGWIN (Napa County) Calif., August 29, 2013—Charles James Bert Christian, a fifth generation descendant of Fletcher Christian, master's mate of the ship H.M.S.Bounty of "Mutiny on the Bounty" fame, has died at age 83.

                        A native of San Francisco, Calif., born on May 25, 1930, Mr. Christian died on August 18, 2013, in a Florida hospital near his home in Port Charlotte after a brief illness.

                        As a child Charles had diabetes, and when a doctor advised that he should live in a more tropical climate his parents, James Christian and Edna Bell decided to take him to Pitcairn Island, his father's homeland.

                        Though tragedy struck shortly before the family's departure for Pitcairn with his father's death, Charles and his mother completed the move to the remote South Pacific island. On Pitcairn, Charles grew up into a vigorous adulthood.

                        "He was one of the unsung heroes of Pitcairn," said his daughter Carol Warren from her home on Pitcairn. "He was a Pitcairner and a 5th generation descendant of Fletcher Christian, and ever so proud of that fact. However, he also was proud to be an American and never forgot his birthplace."

                        Mrs. Warren recalled one of the many dangerous incidents in which her father was a participant during his years of growing up on Pitcairn Island:

                        "Once he had to 'swim' a rudder through the breakers in Bounty Bay to another longboat in distress. The rudder was tied around his waist so that he could swim freely. However, when the waves started rolling in, he dove down to the bottom and held on to a rock until the waves passed over.

                        "Meanwhile, the rudder just surfed on the surface, and with every wave the rope stretching down to him on the bottom went very tight nearly cutting my Dad in half. . . . I'm just so proud of my Dad and what he accomplished in his lifetime," Mrs. Warren said.

                        Through the years after leaving Pitcairn to live in Florida, Charles and his wife returned to Pitcairn Island in visits about every two years, the last visit being in 2012.

                        Mr. Christian's death follows in less than two months the death of another fifth generation descendant of Fletcher Christian, Thomas Coleman Christian, 77, a long-time radio officer and comunity leader of Pitcairn Island who died on the island on July 7, 2013.

                        Charles Christian is survived by his wife, Barbara (Weremechik); his daughter, Carol Grace (Christian) Warren; his son, Ronald; stepdaughter Elaina; six grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren.

                        Mr. Christian's remains have been cremated, and are being taken by ship to Pitcairn Island where they will reside on the island following a future memorial service honoring him.