The amazing link between the Isle of Man TT, The Statue of Liberty and the Panama Canal

Bob Stimpson and Roy Moore Photo: Valerie Caine            

Two Douglas Isle of Man residents need the public’s help to place a Manx Granite memorial on the final resting place of a great Manxman – William Kennish – in New York!

Bob Stimpson, author of the book on Kennish published in 2011, together with the legendary Manx Radio TT commentator Roy Moore, who is a family descendant of William, have formed the William Kennish Memorial Trust.

Over the next few months Roy and Bob are seeking donations from the public to allow them to commission a Manx granite memorial which will be shipped out to New York to be placed on William Kennish’s currently unmarked final resting place in Green Wood Cemetery, New York. The fund already stands at just over $800 and a further $5,500 is needed to confidently complete the project. Any excess funds will be donated to a Navy charity.

The target is to get most of this raised in the next few months to allow the stone to be cut and carved this year before being shipped to New York in time for its placement and dedication on 19th March 2017 – the 155th anniversary of William Kennish’s death.

William Kennish (1799-1862) was a Royal Navy Master carpenter, inventor, poet and South American explorer who discovered the first route to link the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans without the need of locks. His pioneering exploration work in what is now Columbia eventually lead to the final selection of the Panama Canal route we know today. William’s son, also a William, supervised the construction of the concrete plinth supporting the statue of liberty – so you could say this iconic symbol of America has Manx foundations!

In November 2014 two of William’s American descendants joined Roy and Bob at the opening ceremony for the William Kennish Engineering Centre, Greenfield Road Douglas, which has become a key part of University College, Isle of Man. Earlier in the same year Isle of Man Post featured William on their Panama commemorative stamp and miniature sheet set. You can see the full story at

If you want to donate online, go to for full details. Alternatively email contact for more information!