Times Newspaper Archive - Full Reports

Times: Saturday, February 23, 1833, Issue 15096 – Wreck of the FORESTER
Loss of His Majesty’s Ship Forester: “St Martin’s Island, Scilly – The 13th instant His Majesty’s Ship brigantine FORESTER parted from her anchors, and was driven on shore at Crown Bar, and from thence to Crouther’s Point, where she bilged.  The Commander, Lieutenant W. H. Quin, at the time she parted was on shore for the purpose of procuring an anchor and cable in lieu of one he lost on the previous day; but finding the brig had parted before he could embark, he immediately made sale in a pilot-boat, and had not proceeded far when the gig belonging to pilot-boat swamped and from the tremendous hurricane that was raging he unfortunately failed in getting aboard, and was driven past his ship.  In a very short time the sails of the boat were blown to pieces, but he succeeded in getting three volunteers from her to proceed in the punt, and was at last driven on shore on St Martin’s Island, Scilly (after having been several hours on the water) , and it will easily be supposed, in a state of great exhaustion.  Shortly after he left the pilot boat she went ashore on the rocks, where she was wrecked, and it was with the utmost difficulty that the crew belonging to her saved their lives. On the brig getting on shore on the rocks the swinging boom was got out, and the gunner (Mr Shallo) took a line and endeavoured to take it on shore, but unfortunately the  boom struck him against the rocks so severely  that he was  obliged to abandon the attempt, and was dragged almost exhausted on shore by the preventing men. Mr B. A. Wake, midshipman, then secured a line, and made it  fast around him, and succeeded in giving the line to the  people on shore, by which means  a stout hawser was hauled to land, by which most of the ship’s company saved  themselves – thus effecting a landing on the rocks though the  surf.  Not knowing the state  of the tide, fears were entertained that the brig  would drift off the point again, and the commanding officer in consequence gave orders for the men to get on shore as quick as possible, but the tide being ebbing she was left at low water high and dry, and with the help of  the people on shore nearly all the stores &c., have been taken out of the ship, and, as she is not  much damaged, they hope when she is clear to haul her off the rocks to the sandy beach.  The escape of the commander in the boat, after the other two had been wrecked, was little short of a miracle, being a mere cockle shell, and exposed to tremendous sea that was running.” (Devonport Telegraph).  [BACK]   See also the Forester Incident


Times: Friday, December 4, 1840, Issue 17532 – Wreck of the NERINA

EXTRAORDINARY SHIPWRECK ON SCILLY ISLANDS - (From a resident Correspondent) –“We have had very heavy gales lately, and several damaged vessels have been brought in by our pilots; but one wreck here has been attended with such extraordinary circumstances, that, had any person read it in the papers, one would be tempted to set it down as a Yankee story.  On Wednesday afternoon last , a vessel bottom upwards, was seen about two miles off St Agnes, when some of our pilot boats put off to her, the sea  being then very rough.  I was looking at them until dark, and, after great difficulty, they succeeded in attaching a hawser to the wreck, which shortly broke, and, night coming on, they were obliged to leave her.  On the Thursday morning, at daylight, she was discovered by a young man to have drifted in the same position on to a reef of rocks at the entrance of the bay, where the famous Sir Cloudesley Shovel was washed ashore.  He got into the water, and in attempting to pull a sail on shore, which was hanging to the wreck, he discovered the body of one of the crew entangled therein, and, to his utter astonishment, heard a voice within the wreck.  He immediately called two or three men to his assistance, and on their pulling away a piece of plank sufficiently for one of them to pass his arm into the vessel, his hand was eagerly seized by a person within; they then went  to work, and after some little time managed to  make a hole sufficiently large to drag  a person down through the deck (the parties being then up to their middles in the sea), and in  this manner, to their astonishment, brought on shore three men and a boy, alive and well.  Two  of them  proved to be  the master and mate, from whose account it appears she was  a French vessel from Dunkirk, bound for Marseilles, with a cargo of oil; that on the Monday evening previous, about 8 o’ clock, two men were on deck, and the parties saved, with the one found alongside, were in the cabin, when , in a heavy squall, the vessel in a moment turned completely over, not allowing time for the water to run into her, by which means the internal air kept the water out; the two men on deck  were of course, washed away, but those in the cabin had existed there without food from Monday evening until Thursday morning, when the poor fellow whose corpse was found alongside had been killed that morning by some of the cargo getting loose on her striking the rocks, and  drifting him out through a part of the deck which broke away in deep water.  The men ate a hearty breakfast on landing, and I saw them all this afternoon, looking as well as if they had not been under water at all.”

Times: Tuesday, December 5, 1840, Issue 17541 – Wreck of the NERINA
 Just a bit more detail NERINA No 2 Long Article   [BACK]


Times:   Monday, March 4, 1844, Issue 18548 – Wreck of the NICKERIE

The western rocks of the Scilly Islands have again, we regret to state, been the cause of another frightful calamity, viz., the complete destruction of the Dutch East Indiaman, NICKERIE, belonging to the port of Rotterdam, and the loss of nearly the whole of her unfortunate crew.  From the different accounts that have been received, it appears that on the morning of the 23rd ult. The inhabitants residing on St Agnes Island were alarmed by observing large masses of wreck upon the beach, and became convinced that some vessel had been wrecked on the opposite island.  Several craft were immediately brought into requisition, and being manned, proceeded to the spot above mentioned, where they discovered that their fears were to well founded, for at the back of the island on the rocks lay the remains of a large foreign ship, which was soon ascertained to be the NICKERIE Indiaman of Rotterdam, 690 tons burthen, commanded by Captain J. Harvey.  Upon the island they noticed two wretched beings almost paralysed from cold, there being an intense frost, and, the island being uninhabited, there was nothing to shelter them.  Their first endeavour was to rescue those unfortunate creatures, and providentially they were got off in the last stage of exhaustion, and forthwith conveyed to St Agnes, where every assistance was afforded them.   As soon as they had somewhat recovered, they were taken to St Mary’s where the Dutch Consul provided them with requisite clothing, and sent them  to their respective homes.  The accounts they gave of the loss of their ill-fated ship were truly distressing.  They stated that she left Batavia for Rotterdam in October last, and St Helena in January, the crew consisting of Captain Harvey, first and second officers, surgeon, and fifteen seamen – the cargo being very valuable, comprising teas, sugars, molasses, and other articles of East India produce.  The voyage was favourable until they approached the English Channel, when there came on tremendous squalls, with heavy falls of snow.  On the morning of the 21st, at about 2o’clock, when they  supposed that the ship had entered and was running up the English Channel, they suddenly perceived a light,  which they at once knew, from the bearings they took, to  be that of  St Agnes.  Knowing that the course was one  of a very dangerous character, all hands were called to “about ship”, but in a few minutes a shock told them that  she had struck on some of the sunken rocks.  In a short time, however, she went off, apparently without sustaining any injury, but in a few seconds she again struck with increased force.  Instantly all was confusion on board, and before there was time to escape by means of the boats she fell to pieces; eight of the crew, including the surgeon and chief officer, falling between the masses of wreck and perishing.  The remaining 11, amongst whom was the Captain, clung to the wreck till daybreak, although they had the greatest difficulty in doing so, owing to the sea making a complete breach over her, and from the acute suffering they endured, being benumbed by severe cold.  The poor fellows perceived that the spot was not inhabited, commenced constructing a raft out of the fragments of the wreck, in the hope that they might be able to reach the island.  They had nearly completed it, when, unfortunately, it became entangled with other pieces of the wreck, and before they could extricate it was battered about and speedily destroyed.  One of the seamen (a survivor), named Greeves, and Christian Soupe, a sail maker, also a survivor,  managed to secure themselves on one of the pieces of the  broken raft, and notwithstanding they were placed in much danger, they ultimately floated to the beach.  The nine unhappy creatures who remained on the wreck, cherishing a  fond hope that their lives would be spared, were quickly reduced to a state of complete exhaustion, and one by one dropped off into the huge breakers and were not  seen afterwards.  Though out that day Greeves and Soupe underwent the most poignant sufferings, being unable to procure the least shelter from the inclemency of the weather, and wandered about the island till taken off by the boats from St Agnes.
Of the vessel and her valuable cargo, which, was estimated to have been worth at least 15,000l., not a particle has been saved.  Nine bodies of the unfortunate crew have been picked up, and have since been decently interred.  The spot where the ill-fated ship was lost is close to that where the THAMES steamer and two other vessels foundered about three years ago.  [BACK]


Times:  March 26, 1861, Issue 23890 – Wreck of the AWARD

Loss of the AWARD, of Liverpool. – This ship was from Liverpool, bound to New Orleans, in ballast.  She was stranded on the 19th inst. At about 1 a. m. on a small island called Gweal; westward of Bryher, Scilly Islands, and will, no doubt, become a total wreck.  At the time she struck it was blowing a gale from the north-north-west – a most terrific sea running; had she not been a very strongly-built ship, she must have broken up at once, and all her crew, consisting of 23, would have perished, as there was no possibility of approaching her with a boat.  When first observed she was lying with her head to the north-east and her foremast cut away; she then swung round upon her heel, her bow coming on the rocks on the north point of Gweal.  Her foremast, which was still fast to the ship by the stay, washed on the rocks.  About noon one of the crew, an Italian, and a most courageous fellow, went down the stay, taking a line with him, and, at the risk of his life, succeeded in effecting a communication with the shore; a hawser was then made fast to a rock, and by this means the crew were all safely landed upon Gweal.  A great many persons were assembled on the nearest point of Bryher, having a boat in readiness (should the sea subside) to get the crew from Gweal.  The distance across from Bryher to Gweal, at the then state of the tide, is from 100 to 150 fathoms; there was a very heavy surf in the neck, but notwithstanding this, at 2 p. m. a boat was launched over the rocks about 100yards, manned by the following persons – viz., Mr W. Johns, Coastguard, chief officer; Phillip Glanville, Coastguard; Patrick Trevellick, Stephen Woodcock, John Jenkins, James Jenkins, and Richard Ellis, boatmen; and, after several ineffectual attempts to reach Gweal, they were forced to abandon their object, but not until they had spoken with the crew, and learnt that they   had provisions.  The risk they ran was very great.  On Wednesday, the 20th inst., at 4 a.m. the boat was again launched; the same persons as mentioned above were in the boat, with the addition of James Jenkins, Trinity pilot, and Captain Hicks, of the Merlin.  This time they managed to reach Gweal, and were forced to haul the boat up to save her, and wait for the next tide.  When they got on the island they found the poor fellows were without water and suffering very much in consequence.  At 2 p.m. the weather having somewhat moderated, and the sea gone down in a measure, the boat was launched, and by 5 p.m. the crew were all safely landed on Bryher, but not without great risk.  No one had anything but what he stood in; all were, thoroughly wet, having to pass through the surf on both sides.  Every one was heartily glad to see the poor fellows safe, who had behaved most admirably under the circumstances; but the rush for water by the crew is beyond description.  There is great credit due to the brave fellows who went in the boat; it was certainly at the risk of their lives.  [BACK]


Times: Friday, May 10, 1861, Issue 23929 – Salvage of the ALICE

This was a case of salvage brought by the owners and crew of the American bark EDWIN, the steam tug LITTLE WESTERN, the cutter SCILLY & the pilot cutter AGNES against  the American ship  ALICE, of 627 tons, to obtain  remuneration for salvage services, rendered from the 29th of November till the 8th of December, 1860.  The EDWIN, of 449 tons, was on a voyage from New York to Antwerp, laden with a valuable cargo, and when in latitude 47.49 north, and longitude 13 west, the master observed the ALICE about two points on the starboard bow of his ship, at a distance of about six miles, and she appeared to be in distress.  The EDWIN made for her, and passed under stern, but, as no answer was made to the hailing from the bark, the chief mate and for hands proceeded to the Alice in a boat, and with great difficulty boarded her, when they found she was derelict.  She had a valuable cargo of flour and wheat, but her decks were full of water, and she was in a disabled state.  The mate returned to his own ship and reported the condition of the derelict vessel, when it was resolved to take her in tow.  The mate and two seamen again proceeded to the ALICE, and at great risk were enabled to board her.  It was found, however, that on account of the heavy sea and boisterous weather the EDWIN would not steer with the ALICE in tow, and therefore the mate and two hands agreed to incur the risk and responsibly of navigating her to some port.  With very great difficulty and danger these three men navigated the ship in very severe weather till the afternoon of the 7th December, when the Scilly pilot approached, and the pilot and six hands were employed to get the ALICE into the nearest port.  The steam tug LITTLE WESTERN and the AGNES, of the Scilly Isles rendered additional assistance, and on the evening of the 8th December the ship was brought to anchor in St Mary’s Roads.  The value of the ship, freight and cargo was fixed by agreement at £13,000., but that value was disputed.   A complex salvage case resulted where the value was set at £10,000.     The Court awarded to the crew of the EDWIN; £700 to Brown, the mate; £700 between the two seamen who were with him; £700 to the owners to permit their servants to perform such services when in their power; £200 to the master of the EDWIN, and £200 to her crew on account of their increased labour in consequence of losing the mate and two hands.  He gave £130 to the AGNES, £200 to the owners of the LITTLE WESTERN, £50 to her master, and £50 to her crew.  As to the SCILLY he pronounced for a tender of £20, with costs.  [BACK]


Times: Wednesday, April 26, 1882, Issue 30491 – Wreck of the ST VINCENT

“The St Vincent, barque, Captain Melhuish, from ST VINCENT, laden with sugar in casks, in charge of a pilot tried without success to beat up St Mary’s Sound, Scilly, and sailing out again , struck heavily on the Spanish Ledges, filled rapidly and sank at about 8 p.m. in the Middle Crow Sound.  The crew saved themselves in the ship’s boats.  The vessels topmast is under high water, and there is very little chance of salvage.”

Times: Monday, May 15, 1882, Issue 30507 – Wreck of the ST VINCENT - Enquiry

Captain Ward and Captain Ronaldson were the assessors.  This was an enquiry into the loss of a wooden barque, which after striking a ledge of rocks, carried away a portion of the rock imbedded in her bottom, thus preventing the influx of water.  When she came to anchor, the piece of rock dropped out, the water flowed in rapidly, and the vessel sank.
The ST VINCENT was built at Jersey in 1867 and was the property of Mr Thomas Scrutton, of Grace-church Street.  She left St Vincent in the West Indies, on the 25th March, bound for Scilly, for orders, with a crew of 17 hands and a cargo of 630 tons of sugar.  About 4pm on the 24th April she sighted the Scilly Islands.   A signal having been made for a pilot, Israel Hicks, a duly –licensed Trinity-house pilot, came off the same afternoon and took charge.  St Agnes Lighthouse bore N. E. by E, about 1½ miles distant.  Hicks put the vessel upon a N. by E. course, intending to pass through Smith’s Sound, the wind at the time blowing a fresh breeze, and the sea being smooth.   Finding it impossible pass through Smith Sound, Hicks altered course to E. N. E. to pass through St Mary’s Sound.  When abreast of the western entrance of St Mary’s Sound, a N. by E. course was set to pass between the Spanish Ledges and St Agnes Island.  When she was almost midway between the western extremity of the Spanish Ledges and the Woolpack Beacon, the wind headed the vessel a little.  The pilot thereupon determined to run through the same channel by which he had entered for the purpose of going to Crow Sound.  Having put the vessel about on a starboard tack and braced the yards forward, he gave orders to haul up the foresail preparatory to putting her before the wind.  In the meantime, however, the wind and the tide had carried the barque to the leeward, and while the men were aloft furling the foresail the vessel struck on the western extremity of the Spanish Ledges, but without stopping.  So soon as she was clear the pumps were sounded, and, on finding she made no water, the course was continued through the western channel for Crow Sound, where she came to anchor.  Before coming to anchor, the carpenter had sounded the vessel several times, but had found she was making no water.  As soon as she came to anchor he again sounded, and found 6ft of water in the hold.  In a minute or two afterwards the water had increased to 9ft.  The boats were ordered out, and all hands got in them and left the vessel, and she sank in about ten minutes.

The Wreck Commissioner delivered judgement, and said the cause of the vessel making water so suddenly arose, as it was generally admitted, from her having taken away a portion of the rock when she struck, and to that piece of rock having fallen out of the wound when the vessel was suddenly brought up at anchor.  No blame whatsoever was attached to the master or officers of the ST VINCENT.  The whole blame for the casualty rested with the pilot, who miscalculating the strength of the tide and the wind and the distance he was set to leeward, attempted to pass out through the Western Channel, instead of the Eastern Channel.  The pilot, they were told had held a Trinity-house certificate for the last 26 years, during which he had never before met with an accident.  He had been guilty of a very grave error of judgement, which had resulted in the loss of a valuable ship and her cargo.  [BACK]


Times: Thursday, January 7, 1886, 31650 – Wreck of the SUSSEX - Enquiry
Captain Ronaldson and Captain Pattison were the assessors.

This enquiry into the stranding and the total loss of the SUSSEX on the 17th of December, last, off Scilly Islands.
The SUSSEX was a steamship, built of iron at Newcastle in 1883; she was 300ft long, 40.3ft broad and 22.4ft deep.  She had two engines of 275 horse-power combined, was rigged as a schooner, and registered in London.  At the time of her loss she was the property of the SUSSEX Steamship Company, Mr Alfred S. Williams, of 31 Lombard Street, being the manager.  The vessel left Baltimore on December 2 last, with a crew of 36 hands, seven cattlemen, 250 head of cattle, bound for London.  On the 13th, two good observations were obtained.  Up to the 16th no further observations could be obtained. One was then taken but could not be relied on.  The vessel was going at full speed till 8.15, when the engines were slowed.  At 9.30 they were put at full speed again at the rate of 10 knots an hour.  The weather was hazy.  At 1 a.m. the course was altered from east-south-east-half-south to south-east by east.  About 1.45 a. m. breakers were seen, the engines were stopped and reversed, but the vessel struck on the Seal Rock off Bryher, in the Scilly Islands.  The boats were lowered and remained alongside till daylight, when the men landed, and were finally taken to Penzance.  The SUSSEX became a total wreck, and only a few of the cattle were saved.

The Wreck Commissioner, in delivering judgement, said the casualty was due to the vessel having been set to the northward of her course.  The courses set and steered were not safe and proper, nor were sufficient allowances made for well-known currents.  If the master had taken a cast of the lead he would have known his position, and to that neglect the loss of the vessel was due.  The vessel was 26 or 27 miles to the north of her course.  The master had accepted the whole of the blame, and had done so very properly; but it was impossible to pass over his conduct.  Taking into consideration the high character which he had hither to borne, the Court suspended his certificate for six months, and recommended the Board of Trade to grant him a chief mate’s certificate during the time of his suspension.

Mr. W. R. M’Connell, appeared for the Solicitor to the Board of Trade (Mr W. Murton); and Mr. T. H. Nelson for the master.  [BACK]


Times: Monday, February 9, 1891, Issue 33243 – Wreck of the CHISWICK

“The Trinity Corporation steamer ALERT arrived at Penzance yester afternoon with news of a calamity which occurred off Scilly early on Thursday morning, by which 11 out of 19 of the crew of the steamship CHISWICK, of London, lost their lives, and the vessel and her cargo were entirely lost.  It seems that the CHISWICK, a steamer of 796 tons net and 1,261 gross register, was proceeding from Cardiff to St Nazaire with a cargo of coals.  She left Cardiff between 11 and 12 o’clock on Tuesday and anchored in Burry Roads, and about 12 hours later, with a crew of 19 on board, started down the coast, with a fair wind and a light sea, and the Godrevy lighthouse was sighted in the early hour of the following morning.   At 4 o’clock the watch was changed, and at that time, according to one of the crew who went below, the weather was clear.  There was no heavy sea nor was there a high wind, though it was very dark.  The vessels course was kept south, south west and everything went well until about 5 o’clock, when she suddenly struck a reef of rocks, which subsequently proved to be one of the Seven Stones, a dangerous reef about six or seven miles off Scilly.  The shock was a severe one, and awoke all those who had gone below.  There was immediately scene of the greatest excitement.  The captain rushed on deck and took charge.  The men were running from one end of the ship to the other and directed their attention to the lifeboats, notwithstanding the fact that the captain continued to shout” She’s all right”.  He ordered the vessel to be sounded, and it was found that she had 51½ ft. of water in the hold.   The captain still, however, believed that the damage was not very serious, and hesitated to give the order for the boats to be manned, when suddenly she settled down and sank immediately.  This was within a quarter of an hour of the time she struck.  None of the boats had been cut adrift, nor would they have been but for the prompt action of one of the crew, who , as the vessel was sinking , seized an axe and cut away  the falls to the lifeboat, thus releasing it from its position.  Fortunately for some of the crew they had, when the ship struck, put on cork jackets, and so it is believed that every one rose above the water again.  But now the importance of casting adrift the lifeboat was seen, for when they rose to the surface it was the only visible thing with the exception of the heterogeneous article of wreckage; and to the lifeboat eight of the crew managed to cling.  The boat, however, had turned over, and all their efforts could not restore it to its proper position, and they were therefore obliged to climb on the boat and cling to the keel.  Those few who reached the boat did not know for how long the boat would bear so heavy a cargo.  They could not render no help whatsoever to their comrades, and were thus obliged to look on and watch them sink one by one from sheer exhaustion.  They could also see the lightship about three miles distant, but had no means of attracting the attention of the men on board until daylight, when one of them fastened a scarf which he had around his neck to a broken oar, and this was used as a signal of distress.  The lifeboat appeared frequently in danger, and it was only by careful handling with a couple of oars which had been picked up the men were able to keep her off the breakers.  The scanty clothes which they wore were wet though, and in these they were obliged to remain for seven hours, having had nothing to eat since the previous evening, and being nearly exhausted with cold and exposure.  At about 11 o’clock the keepers of the lightship discovered the signal, and four men put off in a boat to the rescue.  They were all picked up by the lightship boat shortly before 12, and were conveyed back to the lightship, where they were treated with every kindness by the keepers.  Signals were at once hoisted from the lightship with to object of calling attention from the mainland, but the weather was too hazy, and no notification of the fact was received by the Trinity authorities at Penzance until late on Saturday night, and yesterday morning the Alert was sent out.  The crew were landed at Penzance in the afternoon and sent on to their homes by the agent of the shipwrecked Mariner’s Society.  The survivors are unable to furnish a complete list of names of the crew, but as far  as can be obtained, they are as follows:
Captain, William Hughes, an Irishman from Cork;  Mr Smith, first officer (address unknown);  Mr Gilliody, second engineer (believed to belong to Cardiff);  John Frost, fireman, a coloured man, of Cape de Verdes;  Charles Vanderel, able seaman, Antwerp: Philip Morser, able seaman, of Rotterdam;  The steward (name unknown, but believed to belong to Bristol); the engineer’s boy (a foreigner); the donkey man, who was shipped from Cardiff.  Those saved are:  Samuel Strong, second mate, London; William Davies, engineer, London; Thomas Hole, seaman, Exmouth; Frederick Bayers, seaman, Antwerp: Van Waeslerghi, seaman Antwerp; Joseph Bogerto, fireman, Antwerp; Alfred Alexander, fireman, Cardiff;  The cook is detained in hospital, is named William Martindale, and is a foreigner.”  [BACK]


Times: Friday, March 20, 1891, Issue 33277 – Wreck of the INDIANA 1

 “The brig INDIANA of Liverpool, from London for East London, with a general cargo, was abandoned on Wednesday night, off Scilly, in a sinking condition and on fire.  The crew landed at Scilly yesterday.”

Times: Tuesday, April 21, 1891, Issue 33304 – Wreck of the INDIANA 2, Enquiry

Enquiry into the Loss of the INDIANA, 18/03/1891
“This was an enquiry ordered by the Board of Trade into the circumstances attending the abandonment and subsequent foundering of the sailing ship INDIANA, of Liverpool, off the Scilly Islands on March 18 last.
The INDIANA was a wooden brigantine of 300 tons, built at Sunderland in 1873, and purchased on January 30 last by Mr G. S. Norris, who proposed employing her in the coasting trade at New Zealand.  She left the Thames on March 13 with miscellaneous cargo. Including coal, corrugated iron, oil, paints, varnish, and other goods, bound to East London.  The crew consisted of eight hands, and the owner was also on board.  On March 18 the vessel was off the Scilly Islands, when she was found to be making more water than usual, and water was subsequently heard rushing into her.  The ship was rolling and straining heavily, and, although to pumps were kept going constantly, the water continued to increase until about seven o’clock in the evening, when the crew abandoned her.  Shortly after all hands had left an explosion occurred on board, and the vessel subsequently took fire. She was burning all night, and foundered at about 10o’clock the following morning.  The crew were picked up by a Liverpool barque.  The Indiana was insured for £1,500, which was the price paid for her by Mr Norris, but he had also expended over £900 in the purchase of stores, gear, provisions &c.
The Court on Saturday found that when the vessel left London she was in all respects in a good and seaworthy condition, and the cargo would have been a proper one had it been properly stowed, but the Court thought that, considering the mode of stowage, there was an undue proportion of dead weight. The cause of the ship making water on March 18 was that she strained badly owing to her excessive rolling in running before the wind in a heavy cross sea.  Every possible effort was made to ascertain the position of and to stop the leak.  All possible measures were also taken to keep the water under and get the vessel into port.  She was not prematurely abandoned, and the ship and freight did not appear to be over insured.  On the evidence placed before it, the Court was unable to determine what caused the fire, but when to crew left the vessel there were four lamps and a naked candle burning in the cabin and also a fire in the cabin stove: any one of the light may have been upset by the heavy rolling of the vessel, thereby causing the fire.  Neither the master nor the mate was in default, but the Court quite thought it a case that required investigation.”  [BACK]


Times: Monday, February 8, 1892, Issue 33555 – Wreck of the EMBIRICOS 1

“A Reuter telegram from Scilly states that the Greek steamer EMBIRCOS, laden with coals, bound from Cardiff to Malta, has foundered off St Martin’s Island.  Fifteen men were landed in their own boat, but ten of the crew were missing, including the captain, the mate and engineers.  The steamer struck on a rock about half past 4 on Saturday morning and sank in ten minutes.  The captain and the other missing men were last seen endeavouring to get out a boat, and it is supposed that they went down with the vessel.”

Times: Wednesday, February 10, 1892, Issue 33557 – EMBIRICOS 2 - Report of a Mutiny

"The 15 survivors of the Greek steamer EMBIRICOS, which went ashore at St Martin’s, Scilly, in a fog early on Saturday morning, were landed at Penzance yesterday from the steam ship Lyonesse.  Since the wreck, stories of the most sensational character, founded, it is alleged, on statements of members of the crew themselves, have been circulated, and have given rise to considerable speculation as to there truth of falsity.  The most serious allegation is to the effect that the captain and the officers of the vessel were murdered by the survivors.  The story is told with much circumstantiality, it being stated that a mutiny broke out sometime before the vessel struck, and that it was in the course of the mutiny, indeed, whilst the fight was going on, that the affair occurred.  On the other hand, it is said that the bloodshed did not occur until after the accident, when a rush, having been made for the boats, knives were drawn and a fight for life ensued, during which the captain and officers were murdered.  From the statements made on Monday it is very evident that there were scenes of violence, for the three serving Maltese alleged that the Greeks, who formed the large majority of the crew, used all their endeavours to prevent them entering the boat.  When questioned as to whether the knife was not used, they admitted that there was a call for “knives” but this, they say, was only to cut the boat adrift.  Another story was that after the boat had been launched some of the men who have been drowned swam in the rear of the boat for some distance, but that they were threatened with the knife, and one who was clinging to the stern was struck across the hands with an iron bar, which caused him immediately to lose his hold and sink.  John Balzan, one of the Maltese survivors, in an interview yesterday afternoon, said that the vessel left Cardiff about 11o’clock on Friday morning.  She was a fine steamer, and made good speed during the day.  Towards the close of the afternoon a thick fog came on, and, as it was accompanied by a heavy sea, navigation became somewhat dangerous, and the engines were eased down to half speed.  He and the other Maltese took no night watches, and consequently they went below during the evening.  Early in the morning he was awakened by a violent shock, which threw him from his berth.  He went up on deck, and found that they had struck on a reef of rocks some little distance from an island.  The rock had apparently torn the bottom of the vessel before the foremast, and the water was pouring in and rushing down into the stern, so that the steamer was already starting to settle down.  The captain was on the bridge endeavouring to direct operations, but there was a general scramble on the deck for the boats.  He himself with a number of Greeks and two of his fellow countrymen got alongside the lifeboat.  The Greeks endeavoured to prevent the three Maltese from getting into the boat, but they scrambled in and refused to turn out.  On being asked if any knives were used, Balzan replied that there was a call for knives, nearly every one had a knife, but they did not use them, as far as he knew, except to cut the boat off from the stanchions.  The lifeboat was lowered, and they began to pull away.  Balzan alleges that the captain and officers and the other men were, at the time they left, trying to launch the other boat.  There would have been plenty of room in the lifeboat for them because there were only 15 men in a boat that could hold 50.  When they had pulled some little distance they heard those who had been laft on the ship shrieking out for help and imploring them to come back to save them.  Balzan and the other Maltese immediately began to “back water” with the object of putting back to rescue them, but the Greeks turned on them, took the oar away from Balzan, and threatened what they would do with them if they did not do what they were told.  Although the boat was only a few yards distant from the vessel, they refused to render any assistance whatsoever.  They did not see the vessel go down, but when the boat had left about ten minutes they could see no light, and they supposed she must have sunk within that time.  When the men landed at St Martin’s it was noticed that they each carried a knife.  It was this fact that, in the first place, formed the groundwork for the extraordinary stories which have since floated about.  If the bodies of the officers are recovered, all doubts will be set at rest as to the alleged foul play."

 
Times: Thursday, February 11, 1892, Issue 33558 – Wreck of the EMPIRICOS 3, Enquiry Report

"The depositions of the 15 survivors of the Greek steamer EMPIRICOS are being taken by the Greek Consul in Cardiff.  The examination of Charles Camiliesi, of Malta, lasted half  of yesterday.  It was stated that the vessel left Cardiff on Friday last, laden with coals, for Malta, and that on Saturday morning about 4.30 she struck on rocks off Scilly.  A boat was launched, and at that time the ship was fast filling, her decks being level with the boat.  She appeared to sink stern first, with her bows in the air.  The boat put off with three Maltese and 12 Greeks.  It was so  foggy that they could not see what course to take, but at about 5 45a.m. they sighted land, and got ashore Sandy Beach, St Martin’s, Scilly, and were taken care of by the Greek Consul and the coastguard and Customs officials.  On Tuesday they left for Cardiff.  On their departure from the wreck of the EMPIRICOS there was some shouting, and the witness Camiliesi stated that he heard the voice of the boatswain, but he could not understand what he said.  As to the report reflecting upon the Greek members of the crew, he declared that no knives were used and that there was no rough treatment whatsoever.  They all behaved most orderly and in sympathy with their mates, Maltese and Greeks alike.  He had not heard his country men complain once being roughly treated by the Greeks.  Our Liverpool Correspondent states that Mr Knowles, chief engineer of the EMPIRICOS, contradicts the published story with regard to a mutiny on board the vessel before she disappeared.  He asserts that up to that time perfect harmony prevailed among the crew.  When the vessel sank the captain was on the deck, and was heard shouting after the boat on which the engineer had left the vessel.  Messrs. Green, Holland, and Sons, London, have received a letter from Captain Matthews, of their steamer Rutland, at Havre, in which he says:

 “I picked up on Sunday, five miles off the Lizard, four men in a small boat, their steamer EMPIRICOS, of Andros, Greece, having foundered.  They proved to be the first, second and third engineers, and one Greek sailor.  The engineers are Englishmen.  They had been out in the boat 28 hours, with very little clothing and nothing to eat or drink.  Their ship struck on Scilly on the Saturday morning at half-past four, and foundered in deep water 20 minutes after.  The men were in an exhausted condition. I brought them on to Havre to the British Consul.” [BACK]


Times: Monday, October 3, 1892, Issue 33759 – Wreck of the CAMIOLA.

A serious disaster occurred not far from the Seven Stones lightship, between Scilly and Land’s End, early on Saturday morning, and the crew of 24 men of a large steamer were landed at Penzance late the same evening by the Trinity steamer ALERT.  They were the officers and crew of the fine steamer CAMIOLA, of Newcastle, and owned by the Newcastle firm of Messrs. Chapman and Miller, of that town.  The CAMIOLA, which was 1,500 tons register, left Barry Docks, Cardiff, about 11o’clock on Friday morning with 3,400 tons of coal for Malta.  At about 6 o’clock on Saturday morning, when Captain Story was below and the vessel was in charge of the first officer, Mr Davidson, a terrific shock was felt.  The engine were going at full speed, and were not immediately stopped, if indeed they were stopped at all, and with every revolution of the propeller the vessel was forced on to the jagged rock which had pierced her bows.  This naturally made the rent that much greater.   At the time of the accident, the first officer was on the bridge, but the captain was immediately called, and took command.  The ship was past saving, and all efforts were concentrated on the saving of life.  The CAMIOLA carried two lifeboats, and the order hastily given to lower them was not easily obeyed.  The boats and their fastenings had never apparently been over hauled, and there was extreme difficulty in lowering them.  The gear had become useless with rust; ropes and blocks refused to work, and at one time 13 or 14 men were pulling their hardest to start a rope around a block, but without success.  No hatchets were to be founding the boats with which to severe the connexions, and it was only after the ropes had been tediously cut through with small knives, and chains and fastenings smashed with hammers, that the boats were eventually lowered.  Even then, there was danger, nearly realized more than once, of the boat capsizing when the supports were being cut away, and so pitching the whole boatload into the sea.  The water had been gaining rapidly on the ship ever since the moment of the contact with the reef, and, when the engines had expended themselves, she seemed to fall back somewhat, giving the water a fuller course through the rent.  Before the boats had got one hundred yards from her, she had sunk, and when the stern was gradually being lifted out of the water the boilers burst, and the coal gas in the after hold blew out the decks.  A whole cloud of coal dust was seen, and the stern reared up quite perpendicularly, with the propeller in the air like a windmill.  The vessel was lost to sight in a moment.  The keepers on the lightship had observed the wreck and, being unable to see the boats themselves set out for a pull of two miles and a half, in the hope of rescuing those who might be in the water.  They met the crew and returned to the lightship where the men, who had lost everything they possessed, were provided with such old garment as were to be found.  Communication was in some way effected with Penzance, and Captain Reading, the Trinity House superintendant, immediately went to there assistance in the Trinity steamer ALERT, in which they were brought to Penzance.  The crew were sent to their homes yesterday. [BACK]


Times: Monday, June 24, 1901, Issue 36489 – Wreck of the FALKLAND 1

“The four-masted barque FALKLAND, from Tacoma for Falmouth, with grain, was wrecked on Saturday evening ion the Bishop Rock, Scilly Isles.  Twenty- seven persons in all were saved, but six were drowned – namely Captain Gracie, Mr. Bateson (first mate), Anderson (the steward), and three seamen.  It appears from the narrative of the survivors that the FALKLAND was 135 days out from Tacoma.  The Bishop Rock lighthouse was sighted about 5.30 on Saturday evening, and after passing the lighthouse the ship tacked, but the tide prevented her    from going about.  The ship missed stays and drove right on to the rock about quarter to 7.  She struck amidships and sank in about ten minutes from the lighthouse.  When the FALKLAND struck, the crew got a boat out as quickly as possible and two or three men got in and took the captain’s wife and child and the rest of those on board except the captain, mate, steward, and three men.  One sailor and the cabin boy jumped into the sea, but both were rescued.  Meanwhile the St Agnes and the St Mary’s lifeboats went out to rescue the crew.  The St Agnes lifeboat reached the ship’s boat and landed its occupants, including the captain’s wife and child.  The St Mary’s lifeboat returned later on Saturday night from the scene of the wreck without seeing the missing crew.  It blew a gale from the S. W. during the night.  The FALKLAND was an iron four masted barque of 3,676 net tons, built at Liverpool in 1880, and owned by the Palace Shipping Company (limited), of Liverpool.

According to another narrative the FALKLAND got among the rocks and trying to clear them struck on the Western or Bishop’s Rock, her main yard actually touching the lighthouse.  She then turned over and went down in a few minutes.  It was blowing so hard at the time that a staff erected by the Admiralty on Friday in connection with the development of the wireless telegraphy system, and standing160 ft. high, was blown away.  The boatswain in a statement said that after the vessel struck orders were given to launch the lifeboats but the vessel having a list, only one of the lifeboats could be got out.  When he himself jumped along with the others into the water and was picked up by the boat, the captain and mate were on the poop, but he did not see the other missing men.  The vessel went down, blowing up her hatches, deckhouse, and poop as she foundered.  A boy jumped from aft, and after swimming for about 15 minutes was also picked up.  A man was seen clinging to a hencoop, but the sea being so rough and the boat so crowded they could not render any assistance.  After being in the boat about an hour they caught sight of the St Agnes lifeboat, which brought them into the island of St Mary’s, where they were supplied with clothes, having saved nothing of their own.
The body of a man, supposed to be the one seen clinging to the hencoop, was seen yesterday morning in a bay near the scene of the wreck, but owing to the heavy sea it was impossible to launch a boat to recover it.  The hencoop was picked up close to where the body was seen.  The body of Bateson, the mate, was landed in the afternoon.

Times: Tuesday, June 25, 1901, Issue 36490 – Wreck of the FALKLAND 2

“The survivors of the crew of the FALKLAND, wrecked off Scilly, Mrs Gracie, the captains wife, and his child arrived at Penzance yesterday.  All the crew speak well of the kind treatment they received at Scilly.  They state that Captain Gracie and the chief officer, Mr Bateson, were seen doing their duty bravely up to the time the vessel went down.  An old man who stayed with them secured a lifebelt and threw himself into the sea but he slipped through the belt and disappeared.  The boat in which the survivors took refuge was very leaky, and the men say that the lifeboat only reached them just in time.
The inquest on the body of Gilbert Bateson, 32 years of age, a native of Bentham, Yorkshire, chief officer of the FALKLAND, was opened yesterday at Scilly.” [More details given in the Times]  [BACK]


Times: August 15, 1904, Issue 37473 – Collision of DECOY & ARUN - A very significant Naval story.

“TORPEDO MANOEUVRES - Loss of a Destroyer."

"About 11 last night, between Scilly Isles and the Wolf Rock, the DECOY and ARUN were in collision.  The night was very dark, and the wind blew fairly hard.  The ARUN, the STURGEON, and the DECOY were proceeding in line, when the first named doubled back and failed to clear the DECOY, which was rammed abreast the engine-room.  Boats were immediately lowered from the STURGEON and ARUN.  The latter is supposed here to be undamaged, because she has not put into port.  As the DECOY remained afloat half an hour, there was ample time in which to affect the rescue of her crew, all of whom found safety, some on the STURGEON and others on the ARUN. So rough was the sea that the STURGEON found it impossible to hoist her whaler aboard again, and therefore this boat was abandoned.  Personal injuries resulting from the collision were confined to two men-William T. Miller, first-class petty officer, whose collar-bone was broken, and Robert Dunn, stoker who, while in the water, was struck by the revolving propeller of the DECOY, causing serious injuries to both legs.  The STURGEON came on to Falmouth with the injured men, who received attention from the doctors of the DEVASTATION depot ship and the GRASSHOPPER.  Then the STURGEON proceeded to Plymouth, taking with her those whom she had brought from the DECOY.”

NOTE: The DECOY was built at Chiswick, by Thornycroft, in 1894. She had a displacement of 260 tons, an i.h.p. of 4,200, and a speed of 27.6 knots.  She was 185ft long.  Her armament was 6-pounder quick firing guns, with three torpedo tubes.  Her complement numbered 85, the offices being Lieutenant W. D. Paton (in command) and Sub-Lieutenant J. S. Hincks (acting)

[NOTE:  This report formed part of a much larger dialogue on the exercise between the Blue and Red battle fleets.  The report that there were no fatalities is repeated!]

Times: Tuesday, August 16, 1904, Issue 37474  – Collision of DECOY & ARUN

"The OSTRICH, t.b.d., Lieut. and Com. A. F. St. C. Armitage, arrived at Plymouth yesterday, having on board Lieut.-Com. W. D. Paton, Sub-Lieut. J. S. Hincks, the gunner, and leading signalman of the DECOY, t,b.d., which was sunk in a collision of the Isles of Scilly.  The OSTRICH had no news of the only member of the DECOY’S crew not accounted for, and little doubt is felt that he was drowned.  He was a native of Devonport.  [The drowned crewman was a T. Linnon.  See also Royal Cornwall Gazette 18/08/1904.]

Later Note Issue 37478: “A Court-martial is to be held at Devonport on Monday to inquire into the loss of DECOY, t.b.d., in collision with ARUN t.b.d., off Scilly Isles, on the 13th inst.”

Times: Tuesday, August 23, 1904, Issue 37480  – Collision of DECOY & ARUN  [More detail in Times]

"The First Court Martial [more of a court of enquiry] - This primarily dealt with the evidence from the officers of the DECOY.  The text is lengthy describing the manoeuvres prior to the collision and the actions subsequent to the collision.  The Court found as follows;

“The Court found that the loss of the DECOY was caused by the ARUN coming into collision with her, the effect of the collision being that she was so weakened that she sagged amidships, thus rendering the watertight bulkhead amidships useless.  They added: - “The Court therefore is of the opinion that after the collision every possible step was taken to endeavour to save the ship and when that was clearly impossible, to save life.  The Court therefore acquits Lieut. And Com. William D. Paton the officers and crew of his Majesty’s ship DECOY of all blame for the loss of their ship.  The Court considers that the circumstances which led to the collision were: - (1) The absence of navigation screened stern lights combined with the darkness of the night and state of the sea; (2) the leader of the division, his Majesty’s ship ARUN, having lost touch with his division, altering course 16 points, and, with the exception of making a ‘call’ with a Villier’s Light, not taking any steps to show that he was approaching on an opposite course”


Wednesday, August 31, 1904, Issue 37487. – Collision of DECOY & ARUN  [More detail in Times]

"Second Court Martial which was trial to investigate the conduct of Com. Reginald Y. Tyrwhitt, commanding officer of the ARUN t.b.d.
Precis:  After objecting to three members of the Court, which was allowed, the prisoner was charged the he negligently, or by default, hazarded HMS ARUN and DECOY; He declined to plead.  The evidence given by Commander of the DECOY, and others, involved complex manoeuvres at night without lights and at speed.  The text of the case against Commander Tyrwhitt is lengthy and very detailed and centred around a change of course he made in the ARUN.  The Court, after deliberating in private for nearly half an hour, found that the charge of hazarding ARUN and DECOY was proved, inasmuch as Commander Tyrwhitt did not ensure that his consorts were made aware of his charge of course.  The charge of neglect was not proved.  The prisoner was adjudged to be reprimanded."

[Although there had been other ship lost, this was adjudged one of the Navies most serious incidents in peace time, at this period in its history, due to the loss of life.]  [BACK]


Times:  Monday, December 16, 1907, Issue 38517 – Wreck of the T. W. LAWSON 1.

“A wreck, attended with the loss of 17 lives, occurred on Saturday morning off the Isles of Scilly.  It was reported on Friday night that a large sailing ship was in difficulties in Broad Sound, and the lifeboats at St Agnes and St Mary’s went to her assistance.  It was found that the vessel was the American schooner THOMAS W. LAWSON, 5400 tons, bound from Philadelphia for London with case oil.  She was anchored in a dangerous position, and the St Mary’s lifeboat, which had been dismasted, returned to obtain the assistance of a tug.  The St Agnes boat meanwhile, stood by with the object of rendering assistance.  As the night wore on the wind blew with almost hurricane force, and the sea became very rough.  One of the St Agnes boats crew was taken ill, and it therefore returned to harbour, leaving W. Hicks, a Trinity pilot of St Agnes, on board the ship.  Hicks arranged to signal if the lifeboats were needed during the night, but no signal was observed.  The schooner’s lights were seen until 2 50 a.m. on Saturday, when they disappeared.  It was thought that possibly the ship had slipped her cables and cleared the islands, but at daylight it was found that she had capsized and become a total wreck.  The St Agnes lifeboat went out and rescued the survivors, who numbered three, and were found on the island of Annet and the outlying Heleweather rocks.  They are the captain, George Dow, of Somerville: the engineer, Edward Rowe, of Boston: and one of the seamen named George Allen, who lived at Battersea.  Allen died yesterday afternoon.  The rest of the crew, numbering 15, and the pilot, were drowned.  The captain had a broken wrist, and Allen was suffering from exposure and buffeting by the waves, Rowe was unhurt. 
He states that the captain, mate, and pilot and himself were lashed to the mizzen rigging when the mast fell.  He jumped to the deck, and was washed overboard.  The captain also managed to get clear, and they were both washed to the same rock half a mile from the wreck.  The pilot seemed to be entangled in the wreckage.  All had lifebelts on.  Hicks, the pilot, leave a widow and nine children.  Five bodies have been recovered, and three of them have been identified – those of Mark Simpson; cabin boy, Brooklyn; George Bolimke, a German; and Victor Hansell, a Swede, fireman.  The inquest will open to-day.  It appears that the captain was found on the Helewether Rock he was injured and unable to swim to the rope thrown from the St Agnes boat.  The captain was helpless, and of the four men who attempted the rescue Hicks (from the lifeboat) alone could swim.  Without hesitation, and fully dressed in his oil skins and sea boats, Hicks sprang into the water a carried a rope through the breakers and among the jagged rocks to the helpless man.  Upon reaching the captain he made fast the rope to him, and stopped on the rock until the captain was safety lifted into the boat before he himself returned.  Darkness was coming on at the time and the tide was rapidly rising.”

Times:  Thursday, December 19, 1907, Issue 38520 – Wreck of the T. W. LAWSON 2.

“THE WRECK OFF SCILLY – An inquiry was held at St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly, yesterday, on behalf of the National Lifeboat Institution respecting the wreck of the THOMAS W. LAWSON last Friday night, when one of the lifeboat men was drowned, as well as 16 of the crew of the vessel.  Mr Dorrien-Smith presided, and Lieutenant Rowley, R. N., district inspector, attended on behalf of the institution.  The question of the abandonment of the ship when one of the crew of the St Agnes boat was taken on board was fully inquired into, and the conclusions arrived at were that everything that could be done was done by the lifeboats.  It was pointed out that the St Agnes boat omitted to inform the boat at St Mary’s that they had been forced to leave, but the opinion was expressed that even if the message had been sent the St Mary’s boat could not have reached the wreck on account of the very severe weather.  The brave conduct of F. C. Hicks, the son of the drowned pilot, in the rescue of the captain of the schooner is to be brought to the notice of the lifeboat institution with a view to the medal of the institution being conferred on him.  Two more bodies were recovered yesterday.” 

Times: Wednesday, December 25, 1907, Issue 38525 – Wreck of the T. W. LAWSON 3.
"THE RECENT WRECK AT THE SCILLY ISLES – Mr T. Algernon Dorrien-Smith, writing from Tresco Abbey, Isles of Scilly, makes the following appeal:- “We have formed a committee on these islands for the relief of the widow and family of W. T. Hicks, pilot and lifeboatman, who lost his life in the execution of his duty, at the wreck of the American seven-masted sailing ship THOMAS W. LAWSON on December 14.  The tragic details have been fully reported in your paper.  He leaves a widow and a family of nine.  She and the four youngest, aged 16, 15, 12, and 7 were dependent on his earning for their support.  Contributions will be gratefully received by me, or by Barclay and Co. bankers (Scilly Branch)

Times: Friday, January 10, 1908, Issue 38539 – Wreck of the T. W. LAWSON 4.

"ROYAL NATIONAL LIFEBOAT INSTITUTION – A meeting of the general committee, held yesterday, was presided over by Sir Edward Birkbeck.  The sum of £200 was voted, with an expression of the committee’s sympathy, towards the fund raised locally for the benefit of the widow and dependant children of W. T. Hicks, a lifeboatman, who lost his life on board the seven-masted schooner THOMAS W. LAWSON, wrecked at the Scilly Isles on December 14, 1907.  The silver medal of the institution was awarded to Mr Frederick C. Hicks for gallantry saving the captain of the vessel on the same occasion."

Times: Tuesday, September 8, 1908, Issue 38746 - – Wreck of the T. W. LAWSON 5.

HUMANITY REWARDED – The Board of Trade have received, through the Foreign Office, a gold watch and chain for Fredrick E. Hicks, and gold medals for Osbert Hicks, William Trenary, Obadiah Hicks, Grenfell Legg, Frederick Hicks, William C. Mortimer, junior, and Israel Hicks, junior, boatmen, of St Agnes, which have been awarded to them by the President of the United States in recognition of their services in rescuing the survivors of the crew of the American schooner THOMAS W. LAWSON of Boston, which was wrecked off the Island of Annet, Scilly, on December 14 last.  [BACK]


Times: Tuesday, April 19, 1910, Issue 39250 Ashore, the MINNEHAHA (1910)

The steamship MINNEHAHA, of the Atlantic Transport Line, bound from New York to London, went ashore at 1 30a.m/ yesterday on the Seal Rock, near Bryher, one of the Isles of Scilly. 
The weather was foggy, and it is said that the officers of the ship had been unable to take observations for three days.  A look-out was being kept for the Bishop Lighthouse when the ship grounded.  There were 64 passengers on board and some hundreds of cattle besides general cargo.  The passengers were all saved in boats and landed at Bryher and some of the cattle were landed on Samson Island.  After striking the vessel made water rapidly forward and the ship took a slight list to port.  The cargo in the first and second holds forward was jettisoned with the object of lightening the vessel.  Soon after the ship struck distress signals were made from the Bishop Rock.  The lifeboat at St Mary was launched and other boats put off from Bryher and other islands.  Wireless messages asking for assistance were received at Falmouth, and three tugs left there for the scene of the wreck.  In the meantime the passengers were conveyed to St Mary, where they were accommodated last night.  This morning they will be conveyed to Penzance by steamer and will travel to London by special train.  The steamer was holed amidships and had last evening 20ft of water in her forward hold.  The engine and boiler rooms were not damaged.  The weather remained foggy last night, with a moderate wind.
Our Plymouth Correspondent telegraphed late last night:-
Two tugs from Falmouth have arrived at Scilly and are in attendance on the MINNEHAHA.  The ship remains fast on the rock, and her position seems hopeless.  At high water no attempt was made to float her.  Although the fore part of the ship is flooded the after part is dry, as are also the engine and boiler rooms.  Just before the vessel struck, the northern point of Bryher Island had been sighted, and the captain, thinking himself to be south of the islands, headed in a south-westerly direction and struck the Seal Rock.  No panic occurred amongst the passengers, who were all landed by half-past 2 a.m.  If the sea continues smooth, the greater part of the cargo may be salved.

Times:  Wednesday, May 11, 1910, Issue 39269 – MINNEHAHA - Court Case 1

At Thames Police Court, Captain Hugh Thomas, master of the steam trawler LETTY, residing in Granville-road, Liverpool, and Robert Thomas, chief officer of the same ship, of Salem-street, Amlwch, North Wales, were charged before Mr Chester-Jones with stealing goods from the S.S. MINNEHAHA, at present lying on the rocks off the Scilly Isles.
It was stated that the property belonged to the Liverpool Salvage Association, who had charted the LETTY for use in salvaging the MINNEHAHA’S cargo.
James Berry, a dock constable in the service of the Port of London Authority, stated that he went on board the LETTY, which was lying in the East India Dock, and asked Captain Thomas what he had in his cabin.  He replied, “I have a few tins of meat. I got them from the wreck; and it is usual when salving vessels to have a bit of food.” Six tins of lunch tongues were found in a cupboard in the chart-room.  The witness also found a 7lb tin of beef and five fly cages; the latter Captain Thomas said he took to stain some paint.
Sergeant T. Foster said he spoke to Robert Thomas, who in reply said, “I am the chief officer.” In his berth he found an air gun and other, five tins of lunch tongues, a 7lb tin of preserves, and other things.  The air gun and other things were given me by men on the MINNEHAHA.  The other things I picked up on the ship amongst the hatches.”
Mr Chester-Jones remanded both prisoners, and admitted them on bail.

The Atlantic Transport liner MINNEHAHA which has been lying on the rocks at Scilly for some weeks, was successfully refloated yesterday, and proceeded under her own steam to Crow Sound, where she now lies at anchor.

Times:  Monday, May 16, 1910, Issue 39273 - MINNEHAHA   Court Case 2

“The MINNEHAHA – Further Charges
At Thames, John Brown, 45, a ship’s mate, of Chatsworth-street, Liverpool, was brought up in the custody of Divisional, Detective-inspector Ball, K Division, charged with stealing property from the steamship MINNEHAHA, recently on the rocks off the Scilly Isles.
Counsel for the prosecution mentioned that some more men were to be arrested as soon as their vessel arrived in dock.  To lighten the vessel, three steam trawlers were engaged to take in cargo discharged from the MINNEHAHA.  Complaints had been made of a serious loss of some of the cargo placed in the Steinberg, one the trawlers, and in consequence of what was found the defendant and two seamen had been arrested.   After the Steinberg hah discharged her cargo and was about to leave the dock, Sergeant Foster went on boars, and in the defendant’s berth he found a large clock, six bottles of machine oil, bottles of tablets, and other articles.
The defendant: - I saw the thing lying about the deck and thought there was no harm in having them.
Counsel said there was no desire to press charges, but only prevent recurrence.
The magistrate dealt with the case as one of unlawful possession and fined the defendant £5, with the alternative of a month’s imprisonment.
Joshua Davis, 35, a seamen, of Aberporth, Carnarvon, and Michael Lee, a seamen of county Arklow, Ireland, were also charged with being in unlawful possession of some goods taken from the MINNEHAHA, and were each fined 40s with the alternative of 14 days imprisonment.

Note: There were six more people convicted of stealing on May 25th.  Hugh Thomas the master and Robert Thomas the chief officer were remanded again on June 1st they were bound to come up for judgement if called upon.  Issue 39288)

ALSO, Not transcribed;

Times: Thursday, May 26, 1910, Issue 39282 – MINNEHAHA, Board of Trade Inquiry
Again Wednesday, June 1, 1910, Issue 39287 – MINNEHAHA, Board of Trade Inquiry
Again Saturday, June 4, 1910, Issue 39290 – MINNEHAHA, Board of Trade Inquiry
September 27, 1910, Issue 39389, - 36 tons of coffee was condemned as unfit for human consumption.
Tuesday, December 13, 1910, Issue 39454 – Salvage of Cattle from the MINNEHAHA, award of £780 10s., made to the plaintiffs. (Mr Francis Tonkin and 146 boatmen from the Isles of Scilly)  [BACK]


Times: Saturday, November 29, 1913, Issue 40382 – Loss of the THORNLIEBANK  (Another Nitrate Ship.)

“Early yesterday morning the THORNLIEBANK was wrecked on the Crim Rock, Scilly.  The THORNLIEBANK belongs to Messrs. Andrew Weir and Co., and so is British owned, but had she arrived in port she would have been bought by Norwegian owners.  It is understood that Messrs. Weir are gradually replacing their sailing ship tonnage by steamers; to be transferred to Norwegian owners or to be wrecked now seems to be the fate of many British ships.  The Thornliebank was uninsured.  She was a steel ship of 2,105 tons, built by Russell and Co. at Port Glasgow in 1896.  The crew of the THORNLIEBANK were saved.  They took to a ship’s boat, which was picked up by a lifeboat [Charles Deere James of St Agnes] and towed into St. Mary’s.  Yet the cargo of nitrate from Pisagua was valued at £31,000., and was insured to the extent of 75 per cent in Liverpool and 25 per cent in London.  The cargo will not be the first to be lost in the neighbourhood of the Lizard and the Scilly Isles [Article continues on the subject of lost nitrate ships]  

Times: Saturday, January 31, 1914, Issue 40435

“A Wreck Off The Scillies: Light and Signal Changes.  The THORNLIEBANK was built at Port Glasgow in 1898, her net tonnage being 1,969.  She was owned by the Bank Line (Limited), of Glasgow.  On August 20 last she left Pisagua with a crew of 25 hands, and 3,082 tons of nitrate, bound to Falmouth.  On November 24 a dense fog came on, and on November 27 a passing steamer in answer to the master’s inquiry, gave him the position as longitude W 7 .35 and Latitude N 49 .24, which differed from the position worked out by dead reckoning.  A cast of the lead at 5 p.m. gave 68 fathoms, and the master assumed that he was near the French coast.  At 9.30 p.m. a light was seen, and soon afterwards a fog signal was heard, and then a red light was seen on the starboard bow.  The master was puzzled about the lights and the fog and the fog signal, and after consultation with the chief mate came to the conclusion that the light was Ushant.  Shortly after 5 a.m. breakers were seen ahead, the vessel struck on the Crim Ledge, and begun to settle down.  The crew had to take to the starboard boat, and nothing was saved except the ship’s register.  The fog lifted at daylight, but the ship was no longer to be seen.  A sail was hoisted and about midday the crew were picked up by a lifeboat from St Agnes and taken to St. Mary.  The Bishop Rock light has been recently altered and a notice issued of the alteration, but the captain said he had not received this notice.  A new fog signal was fixed on Round Island on September 4 last and notice was given, but the master had previously left this country with his ship.  The master attributed the disaster to the change in the light and to his having no information about the fog signal.”  [Note: There is no mention here of the masters name in either of these reports?]

Times: Thursday, February 5, 1914, Issue 40439 – Sailing Ship Master Censured.
Captain Thomas Thomas, master of the THORNLIEBANK of Glasgow for not having acquainted himself to a change of light signals on the Bishop. More detail in this issue if required.  [This article definitely names the master as Captain Thomas Thomas.  However, IOSM page 118, WoS page 61 & the SI all state the Captain /Master was a G. E. Crosby; this needs to be checked]  [BACK]


Times: Monday, May 3, 1915, Issue 40844 – EDALE & GULFLIGHT, torpedoed.

“The Middlesbrough steamer EDALE, 3,110 tons, met with a similar fate, being torpedoed off Scilly without warning on Saturday morning.  The crew were saved."

Times:  Tuesday, May 4, 1915, Issue 40845 – More on the EDALE.

"The crew of the Middlesbrough steamer EDALE (3,110 tons), which was torpedoed off Scilly on Saturday, reached Penzance from Scilly last evening, states the Western Daily Mercury.  Captain Venning, of the EDALE, said his ship was bound from the River Plate to Manchester.  He sailed on March 27 with a cargo of cereals.  At 6 o clock on Saturday morning, 45 miles north-west of Scilly they were suddenly torpedoed, being struck abaft the engine-room in No. 3 hold.  The hatches were blown up and a column of water and debris rose 200 feet in the air.  They immediately launched two lifeboats, which the crew of 24 got in safely and pulled away from the ship.
A quarter of an hour after the EDALE was torpedoed a submarine appeared on the surface, that being the first time they had seen anything of her.  The submarine then motioned the crew to get away, and immediately began to bombard the ship with shells.  Several shots were fired at her engine room and two at her stern, but although many projectiles were discharged, it was two hours before she sank.  As soon as the EDALE sank the submarine disappeared, and the survivors hoisted the sail of their boat and made for Scilly.  When 15 miles off the island they were picked up by a patrol-boat, which landed at Scilly at 6.30 in the evening.”  [BACK]


BACK TO CONTENTS

BACK TO SHIP INCIDENTS