The Wreck Chart for the year 1897 - 98


This is a section of the Wreck Chart for 1 July 1897 to 31 June 1898 as compiled by the RNLI from the Board of Trade register. Each black dot represents the total loss of a vessel or a serious casualty. Total loss refers to the vessel and not to the crew.



27 December 1897  The schooner ANN JANE, of Portmadoc, was bound from London to Caernarfon with a cargo of cement. At mid-day she was seen from Rhosneigr, Anglesey, close inshore and heading in a north westerly direction. A strong gale was blowing from WSW and, as it looked certain the vessel would go ashore, preparations were made to launch the lifeboat Thomas Lingham. A team of horses was hitched to the launching carriage and pulled the boat almost three miles along the beach of heavy sand. At one point they had to cross a shallow river. The lifeboat was launched and the schooner's crew of five and one passenger were rescued from the rigging. The Lifeboat Institution awarded William Jones, Honorary Secretary of the Rhosneigr station, its formal Thanks for his efforts on this difficult service. Additional payments were made to the lifeboat crew and launchers. The total payments amounted to  £ 19 - 15s.


21 January 1898  The 2,200 ton steamship MARECA, of London, was bound from Cork for Newport (Mon.) in ballast, when she went ashore to the west of St Govans Head, Pembrokeshire, in poor visibilty. The vessel broke her back on the rocks and became a total loss. Her crew of 24 got ashore safely.


16 February  The schooner GRIQUALAND WEST, of Peel, Isle of Man, was bound from Cardiff to Youghal with a cargo of coal, when she ran into a heavy westerly gale and was driven ashore near Breaksea Point on the Glamorgan coast. A total wreck her hull was sold for £39, masts, sails, rigging and other materials made £45 and her cargo £62.


25 February The schooner GRACE PHILLIPS, of Caernarfon, was bound, in ballast, from Milford for Bangor, when driven onto Cliperau rocks in Holyhead Bay by a sou'westerly gale. A boat was launched by three hobblers (pilots assistants) and landed her crew of three.


24 March A severe gale NE force 10 blew for more than 24 hours driving many vessels ashore and causing a number of wrecks:  The trow JOHN, of Gloucester, was bound from Barry to Newport with silver sand when the seas began to break over her, she filled and sank. Her crew were picked up by the yacht Osprey and landed at Weston super Mare. (Trows were river craft, not unlike the Mersey flats, and, having open holds, unsuited to coastal passages).

On the same day the fishing smack JWC, of Aberystwyth, was wrecked under the cliffs near New Quay.

At Fishguard the crew of the lifeboat had a very busy time.  In the morning the gale was accompanied by frequent squalls of sleet and a heavy sea. Just before 10 o'clock a vessel in the roads hoisted a distress signal. The lifeboat Appin was launched at five past ten, by which time three other vessels showed signals for assistance. The Appin  first went to the ketch PROGRESS, of Aberystwyth, bound from Aberdyfi for Dover with a cargo of slates and took off her master and two crew. She then went to the ketch JOHN & ANN, of Aberystwyth, Newport to Goodwick with coal; then the smack Martha Jane, of Aberystwyth, with coal from Cardiff for Aberaeron; and finally the the ketch Dolphin, of and from Bideford, which had just delivered a cargo of gravel at Goodwick. From each of these the lifeboat also saved the master and two. The Appin then ran for the shore at Goodwick where she landed the twelve men. The PROGRESS  rode heavily to her cables and eventually sank. The JOHN & ANN parted her cables and sank in deep water. The other two vessels parted their cables and drove onto the shore where they survived.


26 March The schooner BARON HILL, of Liverpool, had just sailed from Flint with a cargo of salt cake when she stranded in the Dee estuary. Her crew abandoned and landed at Connahs Quay. Within two days she was a total wreck and being stripped.


7 April The schooner CITY of CHESTER, was bound from Swansea to Mostyn, with burnt ore, when she stranded in Church Bay (Porth Swtan) to the north of Holyhead in a near gale from the south. Her crew were able to scramble ashore.


10 May The schooner G.F. WILLIAMS, of Bridgwater, was bound from Dublin to Bristol with wheat when she ran into a gale from west sou'west. In a severe squall she heeled over and her cargo shifted leaving her on her beam ends. The crew were unable to right her and she went down about two miles north west of the South Bishop light. Her crew were picked up by the yacht St. Agnes  and landed at Milford.


15 May  The steamship BENHOLM was bound, in ballast, from Liverpool to Cardiff, when she was in collision in thick fog at 12.20 a.m. with the steamer Klondyke about 12 miles north west of Point Lynas. The collision was seen by the ship Curzon which was being towed to a South Wales port. The Curzon lowered two boats and her tug one. They picked up eleven men from the water. Later, when off Bardsey, the survivors were transferred to the steamship Rallus and landed at Liverpool. The master of the BENHOLM, third engineer, cook, five seamen, fireman and a stowaway were drowned.