WRECK of the brigantine SICIE, of Auray, near the HELWICK SAND.


A furious westerly gale was blowing on the afternoon of Monday 30 October 1911 when the coastguard at Rhossili on the Gower peninsula saw distress rockets being fired by the crew of the Helwick lightship.

The Tenby and Port Eynon lifeboat stations were informed and their boats launched. The William and Mary Devey, of Tenby and Janet, of Port Eynon reached the lightship at about six that evening and were told that at about three o'clock a vessel had been seen to founder about two miles to the south of the lightship.

Both lifeboats searched the area and found a good deal of wreckage but no sign of life.

Then on the afternoon of Friday 3 November the Swansea tug Wasp picked up a body off Mumbles Head - it was wearing a lifebelt from the 100 ton brigantine SICIE, of Auray (Brittany). That morning another body had been found on the east of Swansea Bay. One was of Capt Guillaine, master of the Sicie, and the other of the mate Guenot.

The vessel had sailed from Swansea on Saturday 28 October with a cargo of coal for the port of Lorient.

The vessel had a crew of six but I have not been able to find a report of the other victims bodies being found.

Capt Guillaine's corpse was returned to France for burial but that of Guenot was buried at Dan y Graig on Tuesday 7 November. There were eighteen French vessels in Swansea that day and their crews all left the dock to attend the funeral. Guenot's coffin was draped in the tri-color.