PEMBROKESHIRE SHIPWRECKS

The brig  KENT  wrecked at TENBY

November 1830

 

The KENT  was owned by Sir John Tobin of Liverpool. A brig of 416 tons she worked in the trade to West Africa. Her master had died on the African coast which was often known as "The white man's grave". Another man took over and he too died. The vessel left under the command of Capt Johnston.

On 25 November 1830 the KENT  arrived off Milford Haven bound to Liverpool from Old Calabar and Fernando Po with a cargo of 1,400 casks of palm oil, 74 elephant tusks and 700 pieces of timber called redwood. The vessel had lost her main mast and was taken up to Caldey Roads to seek shelter.

On the 26th a strong ESE gale drove the brig ashore on the South Sand at Tenby and she broke up very quickly. The tide was dropping and the crew were able to get ashore.

About half of the tusks and most of the palm oil and timber were saved and shipped to Liverpool aboard the 200 ton steamer Lee of the Cork and Liverpool Steam Navigation Co. 150 tons of palm oil were put up for sale at Tobin's warehouse in Liverpool on Thursday 23 December.

The storm of 8 October 1896

Two barques wrecked Pembrokeshire

Many lives lost

 

On the morning of Thursday 8 October 1896 Martin Edwards, who was a farm labourer on the island of Skomer off the coast of Pembrokeshire, heard the wind get up and soon a severe gale was blowing. He went outside to keep an eye on the holding. Then at about seven he saw to the south a steam trawler and a barque. Both were making for Milford Haven. It appeared that the barque was following the trawler.

Though the trawler got into the haven the barque was driven north and struck rocks in South Haven on Skomer. Edwards was unable to do anything to assist the crew whose calls for help he could clearly hear. The vessel sank drowning all hands.

It was some days before the barque was identified. On Saturday evening part of a lifeboat was washed up at West Dale marked Venus, Lisbon.

This barque had sailed from Cardiff on 1 October bound home with a coal cargo. There were no survivors of her crew of about twenty hands. The vessel was owned by the firm of Rodriguez & Roza. 

The Norwegian barque SEA KING had sailed from Cardiff on Friday 2 October 1896 with a cargo of 1,900 tons of coal bound for Bahia, Brazil. Listed A1 with Norwegian Veritas she was of 1,117 tons net.

The voyage was going well until the evening of Wednesday 7 October when the wind really got up when the vessel was about 100 miles to the south west of the Pembrokeshire coast. At three the next morning two huge seas broke over the barque and caused serious damage by sweeping the starboard bulwarks and three men overboard. All sails were lost and the Sea King was now leaking badly. The pump was smashed and the steering broken so the barque was allowed to run before the gale. The well was sounded and showed the vessel was flooded to a depth of eight or nine feet through the holds. There was no alternative to running her ashore.

Thomas Cole of Stackpole saw the barque strike the cliffs at about seven on the evening of Thursday 8 October. He ran to Bosherston and alerted the coastguard who were able to lower lines over the cliff to rescue the master G. Olsen, the mate, steward and five hands from the hull which was rapidly breaking up. Two other members of the crew were drowned there.

One of those saved was not a Norwegian but Samuel Saunders of Pontycymer, Glamorgan.

Schooner EUPHEMIA wrecked Old Castle Head

19 February 1896

 

The schooner Euphemia was registered at Beaumaris but owned in Amlwch. Of 75 tons she was bound from London to Holyhead with a cargo of cement.

In the early hours of 19 February 1896 a light was seen which the master Richard Jones thought was that of The Smalls lighthouse. A strong south-west wind was blowing and visibility was very poor. The schooner struck rocks and was wrecked.

Nineteen year old James Thomas an able-seaman was able to swim ashore and climb the cliffs in the dark. He remained at the top of the cliffs until daylight and then made his way to a house. It was the farm house at Skrinkle near Lydstep, Pembrokeshire. The schooner had struck the rocks at the foot of Old Castle Head. Captain Richard Jones had seen the light on Caldy but thought that it was The Smalls. The south-west wind had driven the schooner up channel.

Thomas was tended by Mrs Protheroe of Skrinkle farm while her husband set off for Tenby to alert the coastguard. The coastguard took the rocket apparatus to the scene and Tenby lifeboat Annie Collin was also launched but there were no more survivors.

The master Richard Jones, his son William, who was the mate, and William Pritchard had drowned.

 

 

Wreck of the ship RAJAH, of Bremen, in December 1896

The two survivors are landed in Swansea 

 

The full rigged ship RAJAH, 1,230 tons, was owned by Diedrich Schilling of Bremerhaven. On the morning of 8 December 1896 she left Barry, South Wales, with a cargo of coal for Hong Kong. Captain Beltmann had a crew of eighteen all natives of Germany.

That evening the ship was near Lundy island when the strong south west wind increased to gale force. It was decided to put back for shelter but the ship was struck by a squall and went over on her beam. The end was so fast that exactly what happened will never be known.

Only two men were able to get a lifeboat launched and it was already damaged and its oars swept away. Soon after they were able to pick up two other men who they found swimming as the ship sank. Then a single oar was found floating and this was grabbed and helped them to keep the bow of the boat to the breaking seas. They saw other men swimming but were unable to rescue any more.

The boat drove north with the second mate (whose name seems not to have been recorded in newspaper accounts), Friedrich Wiltz able seaman, Herman Loper ordinary seaman and Heinrich Holtz aboard.

By 7.30 on Wednesday morning the second mate and Holtz were exhausted and swept overboard by the seas which broke over the damaged lifeboat which remained afloat simply because it had some airtight compartments. Wiltz and Loper were now alone.

At about 5.15 on Thursday morning they heard a steamship passing and shouted for help. Fortunately their cries were heard by the crew of the steamship Speedwell, of Sunderland, which was bound in ballast from Liverpool for Swansea. The ship was ten miles south west of Caldy island. Being December it was still dark so the crew were unable to see the men. The steamer launched her lifeboat with 1st mate Guy Potts at the helm and A. McGuire bos'n, N. Anderson carpenter, and A.Bs H. Hughes and P. Flynn at the oars. It took them an hour to locate the boat and found Wiltz and Loper standing with the sea up to their waists in the flooded boat. With a great effort they got the exhausted men aboard and back to the Speedwell. Lines were lowered over the ship to get them aboard. Clean warm clothes and a little food began to revive them. Later that morning the two were landed at Swansea and taken to the office of Messrs Rutherford and Co., brokers to the Speedwell, where they told their story and were interviewed by journalists from some of the South Wales newspapers. 

Swansea's German vice-consul Captain Frederick William Dahne, who lived at a house in Penllergaer which he named Friedrichsruhe, then took over and the men spent a few days at the Sailors Home before returning to Germany.

WRECK of the BRIG RICHARD, of SUNDERLAND

at TENBY on 3 August 1844

 

The brig RICHARD was of 185 tons net and left Cardiff with a cargo of coal for London. On 2 August 1844 she was anchored in Caldy roads. At about 1.30 a.m. the next day a severe gale began from the south east. The wind veered through the day and caused the loss of a number of vessels on the Gower coast and in parts of Pembrokeshire.

The vessel parted her cables and drifted onto the White Bank which lay between Caldy and Tenby. The crew made sail and got her off the bank but she had now lost her rudder and slowly drifted towards Tenby's South Sands. Soon after dawn many hundreds of people watched from the shore and even from the upper rooms of Tenby's houses and hotels.

The Richard now struck the shore but the tide was on the flood. If the tide had been ebbing she would have been left dry and the crew would have a better chance of getting ashore.

Lt. Guillet of the coastguard arrived with his men and the Manby mortar. The fury of the gale was increasing and the brig was pounded by huge seas. The Manby apparatus was not powerful enough to get a line to the brig.

The Richard's crew now took to the rigging. With the vessel pounding on the shore her hull parted and most of her cargo came out allowing the wreck to drift even closer to the shore. The coastguard were then able to get two lines over the wreck but her crew could not reach them. As the seas broke over the hull the master and mate were thrown against the forecastle and windlass with great force. The mate was injured and did not get up and drowned there.

The master got on the bowsprit with the other five members of his crew. One man then got into the jolly boat which was capsized time and time again and he was also lost.

Both masts now came down. It looked as though the bowsprit was about to part from the hull so the master dived in and attempted to swim ashore but was drowned. The cook tied a line which had been fired from the shore around his waist. The men ashore then pulled him towards the beach but the far end of the line was tangled in the wreck and he too was lost.

The remaining three men clunge to the windlass until at last the wreck was driven close in below a rock which stood about thirty feet high. Lines were thrown down and two of them drawn ashore. A scaling ladder was thrown down to save the last man.

Those who survived were: Thomas Cook, William Wells and Thomas Stubbs.

The men who died were: William Cook the master, William Watts the mate,                   Robert Clasher the cook, and James Tate seaman.

The people of Tenby and those visiting the town, which was quite a tourist destonation even in those days, raised almost £50 to assist the survivors and the families of those lost.

The survivors were taken up to Bristol in the Phoenix steamer. There they were fitted with new clothes before being sent home to Sunderland. Subscribers at the Commercial Rooms began a new fund which raised £20 in the first two hours. This too was sent to the bereaved in Sunderland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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