Friday 22 April 1932


Elias Alvarez Pardo had taken a look at the website hoping to find what had happened to the trawler Ulia Mendi. He understood that the vessel had struck rocks near The Smalls and sank drowning ten of her crew including his great-grandfather Mariano Pardo. Finding no mention of the incident on the site he sent me an email asking if I could assist his research.

I was able to, and here is the result.

On Saturday 23 April 1932 Lloyds received this message from Fishguard Radio Station: "The following received from the master of the British steamer Daldorch today: At 3.30 a.m. one mile west of Skokholm Light picked up two Spanish seamen in waterlogged boat. Cannot obtain any information from these seamen. Please keep sharp lookout."

The Daldorch was bound in ballast from Liverpool to Barry. The two men rescued were landed at Barry and taken to Cardiff where they were taken care of by the Spanish consul before returning home.

The Ulia Mendi and her sister trawler Jaizkibel Mendi were owned by Carregui and Co., of the port of Pasajes, near San Sebastian in the Basque country of northern Spain. They had been fishing off the Pembrokeshire coast and landing their catch at Milford where they had to pay a 10% tarrif on the value.

The vessels sailed from Milford on the evening of Friday 22 April. When about 15 miles from St Ann's Head the skipper of the Jaizkibel Mendi lost sight of the Ulia Mendi and his radio messages were not answered. The Jaizkibel searched but failed to find any trace of the Ulia and returned to Milford to raise the alarm.

The rescued men Gabino Perez, a stoker, of San Sebastian, and Gumersindo Gomez, able seaman of Pontevedra, told the Spanish consul what had occurred. The Ulia Mendi had struck a reef of submerged rock at about 10.30 p.m. and was holed below the engine room. The vessel began to flood and the skipper Luis Olaeta turned the vessel round and steamed back towards the shore. He then ordered four men to launch the boat and take the trawler's papers with them. The boat was towed but after a while the tow parted and the trawler steamed away - her crew did not realise what had happened. The trawler fired many distress rockets and also burnt nets soaked in paraffin.

The boat was repeatedly swamped by the sea and in danger of sinking. Hours later the four  realised that a steamer was passing and their cries were heard by the lookout of the Daldorch. The ship was stopped and put astern. A boat was lowered manned by five of the crew: the chief officer, third officer, bosun and two seamen. It took them half an hour to locate the trawler's men by which time the boat had sunk. One man had said to his mates "I cannot stand this any longer boys. I am going down. Good bye." Another attempted to swim to the Daldorch but was also drowned. The two survivors were picked up and the boat rowed back to the steamer. As it got near it too was swamped and sank. Lines were dropped over the side and all five of the crew and the two Spaniards pulled aboard.

The Ulia Mendi sank while attempting to get back to the coast. But where does not seem to be known.

Her crew were:

Luis Olaeta - the skipper, Demetrio Sagarzazu, of Fuenterrabia, Constantino Pazos, Pedro Baldomar, Pedro Aguinaga, Esteban Egusquiaguirre, Jose Larzabal, Fidel Chacartegui, Jose Pineiro and Mariano Pardo - all of whom were lost.

The two men saved by the Daldorch were: Gabino Perez and Gumersindo Gomez.

The officers and men of the Daldorch, who saved the two, were awarded medals by Lloyds for saving life at sea. They were Chief Officer Charles Macdonald, and third officer William Stenhouse, who received the Silver medal; boatswain John Robert Wilson, and seamen John Sandover and James Rees Day who received the bronze medal.

The master of the Daldorch was Capt D. I. Jenkins. He had been awarded the Lloyds silver medal during the First World War for "Extraordinary exertion and gallant conduct" in saving many of the crew and passengers of the British transport Armadale sunk on 29 June 1917 by an enemy U-boat off the north coast of Ireland. 


DALDORCH 662ysb5r-eyonH-oEWkQ-

The steamer Daldorch which rescued the two Spaniards.

Built in 1930, she was owned by the S.S. Daldorch Co.Ltd., and managed by J.M. Campbell and Son, of Glasgow.



DALSERF wrecked Grassholm 1910


DALSERF wreck salvage sale

Advert in  The Tenby Observer  of 27 October 1910 announcing the sale of goods saved from the wreck.


The steamship DALSERF was registered in Glasgow and of 1,849 gross tons and 1,017 net. She sailed from Penarth on Saturday 9 July 1910 with a cargo of 2,800 tons of coal for the navy at Oban.

Off the Pembrokeshire coast speed was reduced because of thick fog. The lookout reported rocks ahead and the engines put astern but the ship struck the island of Grassholm. The crew were unable to refloat her. The master and first mate remained aboard but the rest of the crew left in the lifeboats and were taken aboard by the Admiralty steamer Alligator and then landed at Milford by a torpedo boat.

Over the next ten days hopes were high of refloating and saving the ship which had been built the year before. Much of the coal cargo was saved but the fore part of the ship was badly damaged and she broke up on 22 July. The master and mate had left the ship three days earlier.

The Board of Trade inquiry into the loss was held at Middlesborough where the ship was owned. It concluded that the master Evan Williams, a native of Aberaeron, had not navigated the vessel with "proper and seamanlike care" and he was severely censured. However as he had an excellent record for more than 12 years he was allowed to keep his certificate.

List of the crew:

Evan Williams, of Aberaeron, master; G. Oliver 1st mate, of Middlesborough; Thomas Phillips 2nd mate, Ferryside; John William Cook, chief engineer, Stockton on Tees; W. Hughes, 2nd engineer, Llanon Cardiganshire; T.W. Dillon, 3rd engineer, Cardiff; J.Holman, boatswain, Middlesborough; E.R. Lewis, steward, St Dogmaels; W. England, mess steward, Penarth.

T.Gilbertson, signalman, Swindon; M. Kavanagh, donkeyman, Penarth.

Seamen: J. Martin, Aberaeron; J. Regan, Clonakilty; H. Humbly, Cardiff; H. Badcock, Cardiff.

Firemen: T. Galvan, W. Frampton, G. Flannigan, Joseph Harris  - all of Penarth.




on the




The Earl of Aberdeen was built in 1886. She had an iron hull and was four masted with a registered tonnage of 2,124. A number of newspaper reports describe her as a four-masted barque but in fact she was ship rigged. That is she had square sails on all four masts - the fore, main, mizzen and jigger.

She left Barry, Glamorgan, South Wales at 7.30 a.m. on 14 May 1892 in tow of the Liverpool tug Blazer and had a Bristol Channel pilot aboard. The ship had loaded 3,099 tons of coal and was bound for Montevideo. She was under the command of Capt William Patrick who had a crew of 27 officers and men including five young apprentices.

The tug towed the ship down channel and when to the north west of Lundy island she was cast off at about 8.30 p.m. with plenty of sea room in which to tack out of the channel. The pilot left at the same time to return to Barry. At 10.30 the watches were chosen - the starboard watch remaining on deck and the port going below. At midnight the watches changed.

Seaman Joseph Sebastian, a native of Guadaloupe in the French West Indies, was at the wheel and told to steer North West and keep her as near to the wind as he could. The ship was on the port tack. Exactly what happened in the next few hours is unclear as the master and mate disagreed but the Board of Trade inquiry held into the loss was inclined to accept the mate's version. He said that he was told by the master to hold the course and was not to put the ship on the starboard tack without the master being on deck. The mate said that he called the master, who was in his cabin, three times to report the ship's position but that the master did not come on deck. The light on The Smalls was seen at about 1 a.m. on 15 May and the ship then entered the red sector of that light - she was standing into danger and it seems that the mate must have realised. The master still did not come on deck. The mate surprisingly did not take action to put the ship about.

At 2.30 a.m. the Earl of Aberdeen struck the Hats and Barrels reef which lies between the island of Grassholm and The Smalls light. These four hazards run east to west off the island of Skomer. They were well known and clearly marked on the Admiralty charts of the time just as they are today.

The ship filled at once so that the deck was level with the sea. Most of the men took to the rigging to escape the seas which swept the deck. John Burgess, the carpenter, remained on deck cutting the lashings of the two lifeboats (two smaller boats hung in davits). He was able to get into one boat and was joined by Joseph Sebastian who jumped from the jigger rigging as the boat drifted past. The boat was swept away from the wreck. After three hours they were spotted and picked up by the steam collier Scott Harley, of Cork,  which landed them at Newport (Mon.) that evening.

The first ship to arrive was the S.S. Mary Hough, of Liverpool, she launched a small boat but with just a few hands aboard it was unable to pull against the current and was unable to get alongside the wreck though it did stand by for most of the day.

The steam gun-boat HMS Foxhound arrived next shortly before 5 a.m. Her commander ordered out the cutter with ten oarsmen and Gunner Gill at the helm. They pulled to the stern of the wreck and threw lines to the men in the mizzen and jigger rigging who jumped into the sea and were pulled aboard and taken back to the Foxhound. The cutter was then rowed towards the fore part of the wreck but failed to get near due to the heavy confused seas which swept the deck. The naval men attempted to persuade the men in the rigging to jump into the sea or make their way astern. None of them did.

The ship broke up and the masts fell drowning those in the fore rigging.


The Foxhound stood by from 5 a.m. until 6 p.m. but was unable to save anyone else. She returned to Milford Haven where she landed the master, first mate, and nine men:

William Patrick, master, of George Street, New Quay, Cardiganshire

Enoch Davies, first mate, of Llanon, Cardiganshire

John Gordon, steward, of Elgin, Scotland

John O'Neale, able seaman of St John, New Brunswick

Joseph Martin, A.B. 28 Temple Street, Newport Mon.

John Toner, A.B. 6 Elizabeth St. Birkenhead

John Smith, A.B. 17 Paisley Road, Glasgow

William Irvine, A.B.  of Rotterdam

J. Jacobson, A.B. of Lerwick, Shetland

B. Svenson A.B. of Kalmar, Sweden

Carl Oller, O.S. (ordinary seaman) of Rothenburg, Germany


The S.S. Scott Harley landed at Newport Mon.:

John Burgess, the carpenter, of 150 St Helens Avenue, Swansea

Joseph Sebastian, A.B. of Guadaloupe, French West Indies


The men drowned were:

Robert Evans, second mate, of Llysgwyrfai, Wainfawr, Caernarvonshire

William Watts, boatswain, Felixstowe, Suffolk

William A. Swinhoe, sailmaker, 19 Richardson Street, Swansea

James S.  Anderson, cook, 107 Albert Street, Glasgow

Edward Cremer, apprentice, London

Alexander Milne, apprentice, Barry

William Owen Evans, apprentice, London

William Bellwood, apprentice, London

Stanley Woodford, apprentice, London

A. W. Kluger, A.B., of Schlusing

J. Gurney, A.B., 62 Alfred Street, East Hartlepool

Thomas Upton, A.B. of New Quay

Frank Winslow, A.B., of 42 Henry Street, Liverpool

Carl Andersen, A.B., Oscarsand


At the Board of Trade Inquiry the master and mate's evidence did not agree though the court was inclined to take the mate's evidence as more accurate. The result was that both were found to be at fault. The master's certificate was suspended for nine months and the mate's for three. That seems a light judgement. Were they ever employed again one wonders.








The master and six saved, eleven men lost



Looking at Volume 5 of Shipwreck Index of the British Isles, by Richard and Bridget Larn, I noticed that they have listed a ship named ARAMINTA as being wrecked off Holyhead on 18 March 1867. I did not have this vessel in my list of Anglesey wrecks and when I took a look at Welsh newspapers for the week following it was not mentioned. However I did find the story of the loss of this ship in a number of English newspapers. The following is taken from the Shields Daily Gazette of Friday 29 March 1867 and from Lloyds Register for 1866.

The full rigged ship ARAMINTA of 830 tons was purchased in Liverpool by three Sunderland men including Capt T. Bullard. The vessel took on a cargo of salt and sailed from Liverpool on 17 March 1867 bound for Boston USA. Capt Bullard had a crew of seventeen.

When off Holyhead that evening a strong S.E. gale sprang up and the vessel began to leak. The pumps were working well at first but by 10 p.m. the depth of water was increasing and by midnight they were found to be choked with salt. It seems that the ship also had a machine driven pump which was then put into use but after a while this too became choked. The crew were then forced to resort to continuous bailing with buckets.

By 10 a.m. the next day, Monday 18 March, the ship was 20 miles north of The Smalls off the Pembrokeshire coast. As the bailing was failing to reduce the leak Capt Bullard ordered preparations to be made to abandon ship. The longboat was got ready for launching and loaded with bread, water, a compass and candles.

A schooner hove in sight at 11 a.m. and the Araminta hoisted distress signals. The ship was settling fast and the sea running high. The longboat was launched but stove in by a heavy sea which rendered it useless. Capt Bullard then suggested that Oliver, the first mate, should launch the gig and take men to the schooner but Oliver thought the boat was too small and risky. Capt Bullard then told him to get the lifeboat launched with ten of the crew while he and six men used the gig.

Bullard, the boatswain, carpenter, two able seamen and two ordinary seamen, rowed to the schooner which lay just a cable length from the ship. As they got alongside a sea drove the gig against the ship and stove it in. The seven men were able to get aboard the Corria, of Flensburg, Capt Molson. Looking across to the Araminta they watched as the lifeboat was launched but with the sea so rough and the ship settling it got under the starboard quarter. The ship was pitching and fell on the lifeboat throwing all eleven men into the water. They stood no chance and all went down as the lifeboat and ship sank. The schooner was unable to save any of those men so set sail and resumed her voyage for the West Indies (which port she had sailed from I have failed to find).

On Wednesday 20 March the Corria met the Duchess of Sutherland, of Exeter, which had been damaged in the gale and was also leaking and had lost many of her sails. As she was putting back to Falmouth for repair Capt Bullard and the other six survivors of the Araminta were taken aboard by Capt Davey.  This allowed the Corria to sail for the West Indies. The Duchess arrived at Falmouth on Saturday 23 March to land the survivors.

The mate Oliver was the only man from the Sunderland area lost and had lived at Moor Street, Hendon.









At about 1.15 on the afternoon of 25 September 1896 a barquentine was seen off Dinas Head to the east of Fishguard. A severe gale was blowing from the north. The vessel was watched by the coastguard and mariners ashore. They all agreed that the vessel was making good progress and was trying to round Strumble Head. She was not flying a signal of distress. But then soon after 2.30 or possibly as late as 2.50 (witnesses disagreed as to the time) she hoisted her ensign union down. She was now in distress. The coastguard at Fishguard set off with the rocket apparatus but by the time they reached Porthsychan, which lies near to Strumble Head, all they found was wreckage. The barquentine had struck at about 3.10 and broke up drowning her master and his crew of six.

The coastguard were then faced with the task of identifying the vessel, and recovering the bodies of her crew. Presumably some identifiable wreckage was found for it was soon established that the wrecked vessel was the SALUS built and registered in Shoreham, Sussex but owned at Arklow. The owners sent a list of the crew to Fishguard.

The master was Richard Kearon aged 60; Murtagh Doyle, the mate, was his son in law.           Seamen: George Kearon aged 21 was the master's son; Andrew Haydon 32; Patrick McDonnell 30; Augustine Akeoak a German; and an un-named Norwegian.

The vessel had been bound from Drogheda for Swansea where she was to load coal for Cherbourg.

Two bodies were recovered at Porthsychan and taken up to Tresinwen farm where an inquest was held. Later another body was found at Dinas Mawr and taken to Talygaer. They were identified as Doyle, Haydon, and the Norwegian who remained un-named.

The three were laid to rest in Llanwnda churchyard. The burial service was conducted by Rev.T. Johns of Manorowen. The hymn "When our heads are bowed with woe" was sung by the group of local farmers and coastguards who formed the congregation.




Page 2 of 3