WRECK of the SPANISH TRAWLER ULIA MENDI
On the HATS and BARRELS
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.
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.