Gale On The North-East Coast

Total Loss Of A Barque At Manhaven

A Schooner Ashore At The Mouth Of The Tyne

Exciting Scene

Yesterday a terrific gale of wind swept along the coast from the eastward, exceeding in its effects any storm that has prevailed this winter. On Thursday night, the dark and lowering appearance of the sky showed that dirty weather was imminent, and the sudden chopping round of the wind yesterday morning from the eastward to the NE realised the prophecies of the weatherwise to the letter. During the early part of yesterday, the wind freshened considerably, bringing with it torrents of rain, which never ceased all day. A heavy sea prevailed outside, and as evening set in, and the flood tide came down with full swing heavy tumbling waves dashed with terrific fury along the coast. On the bar, one great mass of seething foam marked the presence the dreaded broken water it raced in huge breakers on to the Herd Sand, dashed with appalling fury on the south pier works. blossom figureheadA few vessels that had sailed with the morning tide, before the wind assumed the proportions of gale, ran back again for shelter, and all fortunately succeeded in making the harbour in safety, although in great danger being “pooped'' they took the bar. About three o’clock in the afternoon, the screw-steamer Scotia, which was among the departures of the morning, being bound for Grangemouth, was seen making for the harbour. As she took the bar the vessel was struck by terrific sea, which flew completely over her, making all on deck hold on for their lives, drowning out the fires, and filling the after compartments with water. The greatest excitement prevailed on shore as the vessel’s precarious situation was observed, and the lifeboats were hauled out to render assistance, when the steam-tug Sunbeam, which had been lying inside the bar, sped to the assistance of the Scotia, succeeded in taking her in tow, and bringing her safe into the harbour. As darkness set in the gale increased in fury, and thousands of people crowded along the banks on the north side anxiously watching the arrival of any ship that might attempt to take the harbour. About half-past six o'clock the firing of six signal guns from the Tynemouth Lifeboat Station intimated that vessels were ashore to the southward, and a small schooner was seen beaching behind the south pier, while further away to the southward the blazing of a tar barrel upon the deck of a vessel showed that mischief was afloat somewhere in the vicinity of Marsden. The Northumberland lifeboat at once was manned and put off to the assistance of the unfortunate vessels, and had proceeded as far as the end of the South Pier, when they were met by the steamtug Mary Usher, the crew of whom informed the lifeboatmen that a large barque had gone to the rocks at Manhaven, but that the sea was too heavy for the Northumberland to get through to be of any assistance. The boat was, therefore, brought back her station again, but was kept in readiness to render assistance should anything further occur. Meanwhile the members of the South Shields Life Brigade mustered the beach behind the South Pier, to which point crowds of people drew from all parts of the town, among whom the greatest excitement prevailed as the brigade made the necessary preparations for firing a rocket over the vessel. This, however, was the work of only few minutes, and the first rocket fired coastguard carried its line successfully on board, and communication was at once established between the vessel and the shore. As is usual in the use of the rocket apparatus, the crew of the vessel knew scarcely anything of the proper mode of working the apparatus, and thus some delay occurred, but at length all being right the breeches buoy was passed along, into which a boy was fastened, and he was successfully dragged ashore amidst the greatest excitement among the crowd of spectators. The next attempt to pass a seaman ashore was not attended with such successful results as in the case of the boy, the whip lines of the hawser fouling the stays of the vessel and brought the breeches to a dead stop, and the poor fellow in it was thus suspended between sea and sky for few minutes. The mate of the vessel proceeded below to obtain a hatchet to cut the stays, but during his absence the Life Brigade, by taking the hawser a little to the eastward, succeeded in clearing the stays, and the seaman was thus landed, escaping with a slight injury to the head and an injury to one of his wrists. The mate and the master were all that remained on board, and they were brought on shore. The vessel turned out to be the schooner Blossom, of Inverness, laden with staves ,for the Tyne, and commanded by Captain Donald M'Gregor, son the owner, having on board four hands, including the master. Captain M'Gregor reports having experienced severe weather since leaving port. His vessel had been out several days, but when the gale came he ran for the Tyne. The accident occurred through the schooner missing stays when making for the bar. As soon the men were taken out of their vessel, they were taken to the house of Mrs Heron, at the Lawe, where they were supplied with dry clothing, and refreshments. One noteworthy feature should not remain unmentioned, viz., as the men were brought ashore, weary and benumbed with cold, H. J. B. Carmon, of the Golden Lion Hotel, rendered them essential service and performed an act of real humanity by supplying them with brandy as they were being taken under shelter. The Life Brigade mustered 101 men, and were under the command of Captains W. Kay, Stephen Cottew, and Thos. Tynemouth, the treasurer and secretary to the brigade, Messrs S. Malcolm and Archibald Stevenson being present and rendering assistance. The two South Shields lifeboats were also manned and pulled out, but finding they could be of more assistance on shore than afloat in the position of the schooner behind the South Pier, the crew pulled back to their station and joined the Life Brigade ashore, to which they all belong.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 17 November 1866

On Friday Nov 16th 6.30 p.m. the Schooner “Blossom” of Whitby with staves bound to the Tyne in entering the harbour got driven to the south side of the south pier the Northumberland was manned & proceeded down but did not get round the pier and the Crew were got off by the rocket apparatus. The Northumberland was man by 23 hands 20 of whom were paid the usual pay they were

Gilbert Young

M Lawson

Henry Appleby

Henry Lawson

John Watson

Jas Sadler

Thos Hardy

Gilbert Boyle

Wm Purvis

Jas Turnbull

Robt Phillips

David Nicholson

Wm Stevenson

Wm Haggie

Edward Fry


Robert Amour

Edward Grumley

Robt Brown

Wm Pearson

paid 20 men @ 10/6  = £10-10s

Source: Tyne Lifeboat Institution, Service Record 

South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade.

The members of this corps again assembled at the South Pier, on Saturday afternoon, in order to go through their usual drill with the rocket apparatus. Additional interest was given to the proceedings, from the fact that the vessel cast on the shore thee previous evening behind the pier still remained intact, and was therefore brought into requisition as an object to fire the rocket line over, instead of one of the large cranes, as is usually the case. On the assembling of the brigade a detachment was sent to the vessel to represent a shipwrecked crew, the remainder being required to work the gear, and establish a communication between the vessel and the shore, which was soon accomplished. The crew were then brought to land, the greatest interest in the proceedings being manifested by a large number of spectators. One of these brought along the hawser was the sailor boy rescued the previous evening from a watery grave. The notice posted in the Market Place and the shipping offices respecting the drill had the effect of drawing, great many sailors, which was very gratifying because, as a rule, they are not very familiar with the way as which the gear worked. Those present would gain an insight into the mode of procedure, and thus be enabled, should the occasion ever occur, to put what they saw into practice.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette19 Nov 1866