Severe Gale On The North-East Coast
Schooner Ashore At South Shields
The long spell of fine weather has at last been fairly broken. During the past two or three days the atmosphere has been much colder than usual, and the wind has gradually veered from west to north. Yesterday there were frequent hail showers, and last night the cold was intense. It was not till after daybreak this morning, however, that the weather assumed a really stormy aspect. At that time the wind freshened, and even increased to the violence of a gale from the north-north-east. The sea also made considerably, and broke with much violence between the Tyne piers. About half-past eight o'clock a small schooner coming to the Tyne from the northward had a narrow escape from striking the South Pier. When on the bar she was "caught aback,'' and drove dangerously near the structure. She was, however, skilfully handled, and got safely into the harbour. Shortly after ten o'clock the schooner Mail, of Alloa, was being towed into the Tyne, and shortly after crossing the bar the towline broke. It was soon secured, but it broke second time. Another hawser was got out, and the tug again commenced towing. This rope also parted, and the schooner then drifted upon the stones on the north side of the South Pier, a little to the westward the new iron jetty. The alarm guns announced a vessel in distress at the mouth of the Tyne, and there was instantly a rush of hundreds of persons for the scene of the casualty, Coastguardsmen had seen the dangerous position of the vessel, and were soon in readiness to render assistance to the crew, They were also speedily reinforced by officers and members of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, many of whom journeyed to the pier in cabs. In seven minutes after the alarm was given, a rocket had been fired over the vessel, communication with the pier established, and the first man safely landed. In twenty minutes the crew of four men had been brought ashore, and the gear was again stowed in the rocket van. This is spoke of as one the smartest performances of the Brigade. The Mail is commanded by Captain M. Gollan who is the principal owner. She left Peterhead noon yesterday, bounds for Shields, in ballast, and had just come out of dock, after undergoing repairs at a cost of £400. The vessel, we understand, is insured. The captain reports that coarse weather was experienced on the passage, and that morning the sea was very heavy off the Tyne. Two lifeboats put off to the vessel, but their services were not required. A steamtug attempted to tow the stranded schooner off, but as the tide was receding the effort was unsuccessful, and had to be abandoned. The vessel rolled heavily upon the stones alongside the pier, and must have sustained great damage. The gale was still blowing with unabated force at mid-day, and it is feared that as the tide rises this afternoon the sea will become more boisterous, and that the schooner will become a total wreck.
Source Shields Daily Gazette 22nd of March 1882
The gale of yesterday morning was succeeded by calm in the evening, and the sea also became more settled. The weather, however, still apparently unsettled, and there is a probability of another storm within a very short time. The members of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade remained on duty till ten o'clock evening, but nothing occurred to call for their assistance after the wreck of the schooner Mail. That vessel was carried by the tide a long way the side of the South Pier, and she now lies upon the beach. Salvage operations were commenced last night, and the wreck was soon dismantled, her rigging, sails, stores, &c., being placed upon the pier. It is probable that these, together with the hull of the vessel, will be sold as they lie.
Source: Shields Daily Gazette 23 March 1882