Fatal Casualty at the South Pier
South Shields Pilot Drowned

Great excitement was caused in North and South Shields last evening by the booming forth of the alarm guns announcing a vessel in distress at the entrance to the harbour. There was instantly a rush from all parts of both towns to places were a view of the harbour could be obtained. At South Shields the pier was soon crowded with men, women, and children—the recent fatal calamity appearing to be no caution, notwithstanding all that has been said and written on the subject. The members of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade promptly mustered for duty. Through the twilight it was seen that a small vessel was upon the stones at the east end of the South Pier, and the van containing the rocket apparatus was immediately run along the rails as far as they extend eastwards. It was then seen that the vessel was a schooner, and that she had been dismasted through coming in contact with the gearing at the end of the pier. The rocket was made ready for firing, but a steam-tug that was in attendance succeeded in towing the schooner off stern first, so that the services of the brigadesmen were not required. The vessel was then towed into the river, and moored at Salmon's Ballast Wharf, Shadwell Street, South Shields. She proved to be the Danish schooner Bertha, Capt. Christiansen, of Horsens, from Antwerp to the Tyne, laden with silver sand. When entering the harbour, in tow of the steam-tug Gazelle, the towline broke, and the schooner drifted athwart of the gearing, at the end of the South Pier, both masts immediately going by the board. At this time Joseph Marshall, a South Shields pilot, who was on board, jumped over the side in an attempt to reach the gearing of the pier. He, however, fell into the water, and was drowned before assistance could reach him. The deceased lived in Edith Street, South Shields, and leaves a widow and family. The South Shields lifeboat Tom Perry was manned upon the alarm being given, and quickly rowed to the scene of the disaster, but as the schooner got clear there was necessity for the services of the lifeboatmen.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 9 November 1880

The Wreck at the South Pier

Mr Thomas Young writes to say the lifeboat Tom Perry was manned before the guns fired on Monday night, and reached the stranded schooner Bertha, of Hersens, took out the crew, but put them on board again with eight of the lifeboatmen, when the vessel came clear of the pier, and towed her to Salmon's Quay by the steam-tug Gazelle.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 10 November 1880

The Recent Drowning of a Shields Pilot. –Between five and six o’clock  last evening, Robert Brierley, the policeman at the South Pier, South Shields, picked up the body of a man on the north side of the pier, a little to the eastward of the Volunteer Life Brigade Watch House. It was taken to the mortuary at the Old Workhouse, where it was afterwards identified as that of Joseph Marshall, a pilot, who on the occasion of the stranding of the schooner Bertha, at the end of the South Pier on the 8th inst. The body was then removed to the late residence of the deceased in Blumer Terrace.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 16 November 1880