While rescuing the crew of the Mary Mac , a second vessel had come ashore—the schooner Cora, of Whitstable. The Cora had made the entrance to the harbour a minute or two after the Mary Mac, and not being able to make out the lights clearly in the blinding showers of snow, her captain followed the Mary Mac in, and the mistake was not discovered till too late. The Cora struck a little below the Mary Mac, on the ballast to the south of the pier, stem on, and her bowsprit reached so near the pier that the crew—five in number—were able by running out to the end of it to drop at the foot of the pier. They had to watch their opportunity and take advantage of the rush back of the waves to drop into the water, which for the moment was waist deep, and then to catch firmly some of the big stones and hold on for their lives, while the great wave swept over them in its fury and then rushed back with a power that threatened to carry them away in its deadly embrace. That ordeal passed the grasp of the stone was relaxed and a rapid rush up the pier side placed the man in comparative safety, and left the way open for his comrades to follow in his footsteps. Thus the crew of the Cora got safely ashore and on getting up the pier a bit were met by of the brigade members, who conveyed them to ;he house of Mrs Heron, where they were kindly and hospitably treated.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 7th of January 1867

Captain's Statement

 Joseph Stroud, master of the Cora, Whitstable, 146 tons, reports that he left Whitstable the 28th Dec. last bound for Seaham in ballast. That through stress weather she had put into Yarmouth and the Humber; sailed from the latter on Saturday last. That on Sunday night about one o'clock, the weather being very thick, with snow, and the wind SE by S, blowing a heavy gale, the ship came on shore to the south of the south pier, at the entrance the Tyne, about three hundred yards from the end of the pier. The thickness of the weather, and the absence any light, caused the south pier to be mistaken for the north, and the master at the time fully believed that the vessel was entering the harbour between the piers. About 20 minutes before getting on shore sighted the higher leading light, other lights in North Shields being at the same time visible, the  Weather being sometimes clear, sometimes thick— got two lights in one which he believed to be the leading lights, and steered accordingly for the harbour. Saw the South pier, which was believed to the north pier, starboarded the helm, and almost immediately struck on the pier. That in the master’s opinion the casualty occurred in consequence the lights at North Shields, being taken for the leading lights in thick hazy weather.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 9 Jan 1867

South Pier, South Shields

is instructed by the Agents to


On Thursday, January 10

THE WRECK of the Brig CORA,  Capt. Stroud, as she may then and there lie, believed to contain an Anchor and 90 fathoms Chain, with Spars, and sundry other stores.

Also sundry Spars and other Stores belonging to the Margee.

Sale to commence at 11 o'Clock in the forenoon.

General Auction Offices, 10 Linskill Street, North Shields.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 9 January 1867

Fearful Scene at the Mouth of the Tyne
Total Loss of Four vessels

A hurricane, accompanied by blinding showers o£ sleet and hail, raged at the mouth of the Tyne on Saturday night. The sea was mountains high; and about midnight, as the storm was gathering in force, the preventive officer on the look-out at Shields saw a vessel driving ashore to the south of the south pier. He immediately burned a blue light, and three guns were fired from the Spanish battery to call out the Life Brigade. The preventive officer and the pier policeman got the apparatus for the saving of life down to the pier, but the gale was so strong that they had to crawl on their hands and knees to do so. By two o’clock four ships, with their sails all blown to streamers, were ashore. The vessels were the Mary Mack, of Whitstable; the Cora, of Whitstable; the Lucerne, of Blyth; and the Merghee, of Whitstable. All the lifeboats were got out and fully manned, and pulled down into the Narrows, but the force of the hurricane was so great that, after contending with it for above two hours, their crews were obliged to put about, completely exhausted, and leave the saving of life to the Life Brigade. This was a most difficult and perilous undertaking, as the lines had to be fired against a gale of wind. The piers were covered with ice, and the gale was so strong that the men could hardly stand, and the crews on board the ships were so benumbed with cold that they could make little effort to help themselves. The crew of the Mary Mack got the longboat out, and put a boy into it to steady it; but it was stove under the ship’s quarter, and, the painter breaking, it drove away with the lad in it. He was washed out, but held the gunwale until it drifted into the broken water, when he was knocked off by the seas and drowned, the boat going to pieces. The crew of the Cora, which vessel was close alongside the pier, managed to swing themselves ashore; the crew of the Blyth brig, acting under instructions from the Life Brigade, got aboard the Cora and were hauled ashore on the lines. They had not been ten minutes out of the brig when she slid over with her decks to the sea, and the waves pitched her stem end. The crew of the Merghee managed to spring to the pier, except one lad belonging to Canterbury, who was on his first voyage, and who was so paralysed with fear that he dared not follow the other men. He got into the rigging, but the vessel immediately heeled over, and after he was swung two or three times backwards and forwards in the air by the motion the ship, she broke to pieces, and he was drowned. After stilting over the sand about half mile from where she struck, the Mary Mack got into a position where communication was opened with the shore by one of the seamen throwing a lead line to a man, who plunged into the surf to get it. A “cradle” was then got off to the ship upon a hawser, which was made fast, and the seamen were all brought to land. The crew were taken to the Half-Moon public-house, where warm clothing was prepared for them, and after being comfortably refreshed with hot coffee they all recovered. The Merghee and the Lucerne are entirely broken up, and the Mary Mack and Cora are wrecks. A Whitby brig struck on the sand during the morning. Her crew were taken off by the National Lifeboat.

Source: Glasgow Free Press 12 January 1867

Wreck of Three Whitstable Vessels and Loss of One Life

Shields, Monday, Jan. 7.

The gale of Saturday night last proved excessively disastrous to the shipping on all parts of the coast, Amongst the vessels that were lost were three belonging to the port of Whitstable, all of which were wrecked off Shields harbour. We regret to add that in addition to the vessels one life sacrificed that of a boy named Paine, belonging to Canterbury. The names of the vessels are the "Mary Mac,'' Capt. Stone, belonging to Messrs. Camburn and Co., which was, we are informed, uninsured; the "Merghee," Capt. Friend, belonging Messrs. Nicholls and Co., which was insured in the Whitstable Mutual Club for £680; and the "Cora," Capt. J Strand, belonging to Messrs. Kemp. Goldfinch, and Co. which was insured in the same Club for £800.

Respecting the "Mary Mac," the captain reports that while making for the Tyne on Saturday night, he sighted the Sutherland and Souter buoys, and kept close in so as to avoid being driven past the harbour by the fury the gale, which was at that time a complete hurricane from the S. and S.S.E. The sea was rolling mountains high, and accompanied by fierce showers of blinding hail, which prevented him from distinguishing the harbour lights. He got two lights in one, and supposing these to be the leading lights, steered by them.  In a few minutes, however, he saw the South Pier (which he took to be the North Pier) right under his starboard side, and, acting on the instant, he put his helm about but before the vessel had an opportunity of altering her course she struck heavily upon the pier. The captain, seeing now the dangerous position he was in, kept his head up the pier, and drifted along for a considerable distance. Captain Stone cannot account for appearance of the lights which misled him, but asserted that every time he saw them they appeared in line—a high and low light. As soon as the “Mary Mac" was discovered, the “Tyne” under Mr. George Smith, and the "Providence" under the charge of Mr. Andrew Harrison, were manned and proceeded down to the bar. When the two boats got to the bar, the crews saw that the stranded vessel was outside of the harbour, and that it was impossible to render assistance, the sae on the bar being such as no boat's crew could master. Within the bar the lifeboats, with their crews, lay for about an hour. The two boats then put back, and most of the two crews proceeded down to the pier to assist in working the rocket lines. At 4 o'clock the unfortunate vessel struck the Herd Sand, when the pilots again ran to their lifeboats, and the "Providence" and the "Tyne" proceeded to the rescue of the crew, a work in which, we are glad to say, they were successful.

Some time after the above disaster, viz., at 3.30 a.m. Monday, the schooner "Merghee," came within the end of the pier, and struck heavily on the loose stones of the base. The signal rockets for the brigade were fired, and the force already on the pier was reinforced by several pilots and other members the life brigade The "Merghee," when she first came in contact with the pier stones, was very fortunately caught on the turn by a large breaker, which swept her bowsprit round so that it overhung the pier. Seeing this the men made for the bow for the purpose of making their escape by that means. Just as the captain got clear, and as the men were humanely assisting the boy (James Paine, of Canterbury) from the bowsprit to the pier, the vessel was again borne on a wave and the boy slewed right round. The men immediately escaped from off the bowsprit, but the poor boy was forced by the waves from the grasp his assistants, and dashed away. One of the crew (John Stones) immediately left the fore end of the ship and went to the braces, by which he set the sails, so that the head of the "Merghee" was brought once more to the head of the pier. The whole of the crew were in readiness when her head again came round, and by strenuous efforts the whole safely reached the mason work of pier. John Stones, however, sustained very severe injuries on the left arm by the bowsprit coming down upon it while he was getting up the side of the pier. The men had not long been ashore when the schooner began to break up, and she was soon a complete wreck. The crew were taken to Mr. Thompson's, Pilots' Landing, where every attention was paid to them.

On the same night brigantine "Cora," also of Whitstable, came ashore on the inside of the South Pier, a little to the east of the "Mary Mac," but fortunately very close up to the pier. The mast and crew, as soon as they saw the position they were in, left their vessel by getting over the side by aid of a rope, and waded ashore among the stones lying alongside the pier. The whole of them got safely ashore and were taken to the house of a Mrs. Heron, where they received every kindness and attention. Subsequently, the "Cora" rapidly broke up, but before she was completely gone the crew reboarded her and secured a good many of the stores, sails, &c, belonging to the vessel, and the greater portion of their own clothing.

Source: Whitstable and Herne Bay Herald 12 January 1867