It had now reached about half past ten o'clock. The gale went on increasing; rain began to fall in torrents and the night was one of the most dismal that could well be imagined, the moon being darkened from view by great heavy clouds. The bar was one sheet of foam; the waves, as they dashed upon the beach and the pier with terrific force, sent forth a roar like that of thunder; and it was evident that any vessel attempting to enter the harbour would, in all probability, share the fate of the Sea Horse, which by this time began to show signs of yielding to the violence of the seas which ever and anon broke over her. That being the state of affairs, the members of the brigade kept a close look out, and about half-past eleven o'clock, or perhaps nearer twelve, another vessel was descried in the offing, rolled about for a considerable time, and ultimately made the attempt to enter the harbour. The crew managed to navigate the vessel round the North Pier with safety, but suddenly the wind shied, and heavy seas struck the vessel, rendering her unmanageable. A rocket was fired by the crew as a signal of distress, which was instantly taken by the volunteers, who had been watching the ship with breathless anxiety for some considerable time. The guns were again fired from the Tynemouth battery, and answered by the Castor, and the result was that both towns—North and South Shields —were thrown again into a state of great excitement. There was another rush, of course, to the pier, which soon presented a scene of the most awful description. With a view to prevent the vessel from getting onshore, the anchors were dropped, but she dragged them and drifted right across the bar between the Fish Pier and the South Pier, and subsequently stranded about 100 yards above the other vessel. The sea kept breaking over her with great force, and the crew, who had taken shelter at the stern of the vessel, continued to burn lime lights so that their position might easily be seen from the pier. As we have already said, the pier presented a scene almost beyond description. The coastguard men the Life Brigadesmen proceeded to get out the line, but the appearance of the lifeboat short distance from the stranded vessel, determined them to wait. This resolution, however, seemed not meet with the approval of those assembled on the pier. Some suggested one thing and some another, others were shouting "Fire your line," Take off the men," and “Stand clear of the rope"—while others were standing in the road, of no use, and were only sent off the pier by cloud of spray dashing over them, which, accompanied by the cold NE wind, was anything  but pleasant. The lifeboat (Tyne) was still gallantly struggling in the midst the raging billows, and every now and then, as the moon peeped forth from behind some cloud, rendering the boat visible to those standing on the pier, ringing cheer of encouragement was given, and frequent shouts of "go on my lads, go on " The sea was now dashing over the ship, and she striking the ground very hard. At last, after being driven back three or four times, the Tyne reached stranded vessel, when the crew immediately got over the side of her. One man jumped into the lifeboat, but he had no sooner done so than a tremendous sea struck the boat and drove her about three or four length inshore. They, taxing their strength to the utmost—again reached the ship, and were in driven back by another heavy sea. By way of  encouragement, loud cheers were sent from those on the pier, and the brave fellows brought their boat for the third time alongside, and the grappling iron holding, the rest of the crew—six all told—were got safely on board. As the lifeboat left the ship another cheer was given, and loud cries, “There’re off.'' The men, like the crew of the Sea Horse, were taken to the lifeboat station house and kindly provided for. The vessel turned out to be the Friends, Captain Glaspie, of Aberdeen, bound from Aberdeen to Middlesbro' with iron rails and timber. She left Aberdeen on Thursday night. — Yesterday the storm continued with unabated fury. In the afternoon the wind changed and somewhat calmed down, and many hundreds of persons visited the scene of the disaster. The Sea Horse, to all appearance, will become a total wreck but is thought that the Friends will be got off—considerably damaged no doubt. When the Tyne put off to the Friends she was manned as follows Geo. Smith (superintendent), Robert Chambers (3). Thomas Brown, Henry Stephenson, Thomas Marshall, And. Purvis (4), Andrew Purvis (3), Thomas Young, Wm. Purvis, David Young, Matthew Hyslop, John Marshall, James Purvis, J. Shotton, Robert Chambers (2), Joseph Marshall (2), Joseph Marshall (3). The Northumberland lifeboat was commanded by Mr G. Young. During the whole of Sunday the water swept with great force up the river. Fortunately, no damage was done to the shipping at North Shields. A large quantity of timber lying near the Coble Dene broke away from its moorings, and drifted down the river, where it was picked up by watermen. During Sunday some hundreds of person 3 visited Tynemouth Pier, over which the waves were sweeping heavily.

Source:  Shields Daily Gazette 18 Oct 1869


The schooner Sea Horse, of Aberdeen, which was driven ashore to the north of the south pier during the gale on Saturday evening, has become, as was expected from the first, a total wreck. This morning a number of men are busily engaged stripping her, and we understand the hull of the vessel and her cargo (coals) are to be sold on Friday first. The schooner Friends, of Aberdeen, which came ashore about 100 yards above the Sea Horse the same evening, is considerably damaged, but it expected that she will get off if the weather keeps at all moderate. Her cargo (iron and timber) is being discharged on South Pier.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 20 October 1869

TO BE SOLD BY PUBLIC AUCTION, on the New Quay, North Shields, on Friday, November 5th, 1869, at Eleven o'Clock in the Forenoon,

W. G. TATE & SON, Auctioneers,

All that brig FRIENDS, of Aberdeen, 106 Tons Register ; with her Lower and Topmasts, Bowsprit, and Lower Rigging (recently stranded on the Herd Sand, where she has discharged), and is now lying at Whitehill Point (where she may be inspected). She is a very strong Vessel, built at Bideford, of Oak.
At the same time and place, will be SOLD, the whole of the STORES saved, consisting of Anchors, Cable, Kedges, Hawser Chains, Warps, the whole the SAILS (some of them nearly new), standing and running Rigging and Gear; Blocks, Small Chain, and all the other Stores.

The Hull will be Sold first, and the Stores immediately after.

Particulars may be had of the Auctioneers or of

Quayside, Newcastle-on-Tyne.
General Auction Offices, 97, Howard Street,
North Shields.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 30 October 1869