More disasters and loss of life at the mouth of the Tyne
Two lifeboatmen drowned and two seamen killed
The gale continued with force little abated during whole of yesterday. The sea broke with great fury over the bar and piers, and rendered the navigation of vessels perilous to the last degree. During the morning and afternoon a number of vessels, including five or six screw-steamers, succeeded in making the harbour in safety. As reported at length in our impression of yesterday, a Danish schooner, in entering the month of the river at between twelve and one o'clock, was placed in imminent peril by the disabling of the steering apparatus. Fortunately she received timely assistance from the steam tugs Friends and Pilot, and she was towed safely into the harbour by the latter boat. Later on in the day, a schooner, a brig, and brigantine all came in together in capital style, each vessel keeping well in mid-channel. Another brig, which attempted to put in little before three last night, struck near the Eagle, and the alarm guns were immediately fired. She, however, was taken in tow by two tugs, the Friends and Robert Burn, and run clear of the wrecked steamer. But when near the end of the Fish Quay, the tugs' towlines, owing to the tremendous seas which broke over them, were snapped asunder, and the brig struck on the Herd Sands, a little further seaward than the hull of the Duff. Her position was perilous, and was of great anxiety to the dense masses of spectators. The Volunteer Brigade were in readiness with their lines, but the lifeboats put off to the vessel. The North Shields boat Northumberland, amidst inspiring cheers, was the first to make headway, but as it neared the brig a scene of indescribable excitement occurred. A tremendous sea lifted the gallant craft high into view for an instant, and the next moment she was buried from sight by a huge sea. Following on its heels were a succession of huge waves, one overlooking the other as if eager to devour their prey. For some moments it was quite thought that the Northumberland was doomed, for nothing but the white belts and flashing oars of the crew could be made out amid the cloud of foaming water. Happily, however, the heavy seas had the effect of driving the lifeboat more inshore, where the water was smoother, and where she at once righted. But it was found, with great dismay, that six of the crew had been washed overboard. From the beach and fish quay the excited spectators beheld the men floating in the broken water in a helpless manner. Responding to the incoherent shouts from those on shore, the remainder of the crew of the Northumberland, recovering from the stunning effects of the water which had broken over them, pulled rapidly to their drowning comrades. A few vigorous strokes put the boat in their midst, and the captain (H. Sadler),G. Thompson, and G, Potts, were picked up, the latter very much exhausted, Potts was conveyed Mr Nelson's Globe Inn Shadwell Street, where, after careful attention, recovered. It is not known for certain whether four of the Northumberland's were drowned. The crew being a "scratch crew," included some strangers, about whose safety doubts are entertained. It has been ascertained beyond doubt, however, that two of the crew were drowned, namely, John Wheatley, ballast keelman, aged 31, leaving a wife and four children, and James Watson, 19, pilot. Both men belonged to North Shields. The Northumberland was beached behind the Fish Quay, and the drenched crew were well taken care off. Meanwhile the South Shields boat, the Tom Perry, had battled bravely with the waves, and had with much difficulty succeeded in saving the crew of the brig, six in number. The crew were taken to Mr Nelson's public-house near the Coble Landing, where they received every attention The Captain of the Northumberland, Henry Sadler, went to his home in North Shields. The unvarnished report of Mr Wm. Gair, the captain the brig, which turned out to be the brig Gleaner, of Blyth, furnishes a melancholy narrative of suffering. The Gleaner sailed from Amble on Saturday last, for Boulogne, with coal. She was obliged to put back, and was waterlogged nearly the whole time. When she reached the Tyne, she had seven feet of water in the hold. In taking the bar, the brig was struck by a tremendous sea, and the boat, which hung at her stern, fell upon the mate and the foremast man, who was at the wheel, and who were both crushed in a dreadful manner. The foremast man, whose name was John Mole, and who was unmarried, and was washed overboard, died almost immediately. The mate, who was severely crushed about the chest, legs, and hands, lingered until he was rescued with the rest of the crew, and was conveyed to Mr Nelson's Globe Inn, where he was attended by Dr Bootiman. He died about half-past four o'clock. His name was William Jackson. He belonged to Amble, and had a wife and five children. The Gleaner, after she was struck by the heavy sea, had her helm disabled, and she became completely unmanageable. The following are the names of those of the crew who were saved and of those who perished:
Saved Capt. William Gair, Amble; Robert Smith, able seaman, Amble; William Atkins, able seaman, Amble; Robert Walter Booth, boy Huddersfield ; William Hope, apprentice, Blyth.
Lost William Jackson, mate, Amble; John Noble, foremast man, Amble.
As the tide flowed, the position of the Gleaner became more dangerous, and by five o'clock successive seas made clean breaches over her. It was expected she would become a total wreck. The Gleaner belonged to Mr John Heron, of Blyth, and was a vessel of 175 tons. The following is list of the crew of the Tom Perry lifeboat, which succeeded in rescuing the five men from the brig: —Thomas Stewart, Jacob Harrison, Benjamin Peel, John Marshall, Thomas Marshall, Matthew Heslop, David Young, Lancelot Marshall, John Houlsby, Peter Stephenson, John Stewart, Samuel Stewart, Jacob Bone, John Shotton, John Blair, Robert Young, William Young, William Marshall, and Jacob Hotchin. Just before dark three screw-steamers entered the harbour in safety.
This morning the wind is SSE, and the sea, although fallen considerably since last night, is still very strong. Since daybreak a number of vessels have entered the harbour in safety. The wrecks of the brig Duff and Gleaner are fast breaking up. The masts of the former are both entirely gone and she is lying on her broadside a complete wreck. The Gleaner's mainmast has disappeared during the night, but her foremast and jibboom are still standing. Her back is broken, and there is not the slightest hope getting her off.
Source Shields Daily Gazette 19th of December 1872
The Wreck of the Gleaner
Inquest on the Body of the Mate
Yesterday afternoon, Mr J. M. Favell, coroner held an inquest at the Marine Hotel, South Shields, on the body of William Jackson. aged 44, who was the mate of the brig Gleaner, which was wrecked on the Herd Sands, on Wednesday last and who was killed by a heavy sea breaking over him. The first witness, William Gair, captain of the Gleaner, said when the vessel was entering the Tyne, on Wednesday, the wind was ESE. The mate and another man were at the wheel. In taking the bar, the mate and another man, John Mole, were struck by a heavy sea. Mole was killed on the spot and washed overboard. We thought the sea struck the mate on the back and knocked him on to the wheel where he stayed until taken out of the vessel by the rest of the crew and placed in the South Shields (word missing). He was taken to the Globe Inn, Shadwell Street, where he died. He was attended to by Dr Edward. William Jackson was 44 years of age. Mole was twenty years of age. His face was quite smooth. He had dark brown hair, and wore big top boots, a red and white flannel shirt and I think he had pilot cloth trousers on. We had a heavy passage. Myself and the whole crew have been up since Monday morning. (word missing) Heron, mason, deposed to being with (words missing) when he expired, and to assisting to convey the body to the dead House. The jury (missing word) returned a verdict of accidental death.
Source: Shields Daily Gazette 20 December 1872
The Gleaner of Blyth- Burial of the Mate—On Saturday afternoon, the remains of William Jackson, the mate of this unfortunate vessel, were interred in St. Stephen's Church-yard, South Shields. The burial service was most impressively read by the Rev, P. H. Moore, chaplain of the Mission Ship. The funeral was attended by Messrs Luke, Hindmarch, Warkworth, John Armstrong, Lesbury, Captain Gair, of the Gleaner, and several other friends of the deceased, by whom he was held in high esteem.
Source: Shields Daily Gazette 24 December 1872