Rob Roy

Mishap to a Trawler
Exciting Incident in Shields Harbour

An exciting incident occurred in Shields Harbour early this morning The Grimsby trawler Rob Roy, while on her outward passage, became temporarily disabled, something having gone wrong with the stop valve.

The vessel drifted ashore on the rubble east of the passenger landing at the south pier. Flare lights were exhibited from the trawler, and the crew of the North Shields tug Champion, observing these, promptly went the fishermen's assistance and succeeded in putting a rope on board the Rob Roy which was towed off and taken into a place of safety.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 16 November 1911

The Coastguard

To the Editor of the “Shields Daily Gazette”

Sir, Re the recent stranding of the trawler Rob Roy, I would like through your columns, to ask a very serious question. The vessel, as you are aware, went ashore inside of the Pier on Thursday last, about 2 a.m. The crew flared up for assistance for half an hour and no notice taken or given by the Coastguard who are (supposedly) on the look-out at the Battery, Tynemouth and the Lawe South Shields. As you are aware a urgent inquiry is being made in other parts of England as to the efficiency and watchfulness of our Coastguard. Indeed, a serious loss of life was the occasion of many adverse comments. Let us see that the same thing does not happen locally. —Yours etc.


Master, Trawler Prince
North Shields

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 21 November 1911

The Coastguard

(To the Editor of the “Shields Daily Gazette”)

Sir, Regarding the latter in your paper of the 21inst. from Mr W. H. Stenhouse, master of the “Trawler Prince” as the rules of the service prevent the coastguard from replying to any press statements the officers of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade who are fully acquainted with the facts of the case, feel that in justice to the coastguard they should clear the statement that “no notice was taken of the signals from the Rob Roy”. It can be proved that the rocket van was taken along the pier and was in readiness for any emergency, the Rob Roy having been under observation by the coastguard on both sides of the harbour from early in the evening until she was towed off by a tug. Yours etc. J. B. Bowman

Hon. Secretary
So. Shields Volunteer Life Brigade
20 King Street, South Shields

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 24 November 1911

Coastguard Efficiency

(To the Editor for the “Shields Daily Gazette “)

Sir, With reference the reply my letter (re the apparent apathy of the coast guard on the occasion the stranding of the trawler Rob Roy) and the answer your correspondent “Coastguard” allow me to state the reasons of my assertion that the coastguards were not in attendance. I was in the wheelhouse of my vessel Trawler Prince and we were making for the harbour. When about a mile off from the harbour mouth I noticed the flares from a vessel that appeared to be ashore on inside of the south pier. I steered our vessel as near as possible to the stranded trawler, but, owing to the shallowness of the water, failed to get a rope on board. No apparatus van was observable at that time. Running up the harbour I notified Lloyd's station that a vessel was ashore and her position and asked the official in charge to acquaint the lifeboat at the Low Lights After berthing my boat alongside the Fish Quay I ran round to the lifeboat house and saw the lifeboat fully manned coming out, I spoke to the coxswain and second coxswain and gave them directions as to the exact position of the vessel in distress. The lifeboatmen reported that when they got alongside no rocket apparatus van was discernible.

Now, if your correspondent was correct in stating that the coastguards with van were in attendance shortly after the vessel struck, I would like to ask three questions

1. How is it they were not seen by the crew of the Trawler Prince at least a quarter of an hour after the Rob Roy stranded?

2. How is it they were not seen by the crew of the Lifeboat ten minutes later?

3. How is it the signal rocket was not sent up to notify the battery to fire the guns so that the lifeboat could be called out? The promptness of the coastguard in notifying the lifeboats when vessels are in distress, as well as their promptness in having the rocket apparatus alongside smartly is so vital and necessary to all seafaring men: and the necessity of a strict lookout is thus an essentially a safeguard for the preserving of human life that I court fullest investigations of this matter. Yours etc.

Master, Trawler Prince

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 28 November 1911