South Shields Wreck of a Schooner at the South Pier
A Seaman and a Life Brigadesman Injured
Fortunately, however, the vessels entered in safety until about five o'clock yesterday morning, when, through the darkness of the storm, a light schooner was seen in evident distress struggling to make for the safety of the harbour. It was soon evident she could not make the entrance, as she was too close in shore, and was apparently unmanageable. In a very few minutes she struck heavily on the sands the south side of the South Pier, Her position was very perilous, for the south-cast wind lashed the waves over the frail bark with great fury, but the members of the life Brigade, who had remained on duty, under the command of Mr J. T. White, deputy-captain, fired the signal rocket, and immediately rushed with their rocket gear to the assistance of the crew of the schooner. In firing the signal rocket one of the volunteers—Benjamin Birch—had his right hand severely burnt. The South Shields Brigade speedily established a communication with the crew of the schooner—which proved to be the Scylla, of Whitstable, and the crew, six in number, were quickly landed and taken to the brigade house, where they were refreshed and had dry warm clothing provided to them. It appears that the Scylla is 125 tons register, and was bound from London to the Tyne, having on board 150 tons of chalk. The following is a list of her crew who were saved: George Carville, master; George Robertson, mate; John Howdy, A.B.; J. Wilson, cook and steward; H. Taylor, O.S.; J. Jukely, apprentice. The master states that he was caught by the gale when about ten miles off the Whitburn Lighthouse, and was then struck by three heavy seas in rapid succession, which caused the vessel to spring a leak, and shortly afterwards filled with water both fore and aft. The Scylla then became thoroughly unmanageable, and was driven broadside before the seas and the wind on to the sands on the south side of the pier. Just the as the vessel struck the sands one of the crew was injured by the boom which broke and fell, and an another while ascending the rigging to make fast the rocket line slipped and fell, but was fortunately caught by the captain and prevented from falling overboard. Scylla, which is the property of William Holden, Harbour Street, Whitstable, is lying in a dangerous position, and will become a total wreck. During yesterday the crew at low water went on board and stripped her, and her stores were brought ashore.
Source: Shields Daily Gazette 30th of November 1874