A Brigantine Ashore At The South Pier
Narrow Escape Of The Lifeboat Crew

The members of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade have not had long to wait as their Tynemouth brethren for an opportunity of winning their spurs and proving that they are not a mere fie weather corps. During the whole of Sunday the weather was heavy and broken, and as night came the sea increased in force till the bar presented the appearance of a white wall from one side to the other, and the heavy breakers spending their force the shore told of gale raging outside. The evening, however, wore away without anything noticeable, and the tide made a few vessels enter the harbour, all getting in safely till between three and four o’clock, when the storm seemed to be at its height, a vessel, which proved to be the brigantine Tenterden, of Sunderland, was seen by the watchers on the harbour to go ashore in the vicinity of the South Pier. Messengers were at once sent to the South Shields lifeboat station, and the coastguard hurried down to the pier, when the vessel was found to be ashore to the south of the pier. A signal light was then fired, and soon the loud boom of three guns in quick succession told the members of the brigade who happened to hear them that their services were required. Within ten minutes of the guns being fired, the brigade began muster, and soon between fifty and sixty of them were present. On getting dawn they found that with the aid of few pilots, who had been called on the way, the rocket gear was on the spot ready for use, and Mr Sercombe, of the coastguard, assumed command. The first rocket was unsuccessful, but the second went right over, and whip-line, hawser, and breeches buoy were sent off as fast as willing hands could send them, and within half hour from the mustering the captain, a crew four seamen, the captain’s wife and child (the latter only 18 months’ old), were safe on shore. They were taken the cabin of the coastguard, where such comfort and assistance as be given there was cheerfully rendered; after which the captain and crew were taken to Mr Marshall’s public-house, at the foot of Ocean Rood, while the captain's wife and child were taken away by the wives of two captains who had been attracted to the spot, and who could feel for the position of the poor woman. But in the meantime the lifeboat and her crew had for once met with an accident which might have cast a gloom over the town. On getting word that a vessel was ashore, as was then thought on the Herd Sand, the Tyne lifeboat was got out and manned with crew of 17 men, the old veteran, Jos. Smith, steering, assisted by George Smith. They were towed down to opposite the Middens by the tug Little John, and there cast off. Scarcely had they parted company with the tug, and before the boat had been rightly got under command, when one of those tremendous seas which easterly gale brings in, and which have often proved so destructive in the harbour, caught the boat with a power which no struggle could avail against, hurried her in a few seconds over a distance of nearly 200 yards, and dashed her with awful force against the jetty fronting the south side of the Narrows, almost literally smashing in the whole of the port side. So great was the force with which the boat was thrown against the jetty that two men—John Wright and Robert Young—who were standing in the bow the time were pitched right out of the boat The rest of the crew, with the exception of the coxswain, were not long in getting out, as had the boat fallen over towards the river the likelihood is that not a few would have been drowned, as it was, all escaped with nothing worse than a good wetting. Before the coxswain, old Joseph Smith, would leave the boat saw her made fast, and when the tide fell some forty or fifty pilots set to work, got her into the water again and brought her up to the landing. This accident would of course have thrown the crew out of all chance of sawing the crew of the Tenterden had she been, as was supposed, on the Herd instead of the south of the pier, but fortunately by that time the Life Brigade were at work.
The Tenterden was at the time of the mishap on the way from Dundee for the Tyne or the Wear, in ballast, and seeing the bad state the weather the captain decided on getting into the Tyne. While standing fair for the harbour the vessel was suddenly caught by a terrific sea which swept her away on its crest till she got to the south of the pier, and the captain then seeing that there was no chance of weathering the pier head up helm ran ashore, luckly getting pretty near the pier and well up the sand. She got nearly up to high water mark, and when the tide receded she was left high and dry. During the day she was visited hundreds, and her topsails were taking down.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 3 April 1866

The schooner Tenterden, Sunderland, which went ashore the sand on the outside of the South Pier, Shields, about a month ago, got off yesterday, and was towed-round to Sunderland.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 18 April 1866

Wreck of a Vessel at Shields Narrow Escape of a Lifeboat’s Crew

The brigantine Tenterden, Captain M'Kay, of South Shields, which left Dundee for Sunderland in ballast on Saturday, was driven ashore to the south of the South Pier at Shields during strong gale from ENE, heavy sea running, on Monday morning. The correspondent of the Scotsman, writing on Monday afternoon, says:—"A very violent gale from the ENE came on yesterday, with thunder and lightning, and the night was extremely stormy. A number of heavily-laden collier brigs had sailed on the preceding day for the Baltic, and people became very anxious about their safety, and are so yet. The wind blew a hurricane this morning between two and three o'clock, the sea being very high, and some sailing vessels and screws had narrow escapes from being driven ashore. About four o'clock the brigantine Tenterden, Mr M'Kay, master, bound from Dundee Sunderland, was running for the Tyne for shelter, when she missed the harbour mouth, and ran behind the south pier. Immediately upon this being observed, guns were fired and rockets were sent by the Coastguard to warn the life brigades that a vessel was ashore; and the Tynemouth, South Shields, and Cullercoats Life Brigades mustered with great expedition their rendezvous. The South Shields Life Brigade got the apparatus out, and in a short time they had a line fixed across the vessel. Having connected the ship with the shore by means of hawser, a cradle was sent off, and the crew (five in number), with the master's wife and child, were safely brought ashore. This is the first time that a volunteer corps has had the opportunity of rescuing shipwrecked crew, and South Shields therefore carries off the laurel. The larger number of the South Shields Life Brigade mustered were pilots. Another body of South Shields pilots had manned the Tyne lifeboat soon as it was intimated that a vessel was ashore. Their boat was taken in tow a steamboat, but unfortunately, in proceeding down the estuary of the Tyne, the boats were struck by some heavy seas, and the tow-line was broken. Before the crew of the lifeboat could ship their oars, the boat was driven upon the stones of the inner pier. She immediately holed her bottom, and the crew were either knocked out or had to leap for their lives from the boat. They scrambled amongst the loose stones. Great fears were entertained that they would be carried off the pier by the seas that were breaking over it, but somehow they succeeded in reaching the beach, though some of them were very much bruised and wounded in their struggles for life. The Tenterden is well up the sand, but it will depend upon the weather whether she will be saved or not. Since the morning the sea has abated somewhat, and several vessels have arrived

Source Dundee Courier 4th of April 1866

4am April 2, kept too far to the south-ward., a strong gust of wind and a strong sea drove her across the foundation stones of the south pier. A serious wave lifted her over the stones to the south side of the pier where she stranded.
An alarm was raised and soon a strong muster of Coastguard Pilots and Brigades men were on the spot. Just as the first rocket was fired a strong gust of wind caught it and carried it around the stern of the vessel. A second rocket was shortly fired the line going a right to amidships and communications speedily established with the shore. The crew five in number and the master’s wife and child (2 years old) were speedily brought ashore. The woman and child were very much benumbed and were taken to the policeman’s cabin and where there was a good fire burning and were refreshed with a bountiful supply of coffee. The crew were taken to Marshals public house in Ocean Road.
An accident occurred to the lifeboat Tyne which might have been serious when proceeding to the stranded vessel a tremendous sea broke over and bumped her against the stones of the pier and holed her. The pilots scrambled as best they could up the sides of the pier very much bruised. She was afterwards taken to the boat house and repaired.

Source: S.S.V.L.B. Storm Book

On Monday morning at 4 a.m. as the Schooner Tenterden of Sunderland in Ballast from Dundee entering the Tyne drove over the Herd end and came ashore on the South Side of the South Pier the Boat Tyne was immediately launched and in proceeding down in tow of a steamer was struck by a heavy sea (after letting go the rope) which drove her on the stones at the river wall where she stove herself badly and in several places & lay there some hours, her crew all getting safely ashore afterwards with the assistance of a number of pilots 32 in number (who were paid 5/- each for their services) she was got off & brought round to the Boat House. A meeting of the trustees being called to inspect damage done the schooners crew were got off by the South Shields Life Brigade with the rocket apparatus. Wind at the time heavy gale from NE Tide one hours flood.
Tyne’s crew were

Joseph Smith

John Shotton

George Smith

Michael Purvis

Robert Bone

Robert Young 1st

John Houlsby

Robert Chambers

William Tinmouth

John Wright

David Young

William Wright

John Bone

Benj. Heron

Jacob Bone

Joseph Ridley

Robert Young 2nd


17 men paid @ 10/6 per man £8-18-6
also 32 men @ 5/- £8-00

Source: Tyne Lifeboat Institution Service Record