Wreck of the barque Union at the south pier.
Crew saved by the life brigade.

About seven o'clock last night, at which time the gale had increased in violence, a vessel was observed in a perilous position off the South Pier. She was evidently in an extremely dangerous position, and in a few minutes from the time when she was first discerned she became unmanageable, having been struck by a succession of heavy seas, which drove her on the rocks at the extreme end of the pier. The signal guns having been fired on the first appearance of danger a ready response was made by the brigade men; and in a short time a strong detachment, under the command Captain Cay, was despatched along the pier with the rocket apparatus. The Tyne and Providence lifeboats were also launched and rowed down to the pier point, but they were unable to approach owing to the great danger they ran of being capsized by the heavy seas which were running there. The brigade men were impeded in their operations by the obstructions at the pier end, but they soon got the apparatus into working order and the first rocket fired was successful, the line being secured by the crew, some of whom were clinging to the rigging of the vessel, which was being tossed about with great violence. The apprentice was the first to enter the cradle, and he was landed safely on the pier and immediately taken to the Brigade House. In a short time the whole of the crew were landed and provided with warm clothing by Mr Wilson, who superintended the arrangements of the brigade men. The vessel proved to be the barque Union, of Colchester. She had a crew of eleven hands, and was under the command of Captain Finch. It appears that she left London on Saturday week, in ballast, for Shields. A few days ago they experienced very boisterous weather and in running into the harbour last night they were driven too far to the southward and got on to the rocks at the end the pier as already stated. It is feared that the vessel will become a total wreck

Source Shields Daily Gazette 21st of December 1870

Dec 20th 1870 The Union of Colchester during a severe gale from the NE was driven on the South Pier when the Tyne & Providence boats proceeded to her assistance & rescued the crew

The Tyne Boat was manned as follows by 18 men

Andrew Harrison

Jacob Harrison

Wm. Marshall

Thos. Marshall

David Young

James Nicholson

Wm. Wright

Sam Stewart

Mathew Heslop

Mathew Heslop

Joseph Marshall

James Stephenson

Wm. Purvis

Ed Tinmouth

Geo Harrison

Robt. Chalmers

James BurnĀ 

Robt. Young



The Providence was manned by 24 Men viz

Geo Smith

Thos. Stewart

John Purvis

Jas Morrison

Will Bedlington

Peter Stephenson

Robt. Blair

Mathew Young

J C Stevenson

Jacob Harrison

John Milburn

Joseph Marshall

John Stewart

Jas Ramsey

Robt. Harrison

Wm. Tinmouth

Geo Grieves

John Blair

Michael Purvis

Robert Bone

John Hutchinson

Thos. Purvis

Henry Birch

John Young

Source: Tynemouth Lifeboat Institute Service Record