Thrice –Sunk Steamer

While entering the Tyne shortly before midnight on Saturday, the oil tank steamer Broadmayne, of London, collided with the London collier Vauxhall, which sank in twenty minutes. The crew of seventeen men escaped in their boats, and they were taken in tow by a motor lifeboat, which was used for the first time, and landed at North Shields. A fireman who was about to “turn in” for a sleep had a narrow escape. He had just reached the forecastle door when the Broadmayne’s bows crashed through the ship's side and smashed his bunk to splinters. This is the third time the Vauxhall has been sunk. Two years ago she foundered in the Thames, after a collision, and once before in the Tyne.

Source: Driffield Times 27 May 1905

Collision in the Tyne
SS. Vauxhall Sunk

At quarter to twelve on Saturday night (20th May), a collision, which resulted in the foundering of a collier, took place near to the mouth of the Tyne. The colliding vessels were the steamer Vauxhall, outward bound, and the large oil carrying steamer Broadmayne, inward bound. There was a stiff wind blowing from the north-north-east accompanied by a rather disturbed sea, but the night was clear and the moon shining brightly. At the time stated the two vessels were nearly abreast of the ferry landings of the north and south piers and came together with a fearful crash. The Vauxhall had a large rent made in her port bow, and at once began to fill with water and to settle by the head. The engines were at once set full speed astern with the object of beaching the ship on the Herd Sands, but it was found Impossible to navigate her that distance so rapidly was she filling. Orders were given for the ship’s boats to be got out. One was quickly launched, and the whole of the crew, 17 in number, lowered themselves into the small craft and left the ship to its fate.

The Vauxhall continued settle until the bows were completely submerged, while the stern rose clear of the water and the propellor raced wildly in the air. After remaining about an hour in this curious position, the after bulkheads gave way and she sank to the ground upon an even keel, a few hundred yards eastward of the Groyne, just clear of the track of outward bound vessels.

The escaped crew soon found themselves in fresh difficulties; the boat was overladen, and had been badly battered in the hurried work of rescue, and altogether formed but a slender means of safety in a choppy sea. Help was quickly forthcoming, however, in the James Young lifeboat, of North Shields, which conveyed the whole crew safely into the river. The Broadmayne, which was attended by a tug, was damaged about the bows, but was never in danger; she proceeded to Smith’s buoys preparatory to being docked for painting and repairs.

Among the crew we notice an able seaman named Peter Anderson.

The sunken Vauxhall is a regular trader between the Tyne and London, and left Dunston with cargo of coal on Saturday night. She is a vessel of 764 gross tonnage, owned by the River Steam Colliers Company, Ltd., of London, and was built in 1878. The Broadmayne, which had come over from Antwerp, in water ballast, is a vessel of 3,120 tons gross, owned by the European Petroleum Co., Ltd., of London.

Capt. Wood has been employed in the Vauxhall since it was built, and Mr Hall, the chief engineer, has sailed in it for 15 years. On being landed at the New Quay, the men, who had had no time to recover any of their effects, and many of whom were wet through with salt water, were taken to the Sailors’ Home, where Supt. Moss, the local agent of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, supplied them with dry clothing and fed them. Those of the men who resided in the near locality then went home, but those living further afield lodged at the Home overnight.

For a number of years the steamer Vauxhall was great favourite with Shetland sailors, and most of the crew, on many voyages, consisted of Shetlanders; many of whom will learn with regret of the sad ending of their ship.

Source: Shetland Times 3 June 1905