Easterly Gale
Ketch Wrecked in Shields Harbour

A strong easterly gale broke over the North- East Coast early yesterday morning, and at the mouth of the Tyne there was a very high sea running. About 8 a.m. a small sailing vessel was observed making for the Tyne, having come from the north. She was labouring heavily in the surging waters, and her movements were closely watched by the Coastguard and some Life Brigadesmen, who were on duty at the South Pier. When she got inside the Pier heads it became evident that the vessel was drifting into danger, and the alarm signals were fired.

About 8.30 the craft struck the inner side of the South Pier, and efforts were at once made to rescue her crew by the Life Brigadesmen, under Mr Boyd, the chief of the local Coastguardsmen, and a number of soldiers under Lieut. Maynard. There were, it transpired, only two men —Andrew Baird, the master and owner the vessel, and William Taylor, his mate—on board. They were in a critical position, but, fortunately, were both dragged upon the Pier, whence they were conveyed to the brigade, house. Both men were much exhausted, and Taylor was considerably injured about the hands and arms, and was subsequently removed to the Infirmary.

Three lifeboats, including the motor boat from North Shields, were launched, but owing to the awkward position of the ketch and the heavy seas breaking against the pier, they were unable to get near her. The ketch broke up within half an hour, and her fragments afterwards washed ashore on the sands. She proved to be the William, of Peterhead, and was on her way from Stonehaven to the Tyne. The vessel was unable to reach the harbour before dark on Thursday night, and at daybreak yesterday morning, during the height of the gale, the steering gear was carried away by a heavy sea. At that time the mate was nearly washed overboard, and the captain was knocked down by the weight of water... They managed, however, to guide their craft to the Tyne entrance, and were drifting in before the gale when she was driven ashore.

Source: Newcastle Journal 31 October 1914

A Ketch Wrecked at South Shields
Exciting Rescues

The Peterhead ketch William, a vessel of 50 tons, was driven shore during the gale yesterday morning at the entrance to Shields Harbour. The vessel, which is owned by her master. Andrew Baird, left Stonehaven for the Tyne Wednesday with a cargo of bark. The owner and the mate, William Taylor, were the only persons aboard. When the gale rose on Thursday afternoon every endeavour was made to reach the Tyne before darkness set in. This could not be managed, and the vessel stood out to sea again. At daybreak, about 8 a.m. yesterday, while off Blyth, the wheel house and the steering gear were carried away a big sea, and the vessel from that time being unmanageable. The sea that did this damage nearly swept the mate overboard, and he was lucky to escape with severe cuts about the hands and arms. At the mercy of the sea the ketch drifted rapidly towards the South Pier Shields, and was thrown on the rocks. Three lifeboats were launched, but found it impossible to get near the vessel. The two men were now clinging to the bulwarks, to prevent being washed overboard, and the seas were breaking over the vessel in alarming fashion. The Coastguard and some soldiers ran the rocket van along the pier where the ketch was bumping against the side of that structure, and lifebuoys were thrown aboard the ketch, and the skipper and mate were pulled ashore. They were both in a very exhausted condition, and were taken to the Volunteer Brigade House, where they received every attention, and gradually recovered. The ketch was smashed pieces later by the seas.

Source: Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligence 31 October 1914