EAGLE LT975 / M64
Official No: 117476 Port Number and Year: 28th in Lowestoft, 1903 (LT975)
2nd in Milford, 1911
Description: Steel liner; steam screw, coal burning. Ketch rigged: foresail, mainsail and mizzen
Crew: 8 men
Registered at Milford: 12 Jan 1911
Built: 1903, by AW Gibbs at Galmpton Creek, Devon
Tonnage: 61.31 grt 34.81 net.
Length / breadth / depth (feet):78.55 / 18.1 / 8.5
Engine: C.2-cyl 140 ihp 9 kts., by Philip & Son, Dartmouth, 1903; boiler by Lee Anderson & Co., Glasgow, 1903
1903: A. F. Capps, Lowestoft.
12 Jan 1911: James Rock, Coldstream House, Dale (64/64)
Landed at Milford: 14 Mar 1904 - 13 Jul 1911
Skippers: Peter Sturley cert 6769; age 31, born Dale, residing 51 Priory Rd., Milford; signed on 31 Jan 1911
Robert Hastings 5529, 44, London, - ; 31 Mar 1911
H. Pook 5219, 34, Brixham, - ; 25 Apr 1911; 25 Mar 1912
C. Garnish 3728, 42, Essex, 71 Robert St., Milford; 11 Jan 1912
G. Setterfield 8388, 33 Ramsgate, - ; 1 Feb 1912
Notes: Fished out of Milford under LT registration initially.
Cert. Cancelled & Milford Registry Closed: 18 Dec 1912, after foundering in Milford Haven on 11 Dec [see story below]
Accidents and Incidents
Log book entry:
April 11th 1911
Towed the steam ship "Brigadier" from 15 miles W of the Smalls to Milford Haven.
From the Haverfordwest and Milford Haven Telegraph of Wednesday 19th April 1911:
RESCUE BY A MILFORD LINER
About 11 o'clock on Tuesday night the steam liner 'Eagle' cameup the harbour, having in tow the steamship 'Brigadier' of Glasgow, disabled. The story of an exciting experience was told by the crew of the vessel. They had left Newport with coal for Waterford, and met rough weather, a strong north-easterly breeze blowing down from St. George's Channel. At 6 o'clock on Tuesday morning, when 20 miles north-west of the Smalls Lighthouse, the craft was struck aft by a heavy sea, which blew her bunker coals right into the engine room, causing the engines to stop. It further caused the ship to drop in the stern, to such an extent that another such sea would have sunk her. As it was, the crew of nine men had a trying experience and for three hours worked all they knew to keep the vessel afloat. At nine o'clock they were sighted by the 'Eagle'. The men were taken off, the captain and mate remained in a small boat and were towed with their vessel into Milford Haven, and after a difficult passage, the 'Brigadier' was safely beached near the old shipway. She has since undergone repairs which have been carried out by the West Coast Co-operative Repairing Company.
From the Haverfordwest & Milford Haven Telegraph, Wednesday 18th December 1912:
appalling disaster in milford harbour
STEAM TRAWLER CUTS STEAM LINER IN HALF
FIVE MEN PERISH IN SIGHT OF HOME
Town and port grief stricken
Not since the time, five years ago, when the steam trawler "Devon" with her crew of nine men left Milford Docks for the fishing grounds and never returned, has such a calamity occurred to a local vessel as that of last Wednesday night. The "Devon's" fate was never known beyond the conclusion that might be drawn from the picking up of her lifebuoys, and even this was after a time of terrible suspense. This disaster is the work of a moment and is full of sadness and pathos. Picture a little steam line fishing vessel after a week's fishing, having withstood successfully the mountainous seas, returning, skipper and men well contented with the result of their labours, and looking forward to marketing her cargo of conger, cod, roker, etc., on the morrow. She safely makes the familiar Haven and enters Dale Roads, where the owner resides. He responds to the vessel's signal, puts off from shore and is taken aboard. She steams up channel in the darkness, the crew probably thinking of home, of wives, children and sweethearts. A few short miles and the Dock will be reached, but midway between Thorne Island and Stack Rock Fort, without one word of warning, the craft is struck by an unseen vessel, almost within sight of the home lights. That is the story of the "Eagle". She went down with five of her crew. She was owned by Mr James Roch of Dale, and had been working from Milford for rather less than two years. She carried a crew of eight men.
The other vessel was the steam trawler "Cyelse", owned by Councillor David Pettit, and is the latest addition to his fleet. She had left Milford Docks on the morning's tide, but some repairs not being completed, the ship was anchored outside practically all day. Her skipper is E. Gibbs, and he says that shortly after six o'clock on Wednesday evening he was steaming down the Haven when he saw a bright light on his starboard bow, and then suddenly a red light cross his bow. He immediately rang his engines to full astern, but it was too late. "Good God," the skipper exclaimed, "we have cut her in two!" The "Cyelse" had crashed into the "Eagle" by her boilers and the liner sank like a stone. Mr Roch, the owner, with his knife cut the lashings of the "Eagle's" small boat, but the anchor of the "Cyelse" was within reach and he made a grab and by means of a wire rope succeeded in getting aboard the trawler. Archie Sturley, the cook, did the same, but the skipper, George Sturley, although hanging on to the anchor, had a trying experience before he was hauled aboard. He had almost given up hope and could not have held out much longer. Meanwhile Mate William Blockwell of the "Cyelse" had lowered her small boat and went in search of the "Eagle's" crew in which work he was joined by his son of the same name and after a time they succeeded in picking up George Hicks, who was in an exhausted state.
The steam trawler "Fishergate" was lying at anchor not far from the scene of the disaster, and he promptly steamed to the spot. They found that the Blockwells' and Hicks were now in distress as their boat was sinking and the three were taken aboard the "Fishergate". It was very dark, with a thick drizzle falling. The two trawlers steamed round and round in search of the missing men, but not a sound could be heard and the trawlers afterwards returned to Milford Docks, which they entered just after eight o'clock. Skipper McLean and Chief Engineer Narbett of the steam trawler "Fishergate" went at once to inform their owner, Mr G.H.D. Birt, who was at the Masonic Hall at the Territorial prize distribution. Mr Birt hurried down to the Dock. In an interview the skipper said his ship was at anchor down the Haven, about two hundred yards away from the spot where the catastrophe occurred, halfway between Thorne Island and Stack Rock. A thick rain was falling and it was blowing hard. He heard the crash and could see the collision. They had steam up and he promptly proceeded to render any assistance he could. The boat was lowered and they searched the waters round about for a considerable time, and picked up Hicks and the Blockwells, whose boat had been swamped, and after a time returned to port. When seen in Dock the survivors were all suffering from exhaustion, and the scene at the Dock side was heartrending. The men's concern was for their missing shipmates. Hopes were held out that the men might have managed to swim ashore and get to safety on the Chapel Bay side of the Haven, but when next morning there was no news, their fate was certain.
Names of the Perished.
The names of the men who perished are:
William Pearson. Mate,(26), married, five children, living at Pill, a native of Yarmouth or Lowestoft.
George Spindler. Boatswain. (25), married, one child, living in Hakin, a native of Lowestoft.
William Carpenter. Deckhand. (2l),Single. Living in Hakin.
Bert Dainton. Chief Engineer. (35), married, two children, living in Priory Road, a native of Bristol.
Henry Mawby. Second Engineer. (32), single, living in Hakin.
TO BE MARRIED THIS CHRISTMAS.
The men were all well-known and highly respected. Carpenter was a particularly well set up young fellow, standing over 6 feet, and was to be married to Miss Winnie Mathias this Christmas.
The names of the rescued men are:
James Roch. Owner, Dale.
George Sturley. Skipper, a native of Dale.
Archie Sturley. Cook, a native of Dale.
George Hicks. Deckhand, living at Haven's Head, Hakin, a native of Lowestoft.
Reports as to the cause of the calamity are conflicting and it is difficult to get at the the circumstances. These will in all probability form the subject of an official enquiry, or, should any of the bodies be recovered, something may be gleaned in evidence at the inquest. The Skipper and Mate of the "Cyelse" are very emphatic that a good look out was kept on the trawler, and that no light could be observed until the "Eagle" was right under their bows. They say they did all in their power to avert a collision. We join in the sincere sympathy which is universally expressed with the bereaved families.
As an indication of the sorrow of the town and port, flags were flown half-mast from all the vessels in Dock and offices, and also on various buildings throughout the town which is indeed grief-stricken.
From the Haverfordwest & Milford Haven Telegraph, Wednesday 25th December 1912:
THE EAGLE DISASTER
A sharp look-out has been kept in the harbour for several days, with a view to the recovery of the bodies of the fishermen who met their death in the collision on the night of December 11th last. The scene of the disaster has been watched and signals shown for the safety of shipping, and on Saturday the Trinity steamer “Viking” carried out blasting operations and the wrecked liner was successfully blown up. If any of the men were entrapped in the vessel it was expected that the bodies would have been washed ashore with the wreckage, but up till last night nothing had been seen. On Saturday night the Milford Haven Male Voice Party, always ready to give their services in the cause of charity, rendered choruses in various parts of the town in aid of the fund for the relief of the distressed families of the men who lost their lives in the “Eagle”. We sincerely trust that a hearty response will be forthcoming for this worthy object.
From the Haverfordwest and Milford Haven Telegraph of Wednesday 21st February 1913:
[ The concluding paragraph of a lengthy report on the inquiry into the loss of the EAGLE: ]
The judgement was announced at noon on Monday.
The Court found:
The loss of the steamship Eagle and the consequent loss of life were caused by the collision with the steamship Cyelse, which collision was brought about by the defective look out kept on on the Cyelse, and by that vessel failing to keep clear of the Eagle as she should have done. The efforts to save life made by the men of the Cyelse after the collision were of an unsatisfactory character, largely due to the fault of the second hand.
For the above-mentioned defaults the Court suspends the certificate of Edward Gibbs, the skipper of the Cyelse, for nine months, and that of the second hand, William Blockwell, for three months.
The court finds George Ernest Sturley, skipper of the Eagle, not in default for the collision, but censures him for not exhibiting his masthead lights in accordance with the regulation.
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