Official No: 114999 Port and Year: 50th in Lowestoft, 1901.
Description: Wooden smack; ketch rigged.
Crew: 5 men (1901); 4 men (1914).
Built: Brixham; in 1901
Tonnage: 50 net
Length / breadth / depth (feet): - / - / -
9 Oct 1901: Wm. Robbens, Lowestoft.
Landed at Milford: 29 Aug 1915 - 31 Jan 1916 [See Note below.]
Skippers: John Crickmore (1909) [See Note below.] Arthur Culby (1916)
Notes: 13 Nov 1909: Skipper Crickmore washed overboard and drowned in a storm while the crew were engaged in stowing the sail. Two crew members were also washed overboard, but were able to reach a rope and save themselves. [The Times, Tuesday 16th November 1909.]
16 Feb 1916: Wrecked at Southerndown, Porthcawl (51.26.45N 03.36W), with 3 of the crew of 4 were lost. [See two newspapers articles below.]
24 Feb 1916: Lowestoft Register closed.
Accidents and Incidents
From the South Wales Weekly Post of Saturday 19th February 1916:
DROWNED OFF PORTHCAWL.
TRAGEDY BEFORE SPECTATORS' EYES.
FATE OF THREE LOWESTOFTMEN.
In sight of hundreds of spectators, a tragedy of the sea was enacted off Porthcawl during the terrific storm on Wednesday .
About five o'clock in the afternoon a small fishing smack was seen some distance off the breakwater, and she was evidently in distress. It looked as though the boat would drift with the current up the coast towards Sandy Bay and Newton Point. The rocket apparatus, in charge of Chief Coastguard Roberts and Mr. David Hopkin, was therefore taken in that direction in order to be ready to render assistance as soon as the opportunity occurred.
The boat however, with sails set, managed by tacking to get within about 20 yards of the breakwater, which was crowded with spectators. There the skipper of the boat shouted,
"WHAT PLACE IS THIS?"
Reply was made through a megaphone that it was Porthcawl.
"Throw us a rope," called the skipper, but there was, apparently, no rope available. The boat thereupon dropped anchor, but immediately began to drag, and drifted down towards Treco Bay, near Newton Point, a couple of miles up the coast.
There the crew succeeded in launching a small boat when about half a mile from the beach, and four men were seen to get into it. The boat approached the beach, but on getting into the breakers it capsized, and only one man managed to reach the shore. He gave his name as Horace Moore, aged 18. He said that the boat, which was still drifting out at sea, was the Narcissus, a fishing smack owned at Lowestoft, which had been trawling out of Milford Haven for some months. He said the skipper was Arthur Culby, aged 38 the mate; A. Moore, aged 40; deck hand, Robert Greenwood, aged 24, and himself. These formed the whole of the crew. The survivor was taken to the Victoria Hotel at Porthcawl, and there put to bed, attended by Dr. Hartland.
From The Haverfordwest and Milford Haven of Wednesday, 23rd February 1916:
In The Track of The Storm.
MILFORD SMACKS' FATE.
A severe gale was felt during the week, a strong westerly wind being accompanied by intense cold and showers of bail. Much damage to shipping especially the smacks was reported on their return to dock, the smack "Avance" fared badly, having both her main gaff and mizzen gaff broken and carried away, and her lifeboat battered into an unworkable condition. The "Our Merit" lost her main mast and the "Margaret Holland" her top-mast. Other minor damage was recorded, but no loss of life from returning vessels. One serious disaster however was recorded, the Lowestoft smack "Narcissus" as previously reported in the daily papers, being driven into Porthcawl where some thrilling scenes were witnessed, the smack getting within twenty yards of the breakwater, but subsequently drifting away and the crew taking to their boat which was swamped and three of the occupants drowned.
A verdict of "Accidentally drowned" was returned at the inquest held by Mr Lewis M. Thomas, coroner, at Porthcawl.
Horace Edward Moore, the young survivor, told a tragic story of how his skipper and comrades lost their lives when safety seemed literally within their reach. He said that the smack left Milford on Saturday week last, and they fished off the Smalls until Sunday last, when the skipper decided to return to Milford to unload the catch, and because the ship was short of provisions and coal. But a terrific gale sprang up. and they were unable to make for Milford, being blown completely out of their course. They lay to, and drifted up the Bristol Channel, with which they were unfamiliar. On Tuesday they found themselves off Lundy, and the skipper decided to make for Swansea by the chart, but the gale continued to blow them out of their course. On Wednesday afternoon, about half-past 4, they saw land and a breakwater, which seemed to be the harbour, and they thought it was Swansea. The skipper "shoved" the smack around and hoisted a house flag hoping that someone would come off and tell them how to get in. No one came, and the skipper said, "We'll chance it ourselves." They sailed the smack round the breakwater into calm water between the breakwater and a jetty. There were a lot of people on a portion of the break-water and near it watching them. The skipper shouted, "Where are we?" and the reply came through a megaphone —" Porthcawl."
"SLING A ROPE."
The skipper got the smack so close to the breakwater that it was almost possible, asserted the witness, for the spectators to touch the bowsprit. The skipper shouted, "Sling a rope," and if a rope had been slung out the crew could have got the smack safely into the harbour. But no rope came. The hatches of the smack had been battened down because of the storm, the hold being full of fish, which would have caused the smack to be swamped if she had shipped a sea. When no rope came from the breakwater the skipper ordered witness to open the hatches and get a rope from below. While this was being done the anchor, which had been lowered, either dragged or parted, and the smack drifted out from the calm water between the jetty and the breakwater, and continued to drift up the coast in the direction of the shore. The smack had remained in this calm water near the breakwater for about ten minutes, and witness asserted that during the whole of that time it would have been possible to throw a rope aboard. When they were drifting away the skipper said that if she went on the rock they would stand no chance, and ordered the small boat to be lowered and the smack abandoned. All of them got into the small boat, witness steering, and the captain ordered him to keep a straight course for the sandy beach, on which they could see some people. When they were about 20 yards from the beach the skipper again shouted, "Sling us a rope." Again no rope came. The boat got into the breakers, and was overturned, but witness managed to swim ashore. He was the only one of the four who could swim. The men had been at Milford for a few months and were very much respected, all being decent follows and the news of the disaster has caused much grief to their friends.
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