DEATH – Fatal Accident, Coatham. Four Men Drowned.

Accreditation the Redcar and Saltburn-by-the-Sea Gazette 10/02/1871


            A sad accident occurred on the beach at Coatham on Sunday night last (05/02), whereby four young men lost their lives. It seems that five young men, Thomas Morgan and John Robinson, iron workers, Middlesbrough; Thos Wright, seaman; and Augustus Andersen, and Iost Qwenten, Swedish sailors; they left Middlesbrough, in ship’s boat, for a sail down the river. Arriving at the Teesside bar, they impudently ventured outside the mouth of the river, notwithstanding that a heavy sea was running. When they wanted to return, they found the wind and tide were dead against them. Seeing the impossibility of making their way back, they endeavoured to run the board on the short. By this time it was quite dark, and they tried to make for a light which they observed to the South East. In attempting to do so, the board was struck by a heavy sea, and capsized. Qwenten slaughtered a short on one of the boat’s oars, but the other poor fellows were drowned. To the bodies, Morgan and Robinson, were washed ashore shortly afterwards

On Tuesday morning (07/02) an inquest was held on the bodies, at the Lobster Inn, Coatham, before T. C. Sowerby, Esq., When the following evidence was adduced :-

Iost Qwenten said: I am an apprentice belonging to the brink “Craggs,” now lying in the dark at Middlesbrough. I left Middlesbrough of on Sunday afternoon last, at three o’clock, in company with Thomas Wright, of the “Eden,” Augustus Andersen, of the “Craggs” Thomas Morgan, roller, and John Robinson, puddler. We went for a sail down the river, intending to return to Middlesbrough; but when we got outside the bar, we found it was impossible to return, so we determined to run a short at Coatham, and walk back to Middlesbrough, leaving the boat till a more favourable opportunity. It was very dark and raining at the time. When we were nearly on shore, a heavy sea struck the boat, capsizing her, and throwing us into the water. I managed to get hold of oar, which assisted me to gain the shore. I never saw any thing of my companion’s after the boat capsized. Thomas Wright and Augustus Andersen had been at sea about two years. I have been about nine months. The other men had never been in a boat before. Thomas Morgan was about nineteen years of age. John Robinson was twenty three. As soon as I got to land, I immediately set off for assistance. Mr Bates chief officer of the Coast Guard went down with me. We found the body of John Robinson hanging over the side of the boat, his head and shoulders being in the water at the bottom of the boat. He was quite dead. As near as I can guess, it would be about six o’clock when the boat capsized. It was about half past seven when I got back to the boat. The body of Morgan washed up about 300 yards from the boat.

George Dobson said: I am a fisherman and a live at Redcar. I was on the sands on Sunday night about half past seven, when I saw a boat. I went up to it, and saw a man hanging over it, with his head in the water at the bottom of the boat. I once went for assistance, but when I got back to the boat I found the last witness the, with Mr Bates. The boat had evidently been unsure about an hour.

John Ward, chief boat man of the Coast Guard, deposed: about twenty minutes to seven o’clock on Sunday night, the first witness came to my house and told me what had occurred. I went with him to the house of the chief officer, who went with us down to the beach. I assisted Mr Bates to take the body of Robinson out of the boat, and later on the sands. We found the body of Morgan about 300 yards to the north of the boat, layered with his face downwards, half buried in the sand.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidentally drowned,”


Lol Hansom March 16, 2013 Doctors & Health