An extraordinary story surrounds a wreck that occurred at Saltburn, nearly 20 years ago (1924) is told by Mr Charles O’Connor, now of London who was a cook on board the ill fated “Ovenberg”. Mr O’Connor gives one to understand that the vessel was haunted by a ghost of a Russian monk, but here is the way in which he tells the story himself:-

For some time in 1924 I served at seaman cook on a Russian barquetine, the “St Nicholas, of Archangel. She was then bought by an English firm which renamed her “Ovenberg”. At one time this ship had been owned by some Russian monks, and after her name was changed strange things began to happen.

When we were at anchor there was it seemed someone up in the rigging, messing about with blocks and tackle, but none of us ever saw anyone. We were bound for Fowey (Cornwall) to Leith (Scotland) with 500 tons of china clay at the time. Whenever I had to haul on any ropes, I noticed there always seemed to be someone giving an extra pull. I am not superstitious, but it got me thinking.

Finally the ship was wrecked at Saltburn. We were pounded onto the sands, and crashed into the pier. The decks burst open under us. A Russian pigeon came aboard us before we were wrecked. The skipper knew it by the ring on its leg. It would not leave until every man-jack of us left the ship. As the ship went down the figure of a Russian monk appeared on the shore, and remained until she disappeared, then he vanished out of sight.

Call this whatever you like – superstition or coincidence, Lloyds shipping authorities will hear out the truth of this wreck.”

Cleveland Standard 1933.


dean February 3, 2010 Ships