Shipwrecks & Groundings – “Emily” on Coatham Sands

Accreditation the Redcar and Saltburn-by-the-Sea Gazette 11/02/1876


            Early on Sunday morning (06/02), the barque ‘Emily’, of Shields, (James Riddle, master), was wrecked in TeesBay, about 2 miles from Redcar. The vessel, which was of 997 tons register, left she was on Saturday morning (05/02), laden with coal and coke, and was bound for Carthagena. She was sighted from Redcar in the afternoon, endeavouring to make Hartlepool harbour, having been overtaken by the gale which sprang up suddenly on Saturday afternoon from the E.N.E., and which raged with great violence during Saturday and Sunday. The captain was, however, informed by a Hartlepool pilot, who had gone out in a steam tug, that there was not sufficient depth of water to enable him to enter the port. As night closed in, he attempted to enter the Tees, but unsuccessfully, and after battling with the funerary of the storm for several hours, between 12 and 1 o’clock on Sunday morning the vessel struck on a bell of sand a short distance from the South Guerre breakwater, seven or 800 yards from high watermark. As most conflicting statements are current respecting the conduct of the offices of the Coast Guard towards the volunteer rocket brigade and of the crew of the Redcar lifeboat, we have been at some trouble to get at the subsequent facts of the case, which are as follows :- Mr. J. Bates, chief officer of the coastguard, was on the look-out at the station at West Coatham, and fancying that there was some vessel either a ground or in distress near the breakwater, he sent one of his men in that direction to see if he could make out anything. Mr. Bates himself followed shortly afterwards, and met the officer he had dispatched returning, who informed him that there was a large vessel ashore. They both then returned to the coastguard station, and having obtained to horses from Mrs. Bennison’s stables, proceeded along with several offices and assistants towards the Tees with the rocket apparatus. As soon as they got to the stranded vessel, to which they were guided by the blue lights which were by this time being burned on board, a signal rocket was let off towards Redcar, to warn the volunteer rocket brigade and the crew of the lifeboat that their services were required; but unfortunately, as it afterwards transpired, there was no one on the lookout at the lifeboat station, so that the signal was not seen. Four long lights were also burned. Attempts were then made to reach the ship by means of the rocket apparatus, but the first rocket fired was hardly within the line of the ship. The position of the apparatus having been altered, a second rocket was let off, which fell short of the ship by about 300 yards. At two o’clock a bought was seen in the vicinity of the barque, and this was at first thought by the coastguard officials to be one of the Redcar lifeboats, there being at that time unaware of the fact that their signals had not been seen at Redcar; “Forester’s Pride,” of West Hartlepool, the crew of which had been informed of the disaster by a steam tug belonging Hartlepool, which had towed them to the stranded vessel, and by this means thirteen and seventeen hands on board were got off. After landing them, the crew endeavoured again to launch their boat, but failed, for want of a carriage. The position of the men remaining on board the barque was now extremely perilous – the crew of the West Hartlepool lifeboat being unable to assist them, and the ship being at too great a distance from the sharp to allow of it being read by means of the rocket apparatus. In this extremity, at four o’clock Mr. Bates dispatched one of his men to Redcar, for either a lifeboat or boat-carriage. The messenger speedily aroused Mr. Joseph Burnicle, the coxswain, and Mr. Alexander Coverdale, of the staff of this paper, volunteered to beat the alarm drum, which he did in a most effective style. On the crew assembling, nine horses were procured, and the lifeboat “Burton-on-Trent” was speedily at the scene of the wreck. But a long delay took place before the board, which is a very heavy one, could be launched, notwithstanding that there was more than a full complement of May, and this was attributable to the extreme flatness of the sands at the spot. At length, however, she was got off, and the captain and three remaining hands were rescued, and landed in safety. One of the sailors, a native of Heligoland, had his leg broken in two places in getting into the West Hartlepool lifeboat, through being jammed between the boat and the side of the vessel, and now he now lives under surgical treatment at the Cleveland Hotel, Coatham. The rest of the crew have been forwarded to their homes by the agent of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society. The barque commenced to break up soon after the hands and been got off, and in an incredibly short time the beach became strewn with debris from the wreck. Her three masts had fallen by Sunday at noon, and on Monday morning no part of her remained to be seen above water. During Sunday the spot was visited by large numbers of people from Redcar and Coatham. The West Hartlepool lifeboat remained on Coatham Sands until Wednesday, when it was towed back by a steam-tug.


Lol Hansom September 9, 2014 Boats & Ships