STORM – Another The Hartlepools

Accreditation Redcar and Saltburn News 17/12/1874


      A terrible gale prevailed during Saturday night and Sunday, and was attended with great loss of life. The wind was from the north east. The schooner “Lady of the Lake” and the French barque “Francais” appeared in the offing soon after nine o’clock, when the steamer Thomas and Mary ran out to them, and offered to take the “Francais” into port, but terms could not be agreed on. The “Lady of the Lake” at two o’clock entered the old harbour safely, after twice striking the bar. The “Francais,” after refusing aid of the tug, had now approached the Yorkshire side of the bay so closely that it was feared she would drive ashore at Redcar, where the crews of the lifeboats had mustered in full expectation that their services would be required, as the vessel was among the breakers; but, to the astonishment of everybody, she wore round, and about four o’clock passed the end of the Long Scar Reef safely. The tug “Amelia” (of Old Hartlepool) put off to her assistance, and the barque took her tow line near the bar. This soon snapped, and the barque drove ashore on Middleton Beach. Including the captain, there were nine persons on board at the time. Two lifeboats pulled out, but the surf was so heavy they could not approach her closely. At dark the first rocket was fired, but fell short, and of the five succeeding shots, two went right over, but the crew, apparently in ignorance of its use – clung helplessly to the wreck. About seven, one of the crew named Ronesong, leaped into the surf, and was rescued. Soon afterwards, a second, supposed to be the captain, and a boy, aged twelve years, were washed ashore – the former still alive, but afterwards he expired. The remainder of the crew were drowned. During Monday two more bodies were washed ashore, on which, with these of the captain and his nephew. Mr Settle opened an inquest in the evening. They were identified by Ronesong, the sole survivor of the crew, as Francis Bergot, master; Figuel, second mate; Dillet, seaman, and a boy, nephew of the master, name unknown. Evidence was given that the captain opened his eyes after being washed ashore, but died almost immediately. Other three of the crew were quite dead. The inquest was adjourned until Tuesday, when a verdict of “Death from Suffocation by drowning” was returned, the jury recommending an inquiry by the Board of Trade. They also condemned the practice of steam tugs making bargains with vessels in distress. Two other bodies have been cast up since the inquest – one at Hartlepool, and the other at Middleton.


dean July 29, 2011 Weather & Tides