Wreck of the SPIRIT OF THE OCEAN 1866

Liverpool Mercury, March 30th 1866

The wreck of the SPIRIT OF THE OCEAN

The Western Morning News gives the following account of the loss of the ship:-

During the heavy southerly gale which prevailed in the English Channel on Friday a disastrous wreck took place near the Start, involving the loss of a large number of lives. During the afternoon of that day a fine barque outward bound, was seen labouring under the gale with sales split, driving in towards Start Bay, apparently trying to take shelter in Dartmouth harbour. Towards the evening she had reached well in towards land and was considered from the shore to be in a dangerous position, but, as yet as she had sufficient room to weather the Start Point, there was a fair prospect of her reaching Dartmouth. On her nearing the Start she passed the Pear Tree Rocks in safety, but, shortly afterwards suddenly became unmanageable and at 6.40pm drifted on to rocks between the Start and Pear Tree Rocks. There, from the terrific sea that was running against the cliffs her destruction was but the work of moments and in 10mins she was broken up into a raft of splintered timbers and spars dashing against the rocks. From the suddenness with which she was destroyed her unfortunate crew and passengers had no opportunity of carrying out any efforts to escape to land, while the few persons on shore who witnesses the catastrophe were equally paralysed. In a short time, however several men appeared at the spot and by the means of a rope the only survivors of the wreck, four of the ill-fated crew were rescued.

The scene of the disaster is about a quarter of a miles west of the Start Lighthouse, a mile and a half south of the preventative station at Hall sands and 12 miles from Kingsbridge, the nearest town.

The vessel proved to be the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick Line of steam and sailing packets, liner the SPIRIT OF THE OCEAN, 1000tons, Capt CARY. She left the London docks on Monday last as the packet for Halifax with 20 passengers, a crew of 22, and a large general cargo. The survivors are the mate and three seamen. At the time of the occurrence a squall had set in and a hurricane of wind was blowing. This, together with her disabled condition from her damaged sails and a baffling tide also running around the Point, are supposed to be the causes of her loss. The survivors were taken that night to Start Farm the residence of Mr Samuel POPPLESTONE, about half a mile from the scene of the wreck, where, they were hospitably cared for.

Several bodies were washed ashore on Saturday and Sunday [yesterday]. A number of people were on the spot yesterday to render assistance, but, the vessel was a complete wreck, and very little remained to be seen except the occasional washing on shore of portions of the wreck and the picking up of dead bodies.

Passengers, Mr and Mrs COOKE and four children, Mr COOKE [nephew], Messers, S. BROWN, J. BAILEY, J. STEWART, R. JONES, and C. LUNN

Crew

Roulie CARY, master, leaves a wife and four children

Creighton JENKINS, Chief mate, James W. WOOD, 2nd mate, Joseph HILL, carpenter, Patrick WYNESS, Steward, Diedrick COOK, cook, Joseph GAINER, William IMPETT, George WILMOT, James MULLER, Oskar TORNGREN, John PALMER, George AHERN, George LEE, Charles WOOD, Charles BROWN and James MC GUYAN.

The SPIRIT OF THE OCEAN was two years old, 1100 tons burthen, classed A1 at Lloyds and was owned by George CROSHAW and Co of London. The ship and cargo were valued at about 65,000 and the loss of which will fall principally on the London insurance offices and underwriters.

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