On Another Coast

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© David Dixon shared under Creative Commons CC BY-SA 2.0 licence

These two cast iron iterations of Antony Gormley’s body gazed across the Elbe estuary for a while and now look from Brighton le Sands over the Crosby Channel towards North Wales.

In these waters 77 years ago, HMT Relonzo struck a mine and was sunk. There is a photograph of the vessel and a list of the nineteen crew at Wreck Site. The trawler went down near C10 Red Buoy and it seems that all the men aboard were lost. Relonzo had taken part in the Dunkirk evacuation the previous summer and in 1941 was engaged in The Battle of the Atlantic.

Frank HUNTER was one of the seamen who died on Relonzo.He was born in Hull in December 1908 to Filey-born parents George William and Elizabeth Ann née PEARSON. His memorial is in St Oswald’s churchyard and the stone also remembers his wife Lillian.

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Lillian was also born a PEARSON but I haven’t been able to determine her parentage. The following brief item appeared in The Driffield Times on 25th July 1941.

Filey Man Killed

Mrs. Hunter, of Ebenezer House, Queen Street, Filey, has received word that her husband, Frank Hunter (32), has been killed by enemy action at sea. He leaves three children.

The record for one of the children is “closed” on the 1939 Register and so may still be alive. I added Frank and his siblings to FST today but will leave it to his family to enter more recent information.

An Accident Revisited

John William Sumpton SAYER’s death was briefly reported in newspapers around the country under headings such as “Man Killed on Beach” and “Run Over by a Fishing Boat”. In not many more than fifty words it was explained that fishing boats in Filey were, in 1939, pulled down to the sea “on two wheels”. John had taken a boat to the sea’s edge when two men following with another coble shouted for him to get out of the way. “Sayers appeared to stumble and before the men could stop, one of the wheels went over his head.” He was killed instantly.

Trivial accounts like this are so unfair – in seeming to imply that the person who died brought on their own demise. John was 62-years-old, a husband and father of two girls, then in their thirties. He deserved better.

He is not, as yet, on the FamilySearch Tree but he has one of the more extensive pedigrees on Filey Genealogy & Connections.Kath Wilkie has attached a note to his record that gives the sad event some context – and the stricken man a measure of dignity that the newspapers denied him.

Severe weather conditions: raining cats & dogs – dark @ 6.30am on Weds. 18 Jan 1939. Had been helping to launch cobles, but had left his oilskins under a fishbox on Coble Landing.  Went off to get them after 3 cobles had been launched so that he wasn’t drenched to the skin. Put his oilskins on and bent his head against the wind and rain.  He couldn’t see because it was so dark, but he knew the way anyway – he’d done it often enough.  He didn’t hear them bringing the ‘JOAN MARY’ down, because of the wind, rain and the sea – and the others couldn’t see him either.   He was knocked down – but nobody saw – and the wheel ran over his head and he was dragged up to 20 yards before they realised what had happened. One of them ran to get Dr Vincent, but he was dead.  The verdict was ‘accidental death’, but the coroner recommended that they use a light when launching the cobles in the dark to avoid any such further accidents.  The inquest was held at the Police Station on Thursday evening.  He had a traditional Filey Fisherman’s funeral with a short service at home (85 Queen Street) and then on to Ebenezer Chapel. He was buried in St Oswald’s.   The two men who were launching the Joan Mary were Thomas & Robert Cammish, both of Queen St (49 & 70) – plus others.

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The tall house is No.85 Queen Street, photographed this afternoon. John’s grave has a kerb rather than a headstone and the inscriptions on such are often obscured by vegetation.

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In Loving Memory of my dear husband JOHN W.S. SAYERS

accidentally killed 18th Jan 1939 aged 62

Also of his dear wife ELIZABETH ANN died 27th Nov 1964 aged 87

‘Reunited            In God’s keeping’

John was a grandfather of William Johnson COLLING, one of the “Langleecrag Cousins” (see 15th November’s post). His somewhat unusual middle-name “Sumpton” had come to him from at least as far back as the late 17th century. His fourth great-grandfather, Henry SUMPTON, was born around 1685.

This post was written before I checked out Looking at Filey. I wrote about this accident on 18 January 2011.

I have created a page on the LaF Wiki for John and Elizabeth Ann’s Monumental Inscription record.

The Barque ‘Unico’

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Unico came to grief on Filey Brigg this day 1871. I favour her being the “barque” of the memorial obelisk rather than the “schooner” of this vivid report of her demise in the Driffield Times, 21 January.

Wreck and Loss of 13 Lives at Filey

The Italian three-masted schooner Unico, captain Angelo Dodero, coal laden from Newcastle for Genoa, which brought up in Filey Bay on Sunday, dragged her anchors in a gale of wind, before daylight on Monday morning, and struck upon Filey Brigg, and went to pieces immediately. Of the whole crew, thirteen in number, only one man, Litano Maccouchi, was found alive upon the rocks. A Newcastle pilot was also drowned.

The Inquest

On Wednesday, an inquest was held at the Ship Inn, before J. M. Jennings, esq., coroner, on the bodies of three men cast on Filey Brigg, whose names are Gaetano Paganetti (mate), Carlo Lavaggi (able seaman), and Francesco Bugino (apprentice). From the evidence of Litano Maccouchi it appears that the vessel Unico, with a cargo of 600 tons of coal, sailed from Newcastle-upon-Tyne for Genoa, on the 11th inst., having on board Capt. Didero, a crew of 12, and a Tyne pilot named Corbett. The vessel arrived off Flambro’ Head on Saturday 14th, and being hazy, with strong wind from S.S.W. the pilot requested her to be anchored under Speeton Cliffs; this done the vessel rode safely until Monday morning, when, thick with rain, a fearful gale sprung up from S.S.E., which caused the ship to drag her anchor. The pilot at once requested sail to be made, anchor to be slipped, and stand out to sea; this was done, but in doing so the Unico struck upon the extreme end of Filey Brigg. A heavy sea was running at the time and so great was the concussion that the ship’s bottom was stove in; at this momentary crisis part of the crew got into three boats, which were on deck, the other part of the crew took refuge on the fore-rigging; no sooner done than an awful sea broke upon the ship, swept the deck, and hurled the boats into the gaping sea, thus drowning at one blow eight of the poor fellows; a twin mountain wave followed, which burst upon the ship, carrying away the foremast, upon which were the other six clinging for life, but these were also thrown amongst the breakers, which were spending their fury upon the fatal rocks, only one rose to the surface to grasp a piece of timber to which he tenaciously clung, when another wave lifted and cast him upon a safer part of the rocks; fearfully bruised and bewildered he climbed upon a higher rock, and upon this rock he sat shivering for more than an hour, when he was found by two fishermen, who carried him over rocks and to the Ship Inn, where every care and comfort was bestowed upon him.

James Gondrill, fisherman, said: I left my house on Monday morning about 7.15 a.m. and went on to the Brigg, when I met two fishermen carrying a shipwrecked man; I proceeded further on the rocks and espied another one of whose hands was uplifted firmly grasping some seed weed: with assistance I lifted him up and found him cold and dead; a little further on I found another lifeless man, both of whom were taken to the Ship Inn.

The Coroner, having summed up, the jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death.”

I think the reporter did rather better with the names of the unfortunate crew than whoever carved their names on the obelisk in St Oswald’s churchyard.

Here’s the Crimlisk transcription (the names are now obscured):

This stone is erected to commemorate a fearful shipwreck which took place

on Filey Brigg on 16 Jan 1871 of the Italian barque ‘Unico’ from Genoa

whereby 12 out of a crew of 13 including an English pilot perished

 

The following are interred in Filey Churchyard

ALGELO DODERO, Captain

GAETANO PAGANETTI, Mate

CARLO LAOAGGI, Seaman

FRANCESEAS BUGINO, Apprentice

and five others (Names unknown)

The East Yorkshire Family History Society transcription helpfully adds the Burial Register entries. These indicate that one body, supposed to be that of Captain DODERO, was not found for about ten days after the event and was interred with the others on 31 January.

*1871 Jan 19. Carlo Lauggi. Wrecked. 38.

*1871 Jan 19. Gaetano Paganetti. Wrecked. 37.

*1871 Jan 19. Francesco Bugiano. Wrecked. 17 yrs.

*These 3 men were washed up on Filey Brigg, from the wrecked barque Unico.

I walked to the overlook on Carr Naze this morning to photograph the scene of the wreck for Today’s Image. I was a little disappointed not be faced with a stormy sea and bruised sky but the upside was better light in the churchyard and Queen Street to picture two other elements of the story.

Fisherman “James Gondrill” was almost certainly James GOUNDRILL, born in Keyingham in 1839. At the census of 1871 he was living with his in-laws in Mosey’s Yard, off Queen Street, and working as a Gardener. Kath gives his occupation as Fisherman in Filey Genealogy & Connections but he began his working life as a Farm Servant (1851) and ten years later was a Servant to John Rook, the Miller at Mappleton. In 1881, still working as a gardener, he was living with wife Hannah and three daughters in Scarborough. The couple would return to Filey and be laid to rest in St Oswald’s churchyard. I didn’t have a photograph of their headstone in stock, probably because it is so hard to read, being well coated in lichen.

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In loving memory of HANNAH, the dearly beloved wife of JAMES GOUNDRILL, who died April 19th 1898 aged 52 years.

For to live in Christ and to die is gain.

Also the above JAMES GOUNDRILL, who died Sep. 9th 1905, aged 66 years.

The grass withered, the flower fadeth. The word of God stands forever.

James and Hannah are on FamilySearch Tree but without their full complement of offspring and for the most part disconnected from their forebears. When I find the time I’ll attempt to bring them all together. I had a quick look at Italian records for Unico’s named crew without success. I hope Litano Maccouchi recovered from his ordeal and lived well, to a great age.

I walked the short distance to Queen Street to photograph the Ship Inn, sometime after 1871 re-named the T’awd Ship, and now a private dwelling.

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There is a fine view of the Bay at the end of the street and from Cliff Top a cargo ship was heading north beyond the Brigg. It was the Mistral, a Ro-Ro flying a Finland flag, heading for Teesport from Zeebrugge. Calm sea certainly, prosperous voyage maybe.

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