The Orcadian - 14 March 1859 - Fearful Shipwreck and Loss of Life Near Stromness
On Wednesday the 9th inst, a lamentable accident occurred on the shore in the vicinity of the town of Stromness, - the total loss of a barque 'Lord Mulgrave' of Hull 497 tons burthen, Capt Robert Atkinson, from Shields for New York, with coals, and five of her crew with consisted of 14 souls, drowned.
The vessel having been upwards of three weeks out of port, experienced tremendous weather and spent nearly all her sails. On Tuesday the 8th, Dunnet Head Light was sighted, when the captain determined to make for Stromness harbour, with the view to refit; but on the Wednesday, the wind blew a perfect hurricane from the S.W., with occasional showers, and the vessel, in attempting to weather the point of Breckness, in order to get into Hoy Sound, became unmanageable, owing to the want of sails. A very heavy sea was running on the shore to leeward. The anchor was however dropped and the lifeboat got out to attempt landing, but the boat was capsized at the vessel's side and two men and a boy aged 15, who had got into her, found a watery grave. The anchor proved insufficient to hold the vessel, and consequently she was driven on the rocks, every wave telling fearfully on her. In a few minutes the mizzen, and shortly after the main mast went over the side, -- the sea sweeping over the devoted vessel, and carrying everything before it. The crew took to the fore rigging, or wherever there was any chance of safety, and continued there so long as the increasing darkness, and the sea, which at times completely covered the vessel, permitted them to be seen by the anxious spectators on the shore.
An eyewitness described the following thus; The scene from the show was now terrific. The waves broke furiously on the shore, and flung their spray far inland, and the angry wind swept past in fitful gusts making it difficult matter to preserve a footing on the beach. The gallant ship, which, a few hours before, rode comparatively unscathed on the waves, now lay tossing and writhing among the pointed rocks, every wave sweeping fragments to the shore, which soon covered the beach. The foremast had gone, the vessel parted amidships, but nothing could be seen of the unfortunate sailors, who were now given up for lost. But about 8 o’clock a cry was heard in the direction of the wreck, by a few persons whose anxiety had brought them to the point of the rocks nearest the vessel, and two or three dark objects were seen in relief on the white foam. The party on the rocks replied by shouting, and, headed by a young man, William Louttit, a native of the town, determined to strain every nerve to save them, and after extraordinary efforts and great risk, succeeded in bringing to the land, nine poor fellows, who were quite exhausted by cold and fatigue, and who would otherwise have been swept from their hold on the rocks by the advancing tide, and perished. The parties lost were the Captain; Charles Dolanson, second mate; Edward Kirk, and Thomas MClosky, seaman; and the boy Charles Chatham.
The gallant conduct of the young man Louttit, cannot be spoken of too highly. He placed himself in the most imminent peril in successively bringing to land two or three of the almost helpless sailors. We can recommend him as well entitled to the honorary medal from those societies which in this way patronise and reward such conduct.
The sailors have been provided with food and clothing by agent of the S.F.M.R.B society here, and will be assisted home first opportunity via Kirkwall. The chief officer and remnant crew of the ill fated barque attended public worship on Sabbath, in the Free Church in the forenoon, and in the U.P. Church in the afternoon at which diets the precentor of each church read as follows, by request: "The chief officer and crew of the 'Lord Mulgrave' desire to return thanks to Almighty God for their late deliverance from a watery grave".
The crew reached Kirkwall today (Monday) and requested us to express their heart felt thanks to the various parties in Stromness for the marked kindness they experienced in the efforts to save their lives; and beg particularly to name Messrs William Louttit and John Muir, watchmaker; and Messrs Thomas Linklater, and George Inkster of Breckness. We regret to add that reports are in circulation of anticipated parties plundering the wreck. Should these reports prove true, it is hoped that the guilty parties will be discovered and meet with merited punishment.
The Orcadian - 28th March 1859 - Stromness March 23 1859
The remainder of the wreck of the ‘’Lord Mulgrave’’ was exposed for sale on Friday the 18th and Monday the 21st inst. We are informed that some of the wreck still remains on hand. Those implicated in plundering from the wreck of the ‘’Lord Mulgrave’’ were marched off to Kirkwall this evening (Wednesday), in charge of the police officers. We are sorry to have to report such a thing from our good little town.BACK TO WRECKS