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Thalia - a general history

Official No. 89451: Code Letters JCGB.

Owners: 1883 A. Gladstone & J. Cornforth, West Hartlepool

Masters: 1883-89 E Fleetham: 1890 George Sealey.

On a voyage from Savannah to Reval with a cargo of cotton and a crew of 22 Thalia was wrecked on Revalstone Rock, near Reval on 15 January 1890.

Thalia set out on 27 December 1889 from Savannah bound for Reval in Finland with a cargo of about 4,900 bales of cotton & a total crew of 22. As they neared Reval on Tuesday 14 January 1890 visibility was poor with rain & flurries of snow. At about 2am on Wednesday the weather cleared a little & the master saw what he thought was a beam from the Reval Stone Lighthouse so he gave orders to steer the vessel in that direction. As they came nearer he realised he was mistaking as this was a single light & the Reval Light had a double beam. Because he was unsure of his position the master decided to lay to & wait for daylight. The engines were stopped & restarted at about 5am but, almost immediately, Thalia struck upon Reval Stone Rocks & quickly began filling with water. Only one of the two ship’s lifeboats was provisioned & this was occupied by the chief officer, engineers & seaman. The second boat contained the master, the 2nd officer, the steward & nine other men. The wind & sea were high & soon one of the boats fell behind & was lost from the sight of the master & his men. All night the sea washed over the boat & the men took turns to bail out the water to keep afloat. At daybreak they headed again for land & although cold, wet & hungry the men succeeded in getting within close reach of an island which was just off the coast of Finland. The lighthouse they had seen proved to be the Kotskar as the Reval Stone Light was only in use from May to November. Two boys & an old man came out in a boat & led them to a harbour with a lighthouse where they landed safely but all had to be assisted to disembark as their legs & feet were swollen due to the extreme cold. They were cared for by the officials of the lighthouse & the following morning, under the guidance of a lighthouse keeper, they reached the mainland. Eventually they made their way to St Petersburg where they were put on a steamer for Hull. 10 lives lost.

Crew January 1890:

Andersen, Sivert, able seaman

Coverdale, Edward, 2nd engineer

Crawley, Robert, 2nd officer

Hill, George, able seaman

Peel, Alexander, chief engineer

Sealey, George, master’s son

Stockman, James Smith, chief officer

Taylor, Thomas, able seaman

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