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Doris - Coxswain Wreck Report

Doris—Lifeboat Elizabeth Newton

1930 26 September—About 12 noon a verbal message was received at the Coxswain’s house from the Coastguard that a vessel was seen to be getting too far to leeward in Hartlepool Bay. The Coxswain & his Assistant happened to be working in the boat-house at the time & the Motor Mechanic had just left the boat-house to go to dinner & had crossed the ferry. He, with some of the crew, at once returned to the house. The signal guns were fired about this time by the Coastguard. The lifeboat was then launched & proceeded across the Bay to the wreck through tremendous broken seas. On arriving near the vessel the Coxswain had to watch his chance & manoeuvre the boat to enable him to get alongside. This he succeeded, with much difficulty, in doing. After asking the Captain by megaphone whether he wished to leave the vessel, the Captain at first said no. The lifeboat was then driven to southward & endeavoured to approach the vessel again. The Coxswain again asked the Captain whether he wished to leave the vessel as he was in a very dangerous position. The Captain then asked the Coxswain where exactly he was & the Coxswain explained his position & told him that if he got on the rocks close by the lifeboat would not be able to get near him. The lifeboat was again washed away from the vessel. After being able to approach her for the third time the Coxswain observed that the men on the vessel had got lines ready to throw to the lifeboat, but the boat was again driven away. On being able to come near the vessel for the 4th time one of the lifeboat men was able to throw a small line to the vessel & the men on the vessel mad a big rope fast to this line & the lifeboat men then hauled the big rope to the lifeboat & were thus enabled to pull the lifeboat alongside the vessel. When they got alongside the vessel 8 of the men jumped aboard the lifeboat. As the 9th man was about to jump out, a sea washed him back into the vessel, but the lifeboat was still hanging to the ship by the rope & was able to draw closer alongside & the 9th man then jumped into the arms of the Assistant Coxswain. The lifeboat men then chopped away the ship’s rope & got clear of the vessel & returned home through heavy seas with the nine rescued men & were greeted by the great crowd, which had gathered along the Town Wall, with hearty cheers. The rescued men were looked after by the agents of the Missions to Seamen & the Shipwrecked Mariner’s Society.

1. Rig, name & port of vessel?—3 Masted schooner, Dorisof Thurso

2. Names of Master & Owner?—Soren Kobke.  Skibrereder Rs Jogensen

3. Number of persons on board?—Nine

4. Tonnage & whether vessel loaded, in ballast, how occupied, whither bound?—218 tons reg. light, from Wick to Hartlepool to load

5. Exact position where casualty occurred?—Just south of Longscar Rocks

6. Nature of casualty, collision or stranding. Did vessel become total wreck? If not, state what became of her.—After crew were rescued vessel washed ashore about 30 yards abreast of North Gare Breakwater & is likely to become a total wreck

7. Direction of wind?—NNE

8. Force of wind?—Strong gale

9. Condition of sea?—Very heavy

10. Condition of weather?—Rain & cold

11. Time when signal was first seen or warning received?—About 12 noon

12. State of tide?—Low water

13. Was information received by telephone or telegraph?—Verbal message by phone from the Coastguard to the Coxswain & the joint Secretary JS Wood.

14. Were the adjacent stations informed of the action being taken by the lifeboat?—Yes

15. Time of launching lifeboat?—12.35pm

16. Time of reaching wreck?—1pm

17. Time of returning ashore?—1.35pm

18. Time of returning lifeboat to boat-house?—4pm

19. Number of lives saved by the lifeboat?—Nine

20. Number of lives lost?—None

21. Was service done under sail or oars?—Motive power

22. How did the boat behave?—Splendidly

23. By whose authority was she ordered out?—Joint Secretary JS Wood

24. State how many hours the Signalman was on duty—

25. Was any damage done to the boat? Extent of repairs required? Are they in hand?—No

26. Were any stores lost or broken?—Megaphone washed overboard

27. Amount, if any, of reward received locally or from elsewhere?—No

28. Will salvage be claimed? State amount if settled.—None

State here the names of the crew of the lifeboat on this occasion & the number of times they have been off in the lifeboat to a wreck.--

Coxswain Robert Hood; Assistant Coxswain Frank Sotheran; Acting Bowman Ben Rowntree; Assistant Motor Mechanic Frank Sotheran junior; Jacque Hood & T Gilchrist

6 men. 2 persons assisting to launch & haul up lifeboat. The helpers were on duty from the time the lifeboat was launched until she was re-housed.

Alfred Belk, Honorary Secretary

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