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Shipwrecks & Piracy

The Roundhouse (it is actually octagonal) has stood at the junction of the Pocra Quay and the North Pier, since the late 18th century.

It survives as one of Aberdeen’s most historic buildings and has become the symbolic icon of the harbour.

Examination of the Shoremaster’s Accounts for 1797 reveals that the Roundhouse was built at a cost of £225. Good value for 200 years of service
 

 

 


Piracy
29 August 1705 - Ballie Catanach
The said day compared George Martine Mate of the good ship called the Anna of Pitenweems, John Aitchison, Andrew Jamesone John Williamson and George Mathiesone, Mariners on the said ship and being solemnly sworne deponed that in their voyage from Danzig (Gdansk) to Aberdeen they were attacked by a French privateer named the Lamazon of Calais commanded by Captain Peter Rouz about 2 miles from the coast of Aberdeen upon the 14th of August 1705 the said Privateer came up with them and fired great and small shots through their sails and spoiled their rigging.  Being disabled and having no guns they were obliged to Strike.  The said Privateer shot their boat and came aboard them and commanded  their Ship, the Privateer having 43 men, and their ship only 9.  The privateer carried Alexander Dalyell Master of the aforesaid ship the Anna of Pitenweem aboard the said privateer till the ransom should be paid which they heard was £310 paid in English money conform to the ransom brief.  This is the truth as they shall answer to God
James Catanach, George Martine, John Aitchison, Andrew Jamesone, John Williamson, George Mathieson

The Anna was set upon not far from Aberdeen's coast - around 2 miles away.  L'Amazon fired what are described as 'great and small shots' at the ship, but seemed to aim mainly for their rigging.  Sometimes the 'small shots' would be used as an attempt to clear the decks of sailors thus making the ship easier to board.  Unfortunately, the Anna did not have any guns and so the crew were forced to strike - or take down - their colours, giving the victory to L'AmazonCaptain Alexander Dalyell of the Anna was taken aboard the French ship where he was to stay until the ransom of £310 Sterling was paid. 

Further entries regarding the Anna state that the ransom for the ship was paid in France, and amounted to 5,094 Livres, the French unit of currency at the time.  The ransom payment is mentioned in a later entry where the total bill is given as 5123 livres and 14 sous.  The exchange rate is given as 18 shillings scots per livre, giving the equivalent of £4,607 - 8/- Scots.  This is £354 8s 4d Sterling - slightly more than the £310 Sterling originally mentioned!  


Shipwrecks

In 1637 the river Dee came down in spate, and drove from their moorings by the Torry shore 4 vessels, one of which contained a body of troops. A south-easterly gale was blowing which, catching the vessels as they were swept across the bar, drove them on the sands. The soldiers on the troop-ship were asleep when it struck, lying on heather in the ship's bottom. Awakened by the shock and the sea pouring in upon them in the darkness, a terrible scene ensued; a struggle for life with the pitiless sea, and, in the panic of the moment, their equally pitiless comrades. " Four Score and Twelve," the old record tells us, "were wanting, or drowned, or got away."

One of the most melancholy shipwrecks that have ever occurred on this coast took place on the 1st April 1813. The Oscar whale ship left the port that morning along with four others Hercules, Laiona, Middleton and St Andrew, the weather being fine; but appearances of a gale coming on, the Oscar and another weighed anchor, in order to stand out to sea. The Oscar was detained by one of her boats having been sent for some of the crew who had not come on board, and the gale coming on from the north-east, she was driven ashore about 11 a.m., in the Greyhope Bay, immediately behind the breakwater at the south side of the harbour, where she quickly went to pieces, and out of a crew of 44, only the first mate and one seaman were saved. The St Andrew made it to the harbour with difficulty and the Hercules struck the north side of the Pier losing her rudder and was then beached on the sands only to be repaired when the storm abated and returned to sea.

Many another good ship has perished on the jags which lie pitiless as sharks' teeth under the waves that lap the rocks from Greg's Ness to the mouth of the river. One of the earliest local wrecks of which we know recalls, in its elements of poetic justice, the doom of Ralph the Rover, who perished on the crag from which he had previously stolen the warning bell.

After the Reformation a band of religious zealots marched from the South to Aberdeen; maddened by the too palpable luxury, vice, and superstitious observances of the priests, they were inspired by a wild desire to sweep away every vestige of idolatry from the places of worship.  Their frenzy ever increasing as they advanced, their minds were at last dominated by a mad desire for destruction, indiscriminate and unreasoning.  Like the contagion of a plague, the frenzy fastened on the lower classes in the town, and a wild rabble attacked the religious houses in the City, sacking and spoiling as they went. They even sought to drag the steeple of St. Nicholas Church to the ground. but other citizens more sane resisted, and it was saved for that time. Away they rushed to the Old Town, and the Cathedral was over-run by the mad crowd.  Everything that was beautiful, everything that was breakable, everything that was worth lifting, was defaced, broken or stolen. They tore the lead from the roof and the bells from the steeple, and but for the timely arrival of the Earl of Huntly with troops a broken wall might have been all left us of the goodly church of St. Machar. But the jagged reefs of the Girdleness lay in wait for some of the spoilers. One master robber, loading a ship with the spoils of the church of the twin spires, the lead from the roof, and the bells, set sail for Holland. But a storm arose and swept him on the Girdleness, and, within sight of the church he had robbed, and in the waters across which, in the quiet Sabbath evenings so often stole the tolling of the Cathedral bells, the robber went down with those bells he had for ever silenced, and weighted with the lead of the church he had desecrated.

The same place proved fatal on 26th January 1815 to the Brig Caledonia with the loss of the crew - 6/7 lives, the schooner Providence sought refuge from the same tempest in a neighbouring Bay of Nigg and of the crew of 4 only the master Captain Findlay survived.  The Thames smack, was driven on the same rocks as the Oscar and wrecked. The crew perished.  On the 29th a Danish gaillot with a cargo of whale oil was smashed against the earlier damaged pier whilst making a dash for the harbour and crushed one seaman as he attempted to board the pier and was driven into the harbour in a shattered condition. 

Waves Over the South Breakwater


The Roundhouse stood impotent while 3 shipwrecks took place during the time of Captain Morrison: the Brilliant in 1839, the Velocity in 1848 and the Duke of Sutherland in 1853.  Fittie had never witnessed such repeated disaster and Aberdeen Harbour entry gained a fearsome reputation. 

The wooden paddle ship Brilliant was the 1st to be lost when she went ashore on the harbour entrance on 12 December 1839. At 159 tons gross she was relatively modest in size. The Brilliant had sailed from Leith the previous afternoon.  Captain Morrison had been wakened during the night with a raging south-easterly gale which overtook the Brilliant. Off Girdleness early the next morning, her master Captain Wade, standing on the quarter deck, was thrown overboard when the ship rolled violently in a heavy sea. As it was well before dawn there was no chance of Wade being saved. In the beam seas the steamer struck the North Pier just inside the seaward endCaptain Morrison was unaware of the unfolding drama as a torrid sea drove the Brilliant further on to the root of his pier. The chief Engineer abandoned the Engine-room and rushed on deck. The unfortunate passengers were left in the pitch darkness, with the accompanying thunder of breakers and the roar of escaping steam.  When the Brilliant finally came to rest, those on board were able to scramble ashore without much difficulty. Poor Captain Morrison awoke to the cries of the survivors on his very own pier.   The boilers, now empty of water, rapidly over-heated, setting alight to the wooden hull of the Paddle Steamer. The stern was soon burning fiercely and though a fire-engine was brought out along the pier it proved impossible to extinguish the flames. Efforts were then concentrated on saving the cargo. Only 2 days after the wreck, several lots of the cargo were advertised for sale by a local firm in the same issue of the Aberdeen Journal that carried an account of the Loss of the Brilliant.


12th December 1839. `The Brilliant late Wade, from Leith, in taking the Harbour this morning, got upon the stones at the point of the North Pier, caught fire, and it is expected will be totally consumed; great part of the cargo discharged in a damaged state.'

2nd Wreck of the Prince Consort


Nearly a decade on another wooden Paddle-Steamer, the Velocity, was lost in almost identical circumstances. On 25 October 1848 Velocity arrived in the bay of the Dee at low water and lay off until the leading lights were lit at dusk. It is clear that her master, Captain Stewart, did not appreciate that the lights were lit regardless of the tide and steered straight for the harbour.  The wind, blowing strongly from the south-east combined with a strong fresh breeze in the Dee to produce a heavy sea off the harbour mouth; here the paddle steamer was struck on the starboard quarter by a large wave, and hit the south-east end of the North Pier. Her back was broken; she was lodged fast.

The introduction of steam navigation at Aberdeen took place in 1821, when the Velocity of 256 tons burthen, and furnished with two engines of 110 horses' power, began to ply between Aberdeen and Leith. Another vessel was soon after put into the same trade, and more recently, other two with more powerful engines were added, and these now run during the greater part of the year between Leith and Aberdeen, making also stated voyages to Lerwick and Kirkwall, and to Wick and Inverness. The amount of steam power at present employed in this trade is 640 horses' power, and the tonnage of the vessels is 1360 tons.

By the time the pilot boat was launched, the steamer’s longboat, carrying five of the crew, had managed to reach the safety of the harbour. The Velocity broke up, the poop deck carrying the master, mate, eight passengers and the remaining five crewmen out into the main channel. They were rescued by the pilot boat which had finally been manned by fishermen who ‘conducted the boat nobly, and took the men off the wreck and brought them to land in the most dextrous and seaman-like manner’. It was recorded that the Pilots were ‘unwilling’ to volunteer for crew, claiming they seldom received anything for their efforts.

The stranded steamer broke up and disappeared in less than an hour. Wreckage and cargo were strewn along the Torry side of the river and in spite of guards being set, a great deal was stolen under cover of darkness. 


Aberdeen, 23rd Nov 1846. `The ANTELOPE, Donald: from Sunderland, in entering this harbour yesterday, struck on the north pier, and sunk: crew saved.'
Source: The Marine List, LL, No. 10,203, London, Thursday November 26 1846.
Aberdeen, 5th Dec. `The ANTELOPE, Donald, from Sunderland, which struck on the North pier 22nd ult., and sunk, has been raised and hauled up.'
(No classification or cargo specified: date of loss cited as 22 November 1846). Antelope: this vessel hit the North Pier at Aberdeen and sank. Capt. Donald.
I G Whittaker 1998.
The location assigned to this record is essentially tentative. The present entrance may be considered to lie at , but this location reflects development towards the East through the construction of successive piers and breakwaters. This stranding is cited by Whittaker notwithstanding the successful recovery of the vessel.


1 April 1853, DUKE OF SUTHERLAND, of Aberdeen, steamship, 514 ton, 52 crew and passengers, London to Aberdeen, wind South East force 9, thick with rain, value £24,000, insured £12,000 with Lloyds, cargo £8,000, 16 dead, total wreck. Aberdeen, off the pier head.

Caused by a cross sea and fresh of the river, which rendered the vessel unmanageable and threw her upon the rocks. 36 saved by rocket and a boat. Coastguard Officers. Shipping and Mercantile Gazette. Lloyds List.  Source: PP Admiralty Register of Wrecks and other [Record received incomplete]. NMRS, MS/829/67 (no. 440)


The iron steamship Duke of Sutherland was wrecked at the entrance to Aberdeen harbour on the evening of 1 April 1853, arriving from London and having been pushed onto the end of the North Pier by the freshwater (downriver) current as she crossed the bar at half-tide. She struck `on the rocks by the breakwater of the pier', and was abandoned ten minutes later, when the water was 3ft (0.9m) deep in the engine room. The waves `made a clean breach over her' as she lay broadside-on to the waves, with her bow to the South. Some passengers were saved in one of the ship's lifeboats; the other was stove-in. Only a few more passengers could be recovered in the shore lifeboat, which was damaged in collision with the ship.  The ship then `rolled dreadfully', the forepart breaking off after about half an hour. The passengers gathered around the port paddle-box while the ship `sunk down solidly on the rocks. After some delay (due to the lack of `powder' and the box-cradle for the apparatus, trained men and the key to the building) a rocket-propelled line was fired over the wreck and served to rescue more passengers, Captain Howking being drowned in the process. A further 2 passengers were rescued in a salmon coble, but 5 men drowned during this operation.  

The stern part of the steamship broke off by the engine-room [after an unstated interval] and was `scattered in a thousand pieces'; the fore- and mizzen-masts had fallen some time before. Around this time, other passengers were washed overboard and drowned. One of the stewards was the last to be rescued (at 7.30pm); the funnel `fell at dusk', the paddle-wheel being all that remained by 8pm. The shore was bestrewn with `goods' [presumably cargo], `pieces of wreck' and passenger's luggage; a military guard was provided. The vessel was insured for half her value, while her cargo was valued at £20,000. A total of sixteen lives was reported lost, eleven from the steamship and five from the coble.   The vessel was built by Robert Napier at Glasgow in 1847, and was `one of the most beautiful models that entered the Thames'; her staterooms and chief cabins were `fitted in the most elegant manner'. She had berths for 60 first-class and 28 second-class cabin passengers. At the time of loss, there were 52 people on board:

Crew (officers): 3
Crew (petty officers): 2
Crew (seamen): 8
Crew (engineers and firemen): 11
Crew (stewards and stewardesses): 4
Passengers (cabin): 4
Passengers (steerage): 20
The ship was of 804 tons register and 350 horsepower. The following dimensions are cited:
Length (overall): 198 ft (60.4m) Beam: 26ft (7.9m) Depth of hold: 17ft 6ins (5.3m)
Sources: Illustrated London News, no. 616 (9 April 1853),
266 and no. 617 (16 April 1853), 285.
(Classified as paddle steamship, with general cargo: date of loss cited as 1 April 1853).
Duke of Sutherland: this vessel was wrecked at the North Pier, Aberdeen. Capt. Howling. Possibly all gone.

Registration: Aberdeen. Built 1847. 514 tons burthen. Length: 42m. Beam: 8m.
I G Whittaker 1998.

A location may be suggested for this loss as the Bay north of North Pier. The flotsam and jetsam remains of the vessel must have formed a significant obstruction to the Harbour entrance, and were presumably removed without delay.  The comprehensive accounts in Illustrated London News give an insight into the process of destruction, the lighter ends of the vessel breaking away from the heavier midships portion (which contained the engine) and the mast and funnel falling later.  Colour sonar imagery shows what is apparently one of the ship's paddlewheels lying on the seabed. It measures about 2.4m in diameter. 

On the night of 30 March 1853, the paddle steamer the Duke of Sutherland was driven off course after being struck on the starboard quarter by a very heavy sea. In spite of 5 men struggling with the helm and the engines being put astern, she was swept by a 2nd sea which drove her on to the seaward end of the North Pier and extinguished the furnace fires.   The Duke of Sutherland was holed in the vicinity of the Boiler Room which flooded rapidly. The steamer was then flung broadside on to the end of the pier before settling on the rocks and starting to break up, the fore-mast going over the side. Captain Howling, coolly directing operations from the bridge, had one of the lifeboats launched just as the bow section broke off. One of the female passengers was seriously injured when she jumped into the lifeboat; another fainted and was swept away, her body being washed up on the beach later.

The Harbour Lifeboat had to make for the beach carrying only 15 survivors, leaving 30 people on the rapidly disintegrating wreck. Captain Morrison commanded volunteers to help him retrieve lifelines from his Roundhouse; he knew that they could be fired to the stranded vessel using Dennett’s Rockets; but the damp fuses refused to light. It took 20 attempts before even 1 rocket fired and several more before a lifeline fell across the wreck.  At this point Captain Howling, having just been knocked down by a wildly swinging quarter boat entangled in the stern netting, tried to free it, but fell into the sea and drowned in full view of his brother who was on the pier.  Simultaneously, a salmon coble manned by some seaman and the Steamer’s 2nd mate, Peter Lighterwood, put off from the beach and pick up several people who had been washed off the poop. On the way back to the beach the coble fouled some standing salmon box nets and capsized; only 1 of the crew of 6 men survived.

It was then that the hero of the disaster emerged. The Chief Steward, Duncan Christie, took charge of directing rescue operations on the stranded paddle-steamer and with a mixture of ‘extraordinary effort, encouragement and the occasional threat’ succeeded in safely sending ashore the 20 or so people still aboard the ship.  Finally, having ensured that all of the survivors had reached the pier safely, Christie left the wreck with a knife clenched between his teeth in case the rope pulling him ashore became entangled. In fact, this is exactly what did happen and he had to cut himself free just as he reached the pier

Because of the heavy loss of life Aberdeen Harbour Commissioners appointed a full-time crew for the lifeboat and ordered an enquiry. The lifeboat had arrived alongside the casualty only half an hour after she had struck, but had been so badly damaged by floating debris that she was unable to return to the stranded steamer. The delay in the use of the Dennett Rockets was found to be due to a combination of inexperience, heavy spray soaking the rocket fuses and misguided interference from the huge crowd of onlookers.  Captain Morrison was in his 60th year when morning dawned on the wreck of the Duke of Sutherland. He was never to recover, and developed a chronic chest condition from the drenching he had received.

Three months after the Duke of Sutherland was shipwrecked, Captain Morrison was served with 21 new regulations made after an emergency meeting of the Harbour Board. They leave no doubt that this was a reprimand, but more than that, a confirmation that safety of the harbour was the over-riding duty of the Captain Pilot. Reading the list I was left to feel sorrowfully sick for my distant grandfather: simply he had failed as Fittie’s Gatekeeper.  Surely the Captain was hardy, yet he was also thrawn for he did not, and would not, retire. He worked on till his very last breath. Captain Morrison died at the Roundhouse in July 1856. His funeral was held at St Clements and in a mark of respect the ‘vessels in the harbour universally hoisted a flag half-mast high, as evincing respect’.


Steamer - Prince Consort

Mar 1863 - They were shipped by the steamer "Prince Consort" in the month of March 1863. The steamers from Leith to Thurso usually call at Aberdeen and Wick on their way northward. On entering the harbour of Aberdeen, the "Prince Consort" struck the platform, and ran aground.

In 1863, Robert Dick, a baker of Thurso, was on the brink of ruin because of recession and competition from other bakeries in the town. To add to his difficulties he had ordered 23 bags of flour from his merchants in Leith which were shipped in the steamer "Prince Consort" in March 1863.

On entering the Harbour in Aberdeen the vessel struck the Pier; it was said that the helmsman was drunk. The ship eventually broke in half and Dick’s flour, as yet unpaid for, was soaked by sea water. He owed his merchant £45.13.6d and was unable to pay the bill; he could not use the spoiled flour nor could he afford to replace it.

The ship was wrecked on Aberdeen's North Pier on 11th March 1863 which resulted in the vessel breaking in two.

The 'Prince Consort' was an Iron Paddle Steamer of 392 tonnes burden.  First built in Glasgow the wreck was salvaged and rebuilt in Aberdeen but was destined for further mishap 4 years later.

In May 1867 it collided with the Alten Rock within 3 miles short of Aberdeen in dense fog off the coast of Kincardine near Burnbank fishing village in Nigg Parish and sank with no loss of life as the local fishermen rescued the passengers, crew and Captain.

BURNBANKS, a village, in the parish of Nigg, county of Kincardine; containing 60 inhabitants.
This is a small village, lying contiguous to two others,  on the eastern coast. It is occupied by fishermen, who
have 2 boats engaged in the white-fishery, and 3 boats which proceed yearly to the herring-fishery on the
north coast.

 


11 February 1865, DAVID, 25 yrs old, schooner, 50 tons, 3 crew, departed Newcastle for Fraserburgh carrying guano, stranded, total loss, 1 life lost, wind S10, 3/4 mile N. of Aberdeen Pier.
The DAVID (schr.), of Sunderland, from Stockton to this port,  with patent manure, which was driven ashore near this port this morning, has become a total wreck: crew (except a boy) saved by the lifeboat.
(Classified as schooner, with cargo of patent manure). David: [this vessel was] wrecked at the back of the pier, Aberdeen. Capt. Jones. Registration: Sunderland. 50 tons register.

The location assigned to this record is essentially tentative, being derived from the location that is cited in the primary account of the loss. This vessel evidently stranded within the extensive area of Aberdeen Beach, to the N of the North Pier at the entrance to Aberdeen Harbour.
 The present entrance may be considered but this location reflects development towards the East through the construction of successive piers and breakwaters.


8 November 1876, DUNCHATTEN, 37 yrs old, of Glasgow, Wooden Schooner, 76 tons, 4 crew, Master and Owner J. Johnston, Stirling, departed Sunderland for Inverness, carrying coals, wind East 6, stranded, behind the North Pier, Aberdeen. 
Dunchattan
: this vessel stranded behind the North Pier, Aberdeen. Capt. Johnston.

Registration: Glasgow. Built 1839. 81grt. Length: 19m. Beam: 5m.
The form of the name of this vessel that is cited by Whittaker differs from that cited in the primary account of her loss.


30 September 1878, CHARLES GREEN, 21 yrs old, of Falmouth, Wooden Schooner, 63 tons, 4 crew, Master and Owner J. Green, St Mawes, Cornwall, departed Antwerp for Newburgh, Aberdeenshire, carrying manure, wind ESE6, stranded, total loss, North Pier, Aberdeen.
Source: PP Abstracts Returns of Wrecks and Casualties on Coasts of the UK 1878 - 79

Aberdeen, 1st Oct., the CHARLES GREEN (schr.), of Falmouth, Green, from Antwerp to Newburgh, with manure, carried away her top gallant mast off Girdleness, yesterday, and made for the River Dee, but struck on the rocks, North Pier, and became a wreck: crew saved.
Source: Shipping Intelligence, LL, No. 20,105, London, Thursday October 3 1878.

Aberdeen, 3rd Oct., 2.20 p.m., the CHARLES. GREEN, stranded at the entrance of the harbour at half tide, has become a complete wreck: cargo entirely lost: ship's [Record received incomplete].  (Classified as wooden schooner, with cargo of manure and salt: date of loss cited as 30 September 1878). This vessel was wrecked on the harbour side of the North Pier at Aberdeen. Capt. J. Green.  I G Whittaker 1998.

The location assigned to this record is essentially tentative. Aberdeen Harbour is centred at the North Pier.  This location reflects development towards the East through the construction of successive piers and breakwaters. Aberdeen Bay is not noted as such on the 1999 edition of the OS map. The name presumably applies to the ill-defined and sand-fringed indentation that forms a shallow arc extending North from the mouth of the River Dee.

Wreck Record of the Charles Green?
A Slide shows, what looks like a schooner.  It is long and narrow and shallow draft. The ship is astern to the beach so no vessel name is visible. It has two masts, the taller one denuded of it's sails and yards (top gallant). There appears to be some damage to the remaining rigging too and quite a bit of debris on the deck.  She wallows in the shallows and listing to port. A large crowd have gathered to sightsee.
 I wonder if you have any further details about the wreck?  The slide quality is very good.  It does not belong to me but I am happy to ask the owner if I can send you a copy if you think it is the same ship and would like a copy for your site - Colin.

On the 18th August 1842, at St. Mawes, Lavinia, daughter of Capt. Charles GREEN, of the schooner "Swan," died aged three years.


Eence a ship sailed round the coast
And a’ the men in her was lost
Burrin’ a monkey up a post
So the Boddamers hanged the monkey-O
Noo the funeral was a grand affair
All the Boddam folk was there
It minded you o’ the Glesga Fair
Fin the Boddamers hanged the monkey-O
Noo a’ the folk frae Peterhead
Cam oot expectin’ tae get a feed
So they made it into potted heid
Fin the Boddamers hanged the monkey-O

It is also believed that this wreck legend runs parallel with the more wildly known tale of Hartlepool fishermen executing a monkey from a French Napoleonic warship as they thought he was a French spy since it wore a military uniform - well he certainly did not speak Geordie English!

The coal laden Schooner, 'The Queen' driven ashore on Aberdeen Beach in March 1883, during a terrible gale. It was unable to make the crossing of the bar at the entrance to the harbour and a number of the crew, frozen and stiff with cold, were blown off the rigging and drowned in the night.


SS James Hall

On Tuesday 23rd February 1904, the steamer ‘James Hall’ belonging to the Aberdeen Leith and Moray Firth Steam Shipping Company Ltd collided with the Aberdeen Newcastle and Hull Steam Company vessel, ‘Luddick’ in Aberdeen Bay.

The crew of the ‘James Hall’ were rescued by the damaged ‘Luddick’ which managed to successfully steam into the harbour, while the ‘James Hall’ was left to drift ashore on the beach.

Despite having a hole, approximately 17 feet in diameter, repair was thought possible.  For the next few days, the local press reported that crowds of people had been to see the wreck, and that two trams with posters saying ‘To and from the Stranded Steamer’ were put on the Beach Route.

Unfortunately however, owing to strong winds and heavy seas, salvage attempts were not possible, and the vessel began to break up and its cargo was washed ashore. By the 8th March, very little remained of the wreck.

The rescue on 17 January 1825 of four of the crew of the ship Devoran that had been wrecked at the Bridge of Don, North of Aberdeen. Lieut Randall set up Captain Manby's rocket apparatus down on the beach and, after great difficulty, succeeded in throwing a line on board the wreck enabling a boat, manned by coastguards to bring off 4 survivors (he later received a bar to the Gold Medal in 1834 for services to Wanderer of Anstruther).

Medals awarded to Lieut John Sanderson RN and Lieut Thomas Langton RN for the rescue of 14 people from the smack Fame that was driven ashore in Aberdeen Bay on 21 January 1830.

Silver Medal awarded to James Robinson for the rescue of 11 people from the brig Newcastle which lost it’s mast in a storm and sank at anchor in Aberdeen Bay on 24 February 1844.

SS Idaho, Hull 1905 4,887 g.t., Built 1903 by Earles Shipbuilding & Engineering Co, Hull for Thos Wilson, Sons & Co, Hull, 7th Jan.1929 stranded off Aberdeen while on passage Hull to New York.  Refloated but constructive total loss and finally scrapped 1930 at Port Glasgow.


S.S.Argosy - The Argosy, a small steamer, only 406 tons, was involved in an accident on 17 January 1912. She was on her way from London, when her Master, Captain Peterson, attempted to enter Aberdeen Harbour during a storm. Her steering gear failed just as she neared the harbour entrance and the crew were helpless as she came ashore on the beach. 500 people hauled the Aberdeen Lifeboat to the beach. This was a pulling or rowing baat named Bon Accord and she was successfully launched and the Argosy's crew was taken to safety. Unlike the S.S. Koch, the Argosy was on sand and it was possible to salvage her in due course.

S.S. G Koch - this may appear to be the wreck of a sailing ship but she was actually a Danish Steamer, which went aground at Girdleness on 12 Ianuary 1913. The ship had been running out of coal and the crew had started to burn the cargo of pit props when she came ashore.  Coastguards from Torry and Cove managed to fire lifelines to her to secure a breeches buoy and saved same of the crew. Seven men lost their lives.
 


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Last modified: 01/09/2013