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Wreck Report for 'Lord Beaconsfield', 1885

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Unique ID:14995
Description:Board of Trade Wreck Report for 'Lord Beaconsfield', 1885
Creator:Board of Trade
Copyright:Out of copyright
Partner:SCC Libraries
Partner ID:Unknown


(No. 2781.)


The Merchant Shipping Acts, 1854 to 1876.

IN the matter of a formal Investigation held at the Town Hall, Hull, on the 2nd day of January 1886, before E. C. TWISS, Esquire, Stipendiary Magistrate, assisted by Captain FRENCH and Captain DAVIES, into the circumstances attending the stranding of the British sailing ship "LORD BEACONSFIELD," of Grimsby, off Theddlethorpe, Lincolnshire, on the 10th of December last.

Report of Court.

The Court, having carefully inquired into the circumstances attending the above-mentioned shipping casualty, finds, for the reasons stated in the annex hereto, that the said stranding was owing to her master having stood in too long amongst dangerous shoals towards the land, and to his not having used the lead with sufficient frequency, and the Court finds the master in default.

The Court does not make any order as to costs.

Dated this 4th day of January 1886.



E. C. TWISS, Judge.

We concur in the above report.









Annex to the Report.

The "Lord Beaconsfield," official number 79,100, is a dandy-rigged fishing vessel, built of wood at Grimsby in 1878, and is owned by the Great Grimsby Ice Company, Limited, and is managed by Mr. John Oliver Hawke, of New Clee, Grimsby. Her length is 74 6/10 feet, breadth 20 7/10 feet, and depth of hold 10 8/10 feet, and her tonnage 80 tons net register. She is registered at the Port of Grimsby.

The "Lord Beaconsfield" left the St. Andrew's Dock, Hull, on the 6th of November last, bound for a fishing cruise in the North Sea with the Great Grimsby Ice Company's fleet. She had a crew of five hands all told, and was under the command of William Carlisle, who produced to the Court a certificate as master of a foreign going vessel engaged in fishing only, which had been granted by the Board of Trade in 1880 for 12 months, and which should have been renewed in October 1881, but it had never been renewed at all. As a matter of fact the master held no proper certificate whatever. He informed the Court that he had never read the certificate which he held, and that he was of opinion that it was a valid certificate, and that he required no other. The fleet which was then fishing on the S.E. part of the Dogger Bank was reached on the 8th of November, and the "Lord Beaconsfield" continued to fish with it up to about the 8th of December last. On the 9th of December, having lost her fishing gear, the vessel set sail for Hull at 10 a.m. The point of departure, according to the statement of the master, was at the tail end of the Dogger, 180 miles E. by N. of Spurn Light-vessel.

There was a strong wind from N.N.E., the sea very rough, and the weather showery. The vessel was under two reefed main and mizen, third jib, and foresail, but no topsail. A W. by S. course was set, and kept until 7 a.m. the following morning, when the wind having lulled, the reefs were taken out and all sail set. Soundings were taken in 23 fathoms, showing a sandy bottom, and the course was altered to W. 1/2 S. which was kept until one o'clock in the afternoon, when the S.E. buoy of the Outer Dowsing Light-vessel was sighted. The master then set a course N.W. 1/2 N. for the Humber, and kept on that course until 6.30 p.m., the wind being N. by E. and moderate. At the last-named hour the wind went right ahead, and the vessel then lay as close as she could, that is to say, about W. She stood on until 7 p.m., when she tacked on to the port tack heading N.E. until 8 p.m. They then tacked again heading W. and W. 1/2 N. until 9 p.m. The master hereupon took a cast of the lead, but got no bottom. The weather at this time was very hazy with frequent snow showers clearing only at intervals. After some ten minutes, another cast of the lead was taken in five fathoms with a sandy bottom. Upon this, the master gave orders to go about. According to his instructions, the deckhand went forward to trim the jib, and he himself went to the tiller, when the vessel took the ground heavily and remained fast. Prior to the stranding, no breakers had been seen or heard, nor after it could the land be made out. Through the force of the striking the mainsail fell, and with regard to the other sails only the foresail could be hauled down as the sea was washing aboard. A flare was shown and answered from the land, and at about 11.30 p.m., the vessel being then high and dry, the coastguard walked to her, and it was discovered that the vessel had stranded right opposite the coastguard station at Theddlethorpe. About 2 a.m. the following morning, the crew walked ashore, but returned at 10 a.m. and cleared things up, and stowed the sails, and ultimately, the vessel was towed off by a tug and taken into Grimsby on the 17th of December, where it was found she had lost about 20 feet of her keel. On the passage to Grimsby, 10 or 12 men were on board the smack for the purpose of endeavouring to keep the water under by the pumps, but they were unable to do so.

These were the facts and circumstances of the case.

During the evidence it was elicited that there were two compasses on board, one in the binnacle, and one in the master's bunk, and that there was no deep sea lead on board. The master informed the Court that when he proceeded on the cruise he was informed that the vessel was well found in every respect, and that he did not deem it necessary to ascertain for himself whether the compasses were in good order, or whether there was a deep sea lead. He stated that the only lead was about a 6 or 7 pound one, and that he could not take soundings with it satisfactorily. He further informed us that when at sea, one of the hands pointed out to him that the magnet which had been fixed upon the deck to counteract the influence of the iron on the ship had been torn away, but he could not say whether it was there when he proceeded to sea or not. Then as to the compasses these he said were both incorrect, and that the coastguard informed him so immediately on their coming on board after the stranding; and he attributed the casualty to this fact, and to their having been no deep sea lead on board.

At the conclusion of the evidence Mr. Saxelbye submitted the following questions for the opinion of the Court:-

1. What was the cause of the stranding of the vessel?

2. Whether there was a deep sea lead on board, and if not, whether the master was justified in proceeding to sea without one?

3. Whether safe and proper courses were set and steered after leaving the Dogger Bank, and whether proper alterations were made in such courses from time to time, and whether due and proper allowance was made for tide, currents, and leeway?

4. Whether a proper look-out was kept?

5. Whether the hand lead was used with sufficient frequency?

6. Whether the compasses were correct and in good order and had been recently adjusted?

7. Whether the master had ever taken any, and sufficient, measures to verify their accuracy?

8. Whether the vessel was navigated with proper and seamanlike care? and

9. Whether the master is in default?

The master having briefly addressed the Court the following replies were given to the questions which had been handed in by Mr. Saxelbye:-

1. The stranding of the vessel was owing to her master having stood in too long amongst dangerous shoals towards the land and to his not having used the lead with sufficient frequency.

2. According to the evidence there was no deep sea lead on board and the master stated that when he joined the vessel he was informed that she was well found in every respect, and that he did not therefore take any steps to ascertain whether there was one or not, but the Court cannot say that he was justified in so acting.

3. After leaving the Dogger Bank, safe and proper courses for the Humber were at first set, but on the night of the 10th, after the vessel had got to the westward of the Outer Dowsing Light-vessel and the wind had headed her, proper alterations in the courses from time to time were not made. The master stated that he allowed two points for leeway, and in the opinion of the Court that would be ample.

4. A proper look-out was kept.

5. The hand lead was not used with sufficient frequency.

6. According to the evidence of the master and the crew the compasses were not correct, but were "out 2 1/4 points southerly." There was no evidence to show when they had last been adjusted.

7. The master had never taken any measures at all to verify their accuracy.

8. The vessel was not navigated with proper and seamanlike care.

9. The Court is of opinion that the master is in default.



E. C. TWISS, Judge.

We concur.







L 367. 2559. 180.-1/86. Wt. 408. E. & S.


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