The following article was printed in the Scarborough Mercury on the 15th November 1901 and was entitled "The terrific tempest - in Scarborough Bay - exciting scenes and gallant lifeboat rescues. Terrible tales from the coast".
The fierce gale felt over other parts of the coast on Tuesday, passed over Scarborough and district on Tuesday night and throughout Wednesday. The result has been disastrous chiefly to shipping; but the land has not escaped, reports of the uprooting of trees and tearing off of great branches, along with minor damage to property, being heard. The Marine Drive, however, appears to have suffered most, scores of huge blocks of timber having been swept away, and thrown up on the south shore, where many yards of iron palisading to the Foreshore Road has been smashed down.
Chief excitement in Scarborough centred in the terrible predicament of a schooner. This afterwards proved to be the "Boxer", London to Hartlepool, in ballast. She was first seen at Burniston at about seven o'clock, and it was very evident she was almost beyond control, drifting south before the gale. The crew had the utmost difficulty in keeping her off the North side, where had she been driven in then it was felt she must have foundered.
The schooner, happily, was kept off, and she rode round the Castle Hill dipping and tossing in most alarming fashion - well nigh lost to view, at others pitched up as though the merest plaything. There were those who entertained great doubts whether she could possibly get safely round. A crowd of excited people watched the rolling of the "Boxer" as she came in view round the Castle Hill, and strained eyes watched her every movement, whilst everyone's sympathy and pity went out to the poor crew then drifting between life and death.
Happily, she had a cool and courageous captain, who performed wonders with his storm tossed craft. Gradually, with her canvas BLOWN TO SHREDS she neared the pier, and it then became a question whether she would be driven across the rocks beyond the Spa, or find a sandy bottom opposite the Foreshore Road. Her movements at this critical juncture were watched with greatest excitement; but she would, gradually getting more under control as she felt the shelter of the pier, headed in to the north of the Spa, passing over a bed of rock without striking, and finally stranding on the sands opposite the Grand Hotel.
Meanwhile the lifeboat, which had been out since before seven, owing to the report of the foundering of a ketch, now struck out from under the shelter of the Lighthouse Pier, where she was riding, and made for the stranded schooner. Coxswain Owston, with rare judgement, directed the boat alongside the shore, and passing under the bow of the "Boxer", got to the sheltered side of the schooner. Now the major portion of the crew, who had been up in the rigging for very life, were seen to scramble down the rope ladders, and in a very few minutes all the eight members of the crew, including the captain, were in the lifeboat.
The schooner had gone ashore at ten o'clock, when the tide was nearly out, and there was a very short distance for the lifeboat to traverse. Nearing the shore a rope was thrown out, and scores of men, up to their knees and deeper in water, seized hold of the rope, and AMID RINGING CHEERS the lifeboat was hauled out of the water. The rescued sailors were also cheered as they were being led away for much needed food and shelter.
They presented a sorrowful spectacle, dripping with wet, shivering from exposure, and half dead with fright and exhaustion, as they dragged themselves across the sands to the shelter awaiting them. It should be mentioned that prior to the lifeboat taking off the crew Coastguard, under Chief Officer Winter, brought the rocket apparatus into operation, but did not effect communication. It was then seen to be needless to throw another, as the lifeboat could now manifestly cope with the situation.
At the Coastguard station, to which the captain (William George Joiner), and three of the crew were first taken, Captain Joiner said that they had had a dreadful night in the schooner. They met the gale on Tuesday, but continued their voyage towards hartlepool, and passed Scarborough going north on that day.
About four o'clock on Wednesday morning, however, the storm was terrific. "Then," said captain Joiner, "We turned around and came south again," adding with a grim smile, "because we had to." They were thus driven before the wind until daylight, when they found themselves off Scarborough. The rest we have related above. There were eight of them on the schooner, said captain Joiner, seven Englishmen and one Russian. He could not tell their names; but the Englishmen belonged to Whitstable; the same place as the schooner.
The damage done to the craft, he added, consisted of the breakage of the wheels, stays, jibs, etc.; whilst the man canvas had all been blown to ribbons. All agree that captain Joiner, who is a slightly built man, handled the schooner splendidly under the circumstances, and probably the fact that he saved the crew, and the vessel is due in some measure to the fact that he possesses an intimate knowledge of the coast. It is thought that the schooner will become a wreck. She belongs to the Whitstable shipping company, and is a brigantine of 172 tons register.
The terrific gale , which prevailed at Scarborough on Wednesday, continued until a late hour, when the wind abated to a considerable extent, as did also the tempestuous sea. The latter, was however, was still very rough on Thursday morning, and at high tide huge breakers swept over the East Pier, and on to the Shore. The few remaining pieces of large timber, comprising part of the Marine Drive gantry, which were left standing on Wednesday , were washed away during the night, and one or two more blocks have been removed, but no further damage is reported.
THE SHIP, BOXER had filled with water, and had remained practically stationary. During the middle of the night the vessel cracked down the middle of the starboard side. This being the case, it was decided to break the vessel up. Gangs of men were busy on Thursday, getting the stores and other things out of the vessel with this purpose in view. The Coastguards had been on duty near the ship all the night, one of their number never leaving it at low tide.
The Boxer, was commanded by William Geo. Joiner, of Whitstable, and the other seven members of her crew were George Friend, mate, Whitstable; T. Bedwell, A.B., Whitstable; H. Stoker, A.B., Faversahm; A Pouncett, ordinary seaman, Gravesend; W Sidders, ordinary seaman, Whitstable; H. Mason, boy, West Hartlepool; and a Russian A.B. named Letze.
One of the crew, Thomas Bedwell, who is 64 years of age, has been wrecked three times, the first off Russia, the second on the Norfolk Coast, and the third off Scarborough. The men were at Mrs Whitakers eating house in Eastborough, under the care of Mr W.H. Ellis, agent at Scarborough for the Shipwrecked Mariners' Society, but they all, with the exception of the captain, left on Thursday night for their respective homes.
The lifeboatmen were on the watch the whole of Wednesday night, and the boat was hauled up at the slipway near St Vincent's Pier. At midnight Mr Jas. Ellis, Sandside, regaled the men with food and hot coffee. With regard to the ill fated ketch Invicta, which went down just off Scarborough in the early hours of Wednesday morning, it is stated that a mast and sails have been found in the neighbourhood of Cayton Bay. A rudder, such as would be used by a ketch, has been washed up on the South Sands.
The Scarborough steam trawler "Evening Star", which was in the offing on Wednesday afternoon, arrived safely in harbour on Thursday morning, and after landing a fair cargo of fish she left again to render aid, if necessary, to the vessel which has been anchored off Ravenscar since Wednesday morning.
The Industria arrived at Hartlepool on Thursday morning. She stood by a vessel near Robin Hood's Bay, which is supposed to be the one at anchor, namely, the "Aberdenie", of West Hartlepool, for a considerable period early on Wednesday morning, and two other Scarborough trawlers, the "Flying Squall" and the "Flying spray", which arrived on Tuesday night, had the same vessel in tow for about four hours.
The "Morning Star" is at Aberdeen, and the only other Scarborough vessels unaccounted for on Thursday were "Gazehound" and "Seal". The former were fishing out of Scarborough, and the latter out of Aberdeen. The "Gazehound" has been seen at sea, and no fears are entertained for the safety of the "Seal".
A ketch went down about seven o'clock on Wednesday morning, a few hundred yards off the East Pier. She was seen by a number of people in the dim light of dawn, and after watching her progress for a number of minutes she suddenly disappeared, and those that were watching over that she foundered. The lifeboat, which was out before seven o'clock, failed to reach the ketch before she went down, and it supposed that four or five lives have been lost.
During the afternoon, two young men, walking along the shore to the south of the Spa, came upon a quantity of wreckage. Amongst it they discovered, painted on a white background, the words "Invicta, Rochester." Reference to the shipping list, shows that the "Invicta", Rochester, is a ketch of 93 tons, belonging to Geo. D. Kent, Margate. From this it would appear that the "Invicta" is the ill fated ketch that went down. Amongst the wreckage were life-belts, but no body was found.
The Coastguards at Ravenscar Station, telephoned during Wednesday forenoon that the steamer Lanetta, 1,000 tons, from London to Shields, had stranded near Ravenscar. The captain and crew had landed, and were at the Ravenscar Hotel. The Coastguards were at that time watching a steamer anchored about half a mile off Ravenscar, which was showing signs of distress.