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History Shipwrecks

Alcester

REF NR: 242

Bound for Hamburg with a cargo of jute from Calcutta the 1597 ton Alcester on the afternoon of the 27th February in a very dense fog went aground off the Atherfield Ledge.  The nearby lifeboat was launched but Captain Haws refused assistance as he was hoping to re-float her on the next high tide. However, on the next tide failed to re-float the vessel and on the Saturday a tug was called to try and pull her free, with the weather worsening the various attempts failed and eventually the tug gave up and returned to port.

Once again the lifeboat was launched and this time was accepted and 20 men plus an entourage of a dog, cat monkey and the crew’s luggage was off loaded. However, the Captain and first Mate despite warnings from the lifeboat crew, as they were very aware of the forth coming storms power, refused to leave the vessel.

The storm then came in with a fury and at around 9pm the Captain fired off distress signals to ask for help, however the tide was now high, making it impossible to launch the lifeboat. The Captain and Mate were then forced to climb into the higher masts and rigging to seek sanctuary from the sea breaking all around them. The following morning the lifeboat was able to launch and carried both men to safety, the following Sunday saw the Alcester break her back and all was lost to the surrounding seas.

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