1865: West Lulworth – The Melancholy Casualty at Sea

On Saturday afternoon just before 2 pm, a south south west wind blowing and a heavy sea running the Warborough galley was seen by the watchman at Lulworth returning from Weymouth where she had gone previous evening for Government Stores. She past the cove in safety but about a quarter of a mile further on was struck by a heavy sea on her quarter and instantly disappeared. The Lulworth galley was at once launched and with 5 minutes of the boats disappearance was pulling for the spot, fully manned and with mens lifebelts on board.  There efforts were, however, useless for no trace of any of the crew (which consisted of Mr Chope, Chief Officer in Charge, Mr Baker, Chief Boatman, and Dunn Hickey and Purnell, boatmen) could be discovered. It is thought that they must have all gone down together, as the oars and material floating on the surface would have been sufficient to support 3 of 4 men at least. Great praise is due to the Lulworth coast guard who launched and made their boat with wonderful rapidity and though a dangerous sea was running outside vied with each other in their eagerness to go to the rescue of their comrades; also to Thomas Williams and Joseph Miller, Lulworth fishermen, who put off in the formers sailing boat in the hope of being able to give assistance. In reference to the crew of the ill fated boat the writer of the above adds: – a finer set of men would have been difficult to meet; Mr Chope and Mr Bale being especially skilful in the mangement of a boat. She was, however, heavily laden with government stores, which partly, no doubt, caused the accident; and it was noble desire to get these goods home so that they might begin at once to get their stations into order, which was eventually the cause of their sad death. The promptitude of the Lulworth men, both of the coastguard and the two fishermen, in going to the rescue, was beyond all praise and excited the admiration of all who witnessed it. The Rev. W. Gildear [Gildea] was on the beach 2 or 3 minutes after the boat went down; and when no hope remained, went to break the sad intelligence to the poor widows and children. The boat was washed up last Monday on Duddlestone Ledge, but none of the bodies have yet been found.

Published by the Dorset County Chronicle, Thursday 9 March 1865

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