1865: Distressing Accident in Weymouth Bay


On Saturday, March 4, five men belonging to her Majesty’s coastguard were suddenly swallowed up in the angry sea. The men, who belonged to the Warbarrow station, about thirteen miles to the westward of St Alban’s Head, were returning in their galley from Weymouth with sundry stores, and which might be considered a fair cargo for such a vessel. The men were perfectly sober, but the wind was blowing fresh from S.S.W., and Admiral Fitzroy’s signal opposite the Weymouth Telegraph Station indicated a probable gale from the southward. When about a mile from Lulworth Station (the one below that to which they were bound) the watchman there observed a sea strike her on the quarter. She shipped apparently a good deal of water, and immediately went down, in nautical phrase “like a stone”!  The Lulworth men immediately took to their cork jackets and their boat, but on arriving at the spot nothing could be seen, save a few light articles, forming a part of the stores, floating about. There was a good bit of sea and wind on at the time, so much so that the Lulworth men could not effect a landing at their own place, and were obliged to disembark at a place called Mupes. The five men drowned were: – Chope, who leaves several children, fortunately grown up, had seen upwards of thrirty years’ service, but withal, like the rest, was a smart seaman. Baker had been in the service upwards of a quarter of a century, and leaves a numerous family young in years. Hickey had been in the employ of the Crown about twenty years, and leaves a small family. Dunn’s term of servitude was about twelve years; and Parnell recently married, and his widow on the eve of her accouchement, had been in the coastguard about six months. Owing to one set of tides it was conjectured that neither they or the boat will be found, but swept seawards, though every exertion is now making to recover them.

Published by Jacksons Oxford Journal, Saturday 18 March 1865