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 Pilot, know thy coast 
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Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2004 12:41 am
Posts: 259
Location: Albany, Ore.
Post Pilot, know thy coast
On Nov. 16, 1803, seven pilots from St Agnes died near Land's End after guiding a Guernsey cutter privateer and a rudderless Dutch East India ship into St. Ives during a gale.
The piloting error occured when the pilots attempted to return home in the progressively worsening weather and were seen to perish with no chance to assist them as they did not know that area of coast.

Seems a very hard way to earn a living, being a pilot. It's Marshalsea prison if you survive shipwreck or death by drowning trying to get home...

Wed Nov 16, 2005 10:10 pm
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Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2002 9:02 am
Posts: 2747
Location: Cambridgeshire, England
I mentioned in the Odd place names thread that I had been out to Happisburgh and spoke to a lady, one of the residents, about the sandbanks off the coast.

I was asking her about lost vessels on those sandbanks, and particularly Happisburgh Sands, or as they were known/spelt a couple of hundred years ago, Haisbro Sands. Really, I had the Gloucester in mind, a painting of which Susie posted.

However, she mentioned a mass grave in the village churchyard, which made me prick my ears up. The Illustrious she said which isn't quite true, but I can understand why she said it, as the vessel involved was the Invincible. (The lady can be forgiven for muddling the ship's name up because currently two of the RN's aircraft carriers are Invincible and Illustrious ;) ).

I found the mound in the graveyard and the plaque, a photograph of which I will post to Susie's gallery when it is up and running.

The Invincible had sailed from Yarmouth on her way to join Sir Hyde Parker for what would be Battle of Copenhagen in 1801 and went down on Happisburgh Sands. It is sad tale, 400 lives lost, and especially for her captain, John Rennie who was about to reach the safety of a rescue vessel when he was overcome by exhaustion. Anyhow read for yourself of the events in this link. The plaque incidentally is still adorned with the wreath of poppies laid in remembrance; from last year's Armistice Day, presumably. I recall when I found Captain Edward Thornborough Parker's grave last year at Deal, that also still had its wreath of poppies there. I think it is very touching that years later these erstwhile sailors are still remembered, especially in some very small village, and in the case of Happisburgh, a rapidly diminishing village, bearing in mind the erosion.

Anyhow, I wanted to share this with you. I was really thrilled to come by this information and to pay my respects to yet more lost sailors.

- Mil -
aka Mary ....

Sat Aug 26, 2006 2:27 pm
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