Maritime History of the Great Lakes
"Going to Get Crew to Jump": Schooner days MCCXCVI (1296)
Toronto Telegram (Toronto, ON), 17 Nov 1956
Full Text
"Going to Get Crew to Jump"
Schooner days MCCXCVI(1296)

by C. H. J. Snider

OLD SAILORS never die. They yarn away. A while ago Schooner Days proclaimed in print "Rest of the race," meaning that the "last work about the great training ship race under 11 national flags, from Devonshire to Portugal last July. The brilliant winner Moyanna, 105 tons, ketch-rigged and English as Whites of Southampton and a crew of 22 born in Britain could make her, perished in the end-of-the-month hurricane on her return voyage, almost in sight of the Eddystone Light.

All that was gone into pretty thoroughly at one time or another, but a couple of items that should have been mentioned were left out.

One was about the steamer Teeswood, which capsized in this hurricane which scourged the English Channel. The fact of the shipwreck was noted, to show how hard it was blowing and how frightfully high the sea was running when the Moyana was lost. But English papers spoke of the steamer as a "Middlesbrough coaster," That was true as far as it went, but it didn't go as far as the Treeswood had gone, by a long chalk.

This Teeswood was a short chunky steamer of 623 tons net and 1,246 gross, which should have been well known on the Great Lakes, for she had traded her to Toronto and other lake ports for two years. She was a Toronto caller up to the end of 1955. She was not unlike our package-freighters which make the Montreal run, being 226 ft. length, 35.5 ft. beam, 13.4 depth, an easy fit for even the constricted St. Lawrence canals. She was a "Middlesbrough coaster" all right, for Middlesbrough in England was where she was built in 1953. She made coasting voyages in the British Isles and Europe, when not jostling similar chunky Dutch, German, Swedish, Norwegian and Danish aspirants for the April to November trade on the lakes.

That hurricane Sunday July 29, at noon in the Straits of Dover came this signal from the Tesswood.

"In difficulties four miles east of Dungeness- heavy list—will try to get crew away in boats"

Other ships in these narrows of the English Channel altered course to help. though every one had troubles of their own.

The first to get near was the big Haifa, an Israeli tanker of 13,000 tons, ten times the Teeswood's size. Before she could get alongside-a perilous manoeuvre in such conditions- the Tesswood's skipper radioed:

"Going to get crew to jump and try to save myself. Cannot get our boats away."

Sixteen life-belted figures jumped clear of the reeling freighter just as she turned her bottom to the sky and vanished. The other vessels closed in and soon had picked up sixteen men floated by their lifebelts and clinging to life rafts or whatever floated.

One was the master.

Fifteen were living.

One was dead in his lifebelt, killed perhaps by his jump.

Unless properly fastened the best lifebelt can break your neck as it rides up against the chin in the plunge. It is best to jump overboard bunched in a ball, taking the shock on the feet, knees and elbows. A leap into the sea from a steamer's bridge can give as hard a jolt as jumping to the lawn from a second story window.

But every man was picked up.

Good for the 13,000 ton Israelite!

Snider, C. H. J.
Media Type
Item Type
Date of Publication
17 Nov 1956
Language of Item
Geographic Coverage
  • England, United Kingdom
    Latitude: 50.91185 Longitude: 0.97587
Richard Palmer
Creative Commons licence
by [more details]
Copyright Statement
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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"Going to Get Crew to Jump": Schooner days MCCXCVI (1296)