sv Countess WN115

Additional information courtesy of Christine Simm

Official Number: Part IV registered
Owner: R. Leech & Co, Whitehaven Rig: Smack, trawling.


1887: Owned by R. Leech & Co, Whitehaven. Registered at Whitehaven (WN115).
10.2.1888: Reported sold to Robert Westby, Fleetwood.
By 6.1888: Sold to Mr. Cookson, Manchester. Fishing out of Fleetwood . George Fog skipper. 11.7.1888: In the morning trawling on the grounds near Morecambe Bay Lightship (Sk G. Fogg); five crew all told. One man and a boy on deck the rest below. At about 5.45am, the boy on deck observed smoke coming from the hold and raised the alarm. Attempts were at once made to enter the hold but owing to the volume of smoke which rushed through the hatch boards as the covers were removed, it was not possible. Efforts were made in the cabin to extinguish the fire but in less than ten minutes from the discovery of the fire it became obvious that the crew could do little more and the skipper ordered the punt to be put in the water. Despite the heavy sea running, the crew abandoned the smack. Standing off they could see that the smack was well ablaze and at about 7.30am. the mainmast fell overboard. The smack MARY ASHCROFT (FD24) (Sk. Mills) was in the vicinity and picked up the crew, taking the punt and the mainmast in tow they set a course for Fleetwood, arriving on the evening tide. The COUNTESS, completely burnt out sank in the late forenoon. The origin of the fire was not known, but it was supposed that the fire could have started because the bogey stove in the cabin was too close to the bulkhead. Position of wreck – Morecambe Bay Lightship, six miles NNW; Walney Light, 12 miles WNW; Foot of Wyre Lighthouse, 20 miles NW; 151/2 fathoms of water, soft bottom. Whitehaven registry closed.

26/01/2023: Page published.