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The Fylde coast - A graveyard for ships

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NOTORIOUS for its westerly gales, the northern part of the Fylde coast has seen a variety of ships cast ashore over the years. Rarely has a decade gone by without the sight of some storm-tossed bundle at high water mark, or a find, half-buried in the sand.
One of the most dramatic incidents in recent memory was back in August 1981, when strong winds and mountainous seas left the £5m Anchorsholme sewage pipe project in ruins.

The giant Holland XXIV dredging platform and two supply platforms were beached and wreckage was scattered for half a mile along the Cleveleys shore.

The seven-man crew had moved the 150-ton dredger half a mile north in a bid to stop the other non-powered rigs from going ashore.

Engineers and council officials counted the cost of the destruction and the launching of the giant pipeline, replacing a 40-year-old outfall, and designed to stop raw sewage being washed up on Fylde beaches, was postponed until the end of the month.

Going back almost a century earlier, the Norwegian ship The Abana got into trouble in a storm on her way from Liverpool to Florida.

The three-masted ship mistook the recently-built Blackpool Tower for a lighthouse when she was sailing in the Irish Sea in a storm on December 22, 1894.

The Abana was spotted floundering off North Pier, her sails torn to shreds. Blackpool lifeboat crew was alerted but a rescue attempt was delayed for a few hours as the lifeboat, the Samuel Fletcher, had to be towed from Blackpool to Bispham by horse.

By the time it was launched at Little Bispham, the Abana had already been wrecked off Shell Wharf.

The lifeboat crew rowed through the surf to the stricken vessel and rescued the men, only to become stuck on a sandbank.

The gallant boatmen pushed her clear and reached the shore to the cheers of about 100 people.

Rescuers and rescued were g
iven a party at the Red Lion Hotel, Bispham.

It's a testament to Victorian shipbuilding that part of the wreckage can still be seen at low water on the beach at Norbreck. The bell hangs in Cleveleys Parish Church to this day.

On the same day as the Abana hit the pier, Fleetwood fishing boat Petrel was also driven ashore by the same storm close to Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Storm conditions also brought the end of trawler Commandant Bultinck which was driven ashore at Rossall on October 2, 1929.

A 60mph wind, hail, rain, thunder and lightning battered the vessel and three crewmen died as they tried to swim ashore. Nine of their colleagues survived.

One of them, a deckhand named Pierre Luyens, was washed ashore on Preesall Beach on November 1 and has his grave in Fleetwood cemetery.

Commandant Bultinck, a Dutch-owned trawler, was on her way home after fishing off the Isle of Man.

The full article contains 493 words and appears in Blackpool Gazette newspaper.
Last Updated: 05 February 2008 8:04 AM
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St.Annes 07/02/2008 16:41:06
You're not joking! From 5 minutes on the internet, other Flyde-coast ship wrecks include...

1755 "The Travers" (full of lace)
1779 unknown ship (full of peas)
1821 "The F@nny" (full of red and black flannel)
1833 unknown ship (wrecked at the Gynn)
1839 "The Crusader" (full of silk)
1843 The Brig "Aristocrat" (wrecked opposite the Imperial Hydro)
1861 The Schooner "William Henry" (full of flour and lard,wrecked at South Shore)
1864 The "St. Michael"
1865 The Barque "Lexington"
1880 The "Bessie Jones"
1882 The "Arethusa"
1886 The "Mexico" off Lytham
1892 "The Sirens" against the North Pier,

(thanks to Olive Cookson for doing the research!)


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