Shannon Disaster

THE SHANNON DISASTER as reported in the Skegness Herald

Tragic Pleasure Boat Disaster 30 Dead

The most deplorable disaster that has occurred at this or probably any other seaside resort happened at Skegness at noon on Saturday last. It was a fine morning, but the heat appeared to be somewhat oppressive.

At 10.30 a train from London brought to Skegness the employees of the North London Railway Company. They were full of glee, and as they passed along the Lumley Road on their way to the beach were singing the latest songs and playing toy instruments. They had arranged to dine at the Pavilion,Pleasure Gardens, at about one o’clock.

At 12 noon a great change came over the scene. Just prior to this time about 28 of the party had gone for a sail in the Shannon.

At midday a terrible storm of wind and rain swept over the town with great fury. The Shannon, though ably manned by two experienced boatmen, was wrecked by the storm, and 28 persons, besides the two boatmen, lost their lives.

When the news of the disaster reached the pavilion, where their comrades were dining, the feelings of grief may be better imagined than described. An elderly man, almost frantic, had lost two sons and a son-in-law that morning, and these had left 13 young children unprovided for. To add to the grief of the poor fellow, his wife died on Sunday, the day after he got home again.
The Shannon was certified to carry 6o passengers, but only 31 were aboard at this time. The boat belonged to the Grunnill family and was in charge of Edward Grunnill, 44 years of age, and Edwin Grunnill, 49. [Links lead to the men’s gravestones in St Clement’s Church Skegness]. Both men were members of the Skegness lifeboat crew, and experienced boatmen.

Help was rendered by Jabez Grunnill with his boat, the Dart. Both boatmen were drowned, in addition to 28 of the passengers.

At the inquest, Charles Henshaw, one of the three survivors, said : “I was on board at the time of the disaster, and do not consider the boat was overloaded. There was plenty of room for more passengers, and I don’t consider the boatmen were to blame in any way. They were both at their post.’ Only 20 of the bodies were recovered.”

The local Appeal Committee met the London Committee, which had been formed for the purpose of helping the survivors, about September 24th, to consider the allocation of the money subscribed for the widows and orphans of those lost. Altogether this amounted to £6201, and £600 of this was given to the families of the two boatmen.

ANOTHER SEVERE GALE.—Another severe gale took place on November 18th and 19th, 1893. It necessitated the launching of the Skegness lifeboat, which rescued the crew of the cod smack Frank, of Grimsby, who unfortunately had to abandon their vessel. The gale caused considerable damage to property in the Lumley Road. The following poetry appeared in the “Skegness Herald” of November 24th, 1893. It is by the late Miss Frances Theadora Maddison, formerly of Partney, who resided at Skegness for many years. She was a member of the well-known Lincolnshire family of that name, and was highly esteemed in the town and district. She did not claim to be a poet, but her sonnets, which appeared in the “Herald” from time to time, were highly appreciated by those who read them :—

0, hungry sea! lash’d by the waves to foam, Thy waves are seeking prey, and soon the cries of drowning men in agony arise!
Soon hushed, alas! and while the seamen roam, The anxious watcher’s tears and bitter sighs By strong winds are mocked ! they raging come Around the coast, around each fisher’s home, While neath the waters, dead and loved ones lie,
O the Saviour breathe the words, ‘Be still!’ I may
And on bruised hearts pour balm, with tender power,
With trembling now each contrite spirit fill,
For none but He can save in midnight hour,
When on mid-ocean tossed by storm and spray,
The helpless vessels roll, and long for day.

“F. T. M.”

(1861 census Frances Theadora Maddison)
On Tuesday last a silver teapot, subscribed for by several ladies, was presented to Mrs. J. Crawshaw, as a slight acknowledgment of the services she rendered in laying out the bodies of many of the men who lost their lives in the recent boating disaster. The teapot bore the following inscription— “Presented to Mrs. Crawshaw, July 8th, 1893, Boating Disaster, Skegness.” Accompanying the above  was a beautifully illuminated card, on which was engrossed the following — “This silver teapot was presented to Mrs. J. Crawshaw by a few friends in recognition of services rendered to the men drowned by the foundering of the pleasure boat ” Shannon ” off Skegness.”
Source: Skegness Herald 4th August 1893

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