Whitby East Pier

On the long haul across The Scar, jagged points of rock pierced two holes in the John Fielden’s timber hull, both below the waterline. Because of its cork filling the lifeboat would still float despite this damage, but its sailing performance would be impaired, and the rough sea would tear at the raw edges of the holes, enlarging them further. Langlands and Eglon conferred, then decided the only thing to do was to continue with the original plan, but they knew they would not get much service out of the John Fielden.

Among the volunteers who dragged the lifeboat across was Hannah Jane Midwood, a member of a well – known Whitby fishing family. She was engaged to a local man, Chapman Robinson, and their wedding was arranged for the next day. Her fiancée was not with her at The Scar, because he had to be at work in Goathland, three miles away, by seven o’clock, but he was out on the West Pier within minutes of hearing the Coastguard’s maroons to see if there was anything he could do. There wasn’t. He and his friend, Albert Ackeroyd, walked along the beach to work. They found two bodies washed ashore and brought the Ambulance men who tried to artificial respiration, but it was too late.

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Copyright © Ken Wilson 1981