The Cellardyke Echo – 6/4/2016


5th April

According to the latest accounts five boats crews are still missing, sailing from Arbroath, Cellardyke, Pittenweem, Lossiemouth and Johnshaven, and the worst fears are entertained as to their fate. The Arbroath boat, The Ellen and Jane had a crew of six men, four married. The Cellardyke boat is the Snowdrop Skipper James Martin. She left Anstruther last Tuesday and has not been heard of since. There were seven men on board, five of whom were married and leave large families. The Pittenweem boat is the Sisters, her crew numbered seven. The Lossiemouth boat is the Invincible, the crew numbered eight hands four of whom were married. The Johnshaven boat is the Martha which was found abandoned and towed into Berwick, she had six hands altogether. It is a moderate computation to state that from 70 to 70 lives have been lost in this storm.


It is thought the Snowdrop might have been stripped of masts and sails and be drifting out to sea. . This opinion being generally entertained, Mr Mair, The Fishery Officer, telegraphed for a government cruiser to be sent in search of her and yesterday the cruiser left the Forth for this purpose. There are seven men aboard. Skipper Martin Married, 2 children, William Martin his brother unmarried, George McRuvie married no family. David Corstorphine, unmarried, Hugh MacDonald married no family, James jack married no family and David Murray, wife and 5 children. The Pittenweem boat Sisters, Skipper William Finlay is also missing and almost all hope has been given up for her crew of seven men.

6th April

 The Missing boat Snowdrop arrived at Anstruther yesterday, the crew had been in the vicinity of the English coast and had no experience of the storm.  

The East of Fife fishing boats encountered a severe thunderstorm on Thursday afternoon (The Boat Alexander of Ferryden was struck by lightning. The flash seems to have struck the ring on the top of the mast and running down hit Charles Coull and William Coull. The Injuries of the later were most serious. His clothes on the right hand side were entirely burned off him, his whole side and face were much discoloured. His sea boots had to be cut off and his stockings were found much singed. The whole crew was affected and in their confusion mistook the lights of Cellardyke houses for that of Anstruther harbour lights. As a result the boat ran ashore on the rocks to the west of Cellardyke Harbour, where she will become a total wreck.

(Charles Coull, had been conveyed to the House of John Morris the baker adjoining Cellardyke harbour, a Circular hole about the size of a penny on the shoulder of his oilskin showed where he had been struck, his shirt and underclothing burnt to a cinder.  He was in a delirious sleep all night and Dr Thomson was called., Charles died after severe suffering. On the 7th April. His corpse was conveyed to Ferryden by boat, and the whole of the Cellardyke fishermen, dressed in their blue clothes to the number of between 400 and 500 attended the mourning procession to Anstruther Harbour walking four abreast.  Charles Coull’s father expressed his thanks for the kindness which he had experienced on every hand in Cellardyke)

The Sophia also of Ferryden was struck by lightning in the same storm on the, one of the crew David West (Tarvit) who was standing near the steel tie, was thrown senseless to the deck. This boat also bore up on Anstruther which was safely reached about an hour after sunset. David was taken to the house of his father in law Skipper James Tarvit in Cellardyke and next morning was so far revived as only to complain of numbness, with a dull, stinging pain in his right arm.

The Reindeer of Cellardyke was also struck at sea, but providentially Skipper Muir and his crew escaped unhurt. St Monans boat John and Agnes arrived at Shields with the loss of four of her crew, washed overboard. One man Robert Cameron has survived the loss of his own boat the Grace Darling when it was run down by a German steamer only weeks before.


The well-known Skipper Thomas Birrell, left on Thursday en route on a new enterprise – viz, to develop the crab and lobster fishing of the Moray Firth. It is not the least interesting feature of the ‘spec’ that the veteran is, with the agency of the railway and the telegraph, to send his own catch from day to day to market


A Cellardyke fishing boat, Alaska, put into Elie today and reported the loss of one of the crew – Alexander Falconer. The boat was riding at the nets 40 miles east from the May Island, when a heavy gales suddenly arose and a big wave washed Falconer overboard, Falconer belonged Cellardyke and was 20 years of age. The other members of the crew were in such jeopardy that they were unable to render any assistance. There were grave doubts for a time as to whether all the boats would weather the storm.

Little hope is now entertained of the safety of the Cellardyke fishing boat Garland, and it is supposed that she must have foundered at sea in the gale of Tuesday 8th April. She Sailed from Anstruther on Monday Morning for the deep sea fishing and was last seen riding at the nets 55 miles east from the May Island on Tuesday night. No trace of her has been seen since and unless she returns today all hope will be abandoned.

Adam Watson, Skipper, 65 grown up family

James Salter, son in law, 34, married

John Brown son in law, 30, married

David Watson, 39, Married 4 of a family

Alexander Smith, 28, married two of a family

Robert Brown, 22, unmarried

Robert Watson, 16, unmarried


Steps are being taken to organise a steam fishing fleet in the East Of Fife, The initiative is by the right man in the right place as we may say of the energetic young salesman at Anstruther, William Bonthron.. The idea, is to begin with a pioneer vessel to coast £1800, subscribed for in so many shares at £10 each, a second and thirds or rather any number of vessels, will be added as the enterprise may succeed. Of this however, there cannot be a question, in view of the fact that the S S Petrel with her Cellardyke Crew has earned £700 in the stormiest four months of the year. The vessel is to be a model of her class, 75 feet in length and to steam at 9 knots per hour, so as to be able in fishing weather to scour the seas with net and line. She will land the big fish catch at Anstruther, but it is possible that she may take up her station at Aberdeen or Peterhead in the coming drave…. Statistics tell you that a third of the herrings landed on the Scottish Coast are over days fish, a circumstance not to be avoided in the vicissitudes of the weather – a calm day today and a gale tomorrow – but it is otherwise when you can steam to a pier as to be in time with the clock for the early trains….


The Cellardyke boat Glengarry ran ashore near Sunderland of Friday but was floated off with slight damage.


The reopening of Cellardyke School is to be an event of some importance. Dr Dunn, Her Majesties School inspector is to declare the School open tomorrow. It was on his recommendation that the extension was begun, and this has been dine according to plans by Messrs Dewar Architects Leven. The entire school has been remodelled and accommodation doubled. The roof was formerly an array of pinnacles has been taken off and a more substantial air imparted to the erection by the addition of another storey, and a wing in the west gable, the roof being surmounted with 5 exhaust ventilators, while three gables form the main feature. The difference in colour between the old and new stonework has been met by the redressing of the former. The interior is splendidly finished. The accommodation on the ground floor is one large classroom 39ft x 33ft for infants, holding 160 pupils; another 33ft x 20ft holding 66; and other two 26ft x 21ft, for infants holding 60 each. At the back will be two large cloakrooms 17ft x 16ft and the entrance to the staircase to the upper floor. On the first floor there will be five large classrooms for an average of 60 pupils, it also contains two large cloakrooms and a staircase at the back., The playground has been enclosed with a wall and railing.


Methil – On Saturday night Alexander Wood Melville (24) a miner, fell off the gangway from the deck of the S.S. Amaranth, struck the quay wall and fell in to the dock. He never rose again, and about half an hour elapsed ere the body was recovered by grappling irons. He had made the acquaintance of the crew of a steamer lying the other side of the Amaranth and was accompanying them when the party found the vessel had swung into the middle of the dock. He invited them home and they were returning when the accident happened. Melville was a native of Cellardyke and leaves a widow and two of a family.


We understand that Mr Stephen Williamson has just purchased the Grimsby trawler Monarch; and that Mr Michael Doig, late of Cellardyke is to be Skipper. He is to be succeeded in the office of skipper of the Faith by his brother James who has been along with him in the faith for some time.

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