The Cellardyke Echo – 13/4/2016


William Deas of no fixed occupation, Cellardyke, was brought before Sherriff Armour on a charge of having (1) on 24th March on the North Platform of Anstruther Station, assaulted George Oliphant Jnr, apprentice draper, Kilrenny and (2) at a shed situated in New Rd Street, Anstruther. Assaulted Geo Oliphant. Accused who was said to be weak of mind was unable to plead.  On accused’s father giving an undertaking that he would do his best to keep the lad from committing similar offences, the fiscal withdrew the charge against him.


The drowning of Robert Smith fisherman, Cellardyke in the North Sea, consequent on the Cornucopia, the boat on which he was employed, being run into and sunk by HMS Speedwell, formed the subject of an enquiry under the Fatal Accidents Act at Cupar yesterday. Sherriff Armour presided.

The crown evidence was supplied by the crew of the Cornucopia, (Captain) Alexander Watson, Robert Anderson, James Smith, Alexander Brunton and James Page, and the story they gave was that at ten minutes to four o clock on the morning of the 25th February last they were engaged un hauling in their nets about two miles off the North Carr Lightship when the Speedwell crashed into their port quarter. Smith and Anderson sprang at the Speedwell’s cable, and hung on there as long as they could, while the others leaped into the sea. Lines were thrown from the speedwell, but the efforts made to haul Smith and Anderson on board failed, and some time elapsed before a boat was launched and the survivors taken on board. The Cornucopia sank before the fishermen were got aboard, Smith’s body was never found. The Fishermen all stated that no officer was aboard the Speedwell at the time of the collision, and that the delay of the rescue was due to a small number of men – six- that were assisting them. The fishing boats had all their lights burning brightly.

Lieutenant Edward Alexander Thomas, said he was a lieutenant of the Sapho but was in command of the speedwell which was acting as a tender for the Sapho. He had left the Speedwell in charge of Lieutenant Henson and had gone down below during the night. He had done duty for a full spell before he went below. He did not undress when he went below so as to be ready for any emergency. At the time of the collision the ship was about ¾ a mile off the North Carr lightship. She was steering a safe course at the time. He was coming up the ladder when he felt the impact of the collision.

q. How many seamen were on watch at the time of the collision – ten men

When he went on deck the watch were throwing lines over to the men on the boat. The lifeboat had been called out. The boat could not be manned until the fishermen had been fixed to the lines. It took about 5 minutes for the lifeboat to be launched. Which was longer than usual as the watchmen were on the forecastle getting lines over to the fishermen. It would have taken too long to call other sleeping members of the crew. It takes 4 men to launch the boat and 6 to man her. As the other crew were turned in no advantage would have resulted in calling out the rest of the crew. The skipper and crew were put ashore at Leith.


Mr and Mrs James Cunningham, John St, celebrated their golden wedding this week. Mr Cunningham who has been an elder of Chalmers Church for 25 years and a Sunday school teacher for 60 years was presented with a purse of sovereigns from the church elders and managers. The aged couple still enjoy best of health and it is only recently that Mr Cunningham stopped going to the line fishing.


A distressing case of suicide occurred at Cellardyke yesterday. Elizabeth Thomson, 31 years of age, second daughter of Alexander Thomson, fisherman, James Street Cellardyke committing suicide by drowning herself.

It is believed that about 2 o clock in the morning the unfortunate woman rose from bed and left the house. Later in the morning her parents discovered her absence, and a search was begun, the result of which was that the body was found about two or three hundred yards from the beach in a stretch of water. The body was removed to the parent’s house and medical aid was soon forthcoming but life had been extinct for several hours.

 The affair is particularly pathetic in view of the fact that the deceased was to have been married on Friday first, and on Monday night was given a presentation by the members of the Christian Endeavour Society.  She had been in good spirits making arrangements for the wedding and no reason could be assigned for the act.


Capt A Wood J.P nautical assessor has issued his decision in a collision course off Yarmouth on 29th Oct 1912, between two Cellardyke Drifters, Carmi III and Guerdon, which were both insured by the same company. Both vessels claimed for a loss of fishing and the company offering £135 lie money, left the two skippers to settle who was at fault in the collision. The Skippers agreed to refer to Capt Wood who decreed the Guerdon was alone to blame for the collision.


Mr Malcolm M Macfarlane, Second Master in Cellardyke School has secured an appointment by the Church of Scotland as a teacher in Ichang China.

Mr Barbour headmaster, Cellardyke drew attention to the Kilrenny School board that he, having reached the age limit was to retire at the end of the session.


David Reid, 13 Dove Street tendered a plea of not guilty to a charge of failing to obey two notices served upon him under the Military service act.

His defence was about six months ago in Shore Street in Anstruther, he was told by a recruitment officer that he was of no use to the army as they wanted men with perfect eyesight. He wore glasses and his sight was bad. He got the notices but did not consider it worthwhile going to Kirkcaldy just to be sent back again.

Capt. Walker, said that although accused may not be of much use for fighting with a rifle in the trenches there were labouring corps in which he could serve. The trial was fixed for Thursday next with the accused being committed to the prison of Dundee.

Eight skippers from Pittenweem, Cellardyke and St Monans admitted today having fished with lines in the prohibited area of the Firth of Forth. Mr Davidson stated that the skippers had set their herring nets within the hal mile limit and had gone into the prohibited water for the purpose of fishing for a few white fish for themselves. They had had a rather hard time of it over the winter…… George Wilson Buttars who had two previous convictions was fined 30s or twenty days imprisonment. Thomas Jack of the yawl Expert was dismissed, he had just returned home and knew nothing of the regulations..


David Birrell one of the best known of the fishing fraternity has passed away at the age of 93, for a long time he took an active part in public affairs, being a member of the parochial board and chairman of both Fisherman’s society and the hearse Society. He was also one of the first coxswains of the local lifeboat and on one occasion when a yawl was driven ashore at Cellardyke he was instrumental in saving 4 of the crew.


Shipbuilding Company for East Fife. The East Fife Shipbuilding Company Ltd (Private Company) capital £2000 in £1 shares, has been registered as a joint stock company. The Subscribers are Lawrence Bruce Boatbuilder Cellardyke, and Alexander Farrell tinsmith Cellardyke.

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