The Cellardyke Echo – 15/7/2021 – Issue 296


Dundee – The New Fish Dock Committee of Dundee Harbour Trust on Friday agreed to lease for three years seven poles of ground at the New Fish Depot to Messrs Cunningham & Bonthron, Anstruther, for ship chandlers’ premises. The premises are to be erected according to a general plan prepared by the harbour engineer.

CELLARDYKE DISTRESSING FATALITY ON THE TAY. –A drowning fatality, the circumstances connected with which are of a distressing character, occurred on the Tay on Tuesday afternoon. About three o’clock the steam liner Edith, of Anstruther, left the new Fish Dock, where her catch had been discharged. The vessel had scarcely proceeded three-quarters of a mile on the outward voyage when Thomas Smith, the mate, fell overboard. Smith was engaged at his duty on deck, when he slipped and fell over the ‘bulwark into the river. The engines were immediately put full speed astern, but the unfortunate seaman, clad as he was in heavy clothing and sea boots, sank before the means of succour were at hand. Smith, who was 26 years of age, resided at 13 Rodger Street, Cellardyke, and was the son of the master of the Liner—this being the second son who has, met his death by drowning. Grappling operations were conducted till a late hour on Tuesday night, but all efforts to recover the body proved fruitless. Operations were continued on Wednesday, and these at length proved successful, the body being recovered about 8 o’clock in the evening and brought home to Anstruther. The sad news was telegraphed to Anstruther to Mr William Birrell, Shore Street, and caused very general regret in the community. Smith was well known in he community and highly respected.

The Choir of the Cellardyke Parish Church had their annual outing on Wednesday. They journeyed to Falkland Palace where they inspected the grounds etc., and altogether spent a most enjoyable day.

Rev. Thomas Cunningham, Scottsdale, Tasmania, a brother of Mr Alex Cunningham, Cellardyke, was inducted to the ministry of the Presbyterian Church at Scottsdale on the 24th of May, Mr Cunningham has officiated in the denomination upwards of 35 years as a missionary in Ceylon, South Australia, and during the past 9 years in Scottsdale. About 2 years ago the Presbytery were approached with a view to his being then admitted into full standing in the Church, but circumstances did not permit of it being accomplished. Since then, however, the difficulties have passed away, and a course of study prescribed. .The examinations thereon were successfully negotiated with credit and the culminating point was attained on 24th May by his receiving ordination and induction in presence of a large gathering off the congregation and friends of all denominations.


MR STEPHEN WILLIAMSON RETIRES FROM BUSINESS. On Saturday Messrs Balfour, Williamson, & Co., Liverpool, issued to their friends and clients a circular intimating that Mr Stephen Williamson, their senior partner, has retired from the firm, of which he has been a member since its establishment in 1851. Mr Williamson founded the partnership which now represents the largest purely merchants’ business in the world, in association with the late Mr Alexander Balfour (of Leven). In laying the foundation of the fortunes of the firm, he was for several years in South America. Mr Williamson, who formerly sat in Parliament for St Andrew’s Burghs, and later for Kilmarnock has long been identified with public and philanthropic movements in Liverpool, as well as a great figure in commerce, while his charities to Anstruther and Cellardyke, his native town, have kept his name there a household word.

On Monday first an enquiry, under the fatal Accidents Act, will be held in the Lerwick Sheriff Court, into the death of Thomas Reid, of Cellardyke, who was drowned on the passage to Cullivoe.

Fatal Accidents Enquiry. Monday an enquiry was held under the Fatal Accidents Enquiry Act, into the cause of the death of Thomas Reid, fisherman, Cellardyke, who was drowned on June last near the Brethren Rocks while on the passage from Lerwick to Cullivoe, off the boat Prospects Ahead, KY. 1656. The enquiry took place in the Sheriff Courthouse—before Sheriff Moffatt and a jury.

The following gentlemen were appointed on the jury Messrs B. S. Copland, David Beaton, John Henry, Charles Arthur, James Goodlad, D. W. Dalgliesh, and Robert Fraser.

After the jury had been empannelled, the following evidence was led :

William Sutherland deponed that he was 33 years of age, lived at 47 John Street, Cellardyke, and was skipper of the boat Prospects Ahead, KY.1656. She was a first-class decked fishing boat, 31 tons burden, and 49 feet over stems. They had been engaged at the early herring fishing this year at Shetland, and left Cellardyke on 3rd June for Cullivoe. They carried no small boat, and had no lifebuoys on board. On their way to Cullivoe they passed through Lerwick harbour, where they arrived about 7.30 on the morning of the 5th  June. They left at noon of the same day, but they took no small boat or lifebuoys from Lerwick. When they left the wind was SW. by S. and moderate. They had to run dead before the wind for some time, jibing the sail three or four times. After leaving Lerwick the wind increased, and when they were about 1 ¼ or 1 ½ miles from the harbour they had to dip the sail to go on the starboard tack. After this had been done he ordered the sails to be set and two reefs taken in forward. After they had got the sail hoisted hand high—that was far as it could be got hand over hand, the haulyards were passed over the roller. The roller was fixed into a timber in the boat’s side. When the haulyards were put over the roller, deceased sat down on the gunwale and put his foot on a timber behind the block. Witness was inside the deck behind the deceased, and the others were sitting behind him. Deceased was on the gunwale, and while giving an extra haul on the haulyards and pulling with all his might, the haulyards slipped off the roller, were jerked out of his hand, and he went into the water. The boat was going about six knots an hour the time. Everything had been cleared up and stowed below, so there was nothing to throw to the man in the water. Witness threw the haulyards to him but that was of no use. Thomas Reid was the deceased’s name, and he was married, and 34 years of age, and the son of David Reid and Ann Burrows or Reid. They did not recover his body. The helm was put hard a-port to bring the boat to the wind, but about two minutes after the deceased went overboard he sank. Witness did not see him sinking, but he went to get a tackle and put it the sail when Alex. Johnson said to him “Ye needna care aboot it, Willie; he’s awa” They did not go back to the spot where the accident occurred, there being no use as the man had sunk.

By the Court—There was nothing to throw to the man in the water, and in the confusion they were all upset. There were oars on the boat’s deck they might have thrown to him, but they did not think of it at the time.

Q.—Do not fishing boats carry lifebuoys.

A. Winter boats carry lifebuoys, but summer herring fishing boats seldom do. There was nothing like a lump of cord or anything that sort about the deck that could throw in cases this kind.

Mr Fraser—Was the sail on the side the man fell over

A—Yes ; we were pulling on the weather side, and the sail was on the port side.

Alexander Johnson deponed that he was a miner, but went to the fishing as a hired hand. He was a hand on the boat Prospects Ahead, of Cellardyke, on 5th June. After leaving Lerwick harbour on that date they were shortening sail off the Brethren rocks. After they shortened sail they had got the sail hand high, and then took the haulyards to the roller. Witness was standing behind the roller. Deceased was next the in setting up the sail the haulyards came out and he went overboard. The roller was about four inches in diameter and two inches above the deck. There was no catch on it to prevent the haulyards slipping. The roller was about five inches in length.

Thomas Anderson (28), first hand on the Prospects Ahead, deponed that he resided at 25 Shore Street, Cellardyke, and along with Sutherland owned the boat Thomas Reid had a share in the nets, and the rest of the crew were hired men. These men received a fifteenth share of the earnings. Reid would have got the same, and something extra for his nets. He then gave corroborative evidence as to how the accident happened.

By the Court—The roller is of iron and just like the sheave of a block. There was nothing on it to prevent a rope slipping off. They were trying to work the boat up to windward when they saw the accused had sunk, and therefore it was no further use.

Alex. Johnson (recalled) deponed that the man did not call out when he fell overboard. Witness saw him sink about two minutes from the time of his going into the water. He was about a mile and half from the boat when he sank.

The Sheriff—A mile and a halt there must be something wrong there, if he was only two minutes in the water before he disappeared, and the boat going six miles an hour. He could not have been a mile and a half away.

Witness —It might have been a mile. I could not say exactly.

Q.—Did anyone else beside you see him sink ?

A.—Yes; William Sutherland.

Q.—How long did you spend looking for him

A.—l could not tell. Perhaps ten minutes or a quarter of an hour.

Q—None of you threw anything to him !


Q, There was no small boat or lifebuoy or lifebelts !

A.—No ; there were oars about the deck, but none of us thought of throwing any of them

 Andrew Gowans, miner, 64 Dewery Street, Methil, deponed that he was miner, but went to the herring fishing in the summer season. He gave corroborative evidence as to deceased falling overboard.

The Sheriff—How far was he from the boat when sank? A.—About half a mile. There was nothing thrown to him, as we all lost our presence of mind in a case like that. We looked for him until he had sunk out of sight. By Mr Fraser—The sail did not come down to the deck when the haulyards slipped off the roller, as the men held on and kept the sail up.

James Anderson, grocer’s assistant, 7 Dove Street, Cellardyke, deponed that he was a hand on the Prospects Ahead when the accident happened. He was steering the boat at the time, but owing to the mizzen sail he could not see ahead. He saw Reid being carried past the stern of the boat where he was sitting steering. The boat was travelling about six miles hour, and witness had nothing at his hand that he could throw to the man overboard. He put down the helm, and the boat came up to the wind, and she went to windward until they saw the man went down.

This concluded the evidence, and Mr Galloway addressed the jury, asking them to find a verdict in accordance with the evidence. Sheriff Moffatt then briefly addressed the jury, informing them that all they had to do was to find a verdict in terms of the prayer of the petition that deceased met with his death by accidentally falling overboard from the boat Prospects Ahead, about 11 miles from the Brethren rocks, and being drowned. In the course of his remarks he referred to these fishing boats not carrying lifebuoys. For safety, and possibly for the saving of life, there should be some lifebuoy or lifebelt, or something that would float, lying handy on the deck, which could be thrown by someone from the boat to anyone who chanced to fall into the water. There were oars on the deck of this boat, but the skipper told them they did not think of them at the time; and another of the crew said they lost their presence of mind. That was very unfortunate, but they could not be held blameworthy. The initial cause was the haulyards slipping over the end of the roller, and that could be made preventable by having something placed on the end so that they could not slip. But they—the jury—bad nothing to do with that. All they had to do was to record their opinion to how the death of the deceased Thomas Reid was caused. Without leaving the dock the jury, through W. Dalgliesh, intimated that they found the accident had happened as stated in the Fiscal’s petition.

While the boat Venus Star, of Cellardyke was some 40 miles E.N.E of Peterhead on Thursday evening, making for Fraserburgh, a carrier pigeon came on board the craft, evidently in a exhausted condition. The bird had rubber ring on its leg marked R 38 while its wing was stamped with the figure 4. The bird is now possession of the skipper of the boat, who is at present located here (Fraserburgh). It is assumed that the pigeon one those that took part in the recent Lerwick London race.

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