Saturday, August 30,1924
Tuesdays Hurricane Took Toll of Three
Another Sworder Brings Grim Tale
Sch. Alice and Wilson, Almost a Complete Wreck,
Towed in Last Evening
Skipper Swept Overboard and Washed Back Again
Five Children Left Fatherless by Tragedy
Further evidence of the fury of Tuesdays storm was
brought to port last night when the battered hull of the swordfishing sch. Alice
and Wilson, Capt. John Hall, was towed in, in a little
better than sinking condition by the sch. Mary H. of New
Bedford, Capt. Ambrose Smith, and tied up at the end of the Atlantic
Supply Companys wharf, where another story of the terrific onslaught of wind and sea
which carried three more men to their grave, swept everything above decks, including
spars, rigging dories, gear, and left the vessel a veritable derelict for the skipper and
four surviving men to battle out as best they could the buffeting of the gigantic seas and
the ravages of the terrible hurricane was told.
Even worse that the sch. Dorcas,
which made port on Thursday afternoon in tow of the Funchal with
flag at half mast for her captain, Joseph F. Silveira, if such a thing
could be possible, is the condition of the Alice and Wilson.
Even the forecastle hatch and gangway was carried away. Her stem is cracked, bowsprit,
both spars, all rigging and practically everything was swept away. The boom was splintered
like kindling wood. The vessel drifted for 62 hours before succor reached her and for 16
hours the men were without food or water unable to reach the forecastle, pumping furiously
all the while to keep the vessel free.
The lost men are:
James Holland, 32, of Prince Edward Island
Joseph King, 38, of Willow street
Manuel Marks, 40, of Friend street
The vessel was fishing six miles southeast of the Lightship
at the time of the storm broke upon them, and all sail had been ordered in. The men were
at work on this task when the fury of the heavens broke upon them in a horrible wall of
water and gale of wind, and with a crash, the nest of dories were ripped from their cleats
and carried over the stern. With them went the skipper, Capt. John Hall,
but the backwash of the wave sent the Alice and Wilson drifting
down upon him, 20 yards astern and a line thrown by his brother, James Hall,
was seized. He was hauled to deck, suffering from two injured ribs, and numerous bruises.
When all hands were trying to get the ship straightened out, the mainmast snapped clear to
the deck and went by the board, taking Joseph King and Manuel
Marks with it. By a freak of circumstances, the men were rescued as the wave
receded and left them struggling near the side of the vessel. Lines were thrown to them
and they were hauled back to the schooners deck.
When the sworder was hit the first time, she was under
riding sail with engine going, and the captain was trying to get off shore and into deeper
water. The foresail had been blown away. Then came the gigantic wave which sent the little
vessel reeling over and practically on her beam ends. At one time the cross trees were
level with the water. Work of clearing away the tangled main rigging from the deck was
started and everything was thrown overboard. While the crew were engaged in this work
another mountain of water came descending upon the craft, and carried away the foremast,
shooting the pig iron ballast up from the bilge through the floor of the cabin and
forecastle. This time three of the crew went over the side and were lost in the angry
swirling foam, which swallowed them completely.
This time the Alice and Wilson
started leaking and she began to fill rapidly Her engine and rudder went out of
commission, so that she would not steer. The crew went to work again to clear the tangled
rigging from the deck and to start the pumps going. They couldnt find any handle to
use on the pump, so two draw buckets were used and for eight solid hours, without a let
up, the men bailed for their lives. Finally a piece of wood was obtained and a pump handle
fashioned out of this. Repeatedly the improvised handle broke, but after desperate
efforts, the vessel was pumped enough so that she could be kept clear. She was leaking
then at the rate of 1800 strokes an hour.
All day Wednesday the vessel drifting helplessly. Twice the
members of the crew sighted steamers and once a tanker. The other steamer passed within a
mile but apparently neither saw the floating wreck or distress signal of flag union down
flying from a pole tied to the stump of the foremast. The fog horn was kept pealing out
its distress calls. Things began to look pretty had for the little sworder, for it seemed
as though aid would never come. Without food or drink, for they could not get into the
forecastle to cook anything, the men were well nigh exhausted and ready to drop when aid
came to them.
About 1 oclock Friday morning the New Bedford fishing
schooner Mary H., Capt. Ambrose Smith had just
appeared around the vicinity of Sankaty and heard the sound of a fog horn. Bearing his
craft in the direction from whence the sound came, Capt. Smith sent the Mary
H. at full speed, arriving alongside of the Alice and Wilson
when the vessels were about 40 miles east by south from Sankaty light.
After passing a line, the first thing Capt. Smith did
was to take the men aboard of his craft and give them food and warm drink and dry their
clothing. They were in a pitiful condition. Hardy as they are, their nerves were racked
from the terrible ordeal. It had been a struggle with death. It was their most trying
experience during their entire fishing career and none cared to venture he would risk
going through a similar trial.
The Alice and Wilson presented a
sad appearance as she was docked at the wharf, for everything was gone from her deck. Her
forecastle gangway had been carried away and for 16 hours the men could not enter this
place, on account of the depth of the water.
Spars were snapped as clean cut as though sawed, her stem
was ripped open and her bowsprit shattered and swept away. All sail was gone except a
small piece, and this was nailed and lashed to the jumbo boom which in turn was lashed
against the foremast, and the flag half-masted on this improvised pole as the vessel
drifted along awaiting succor.
The Alice and Wilson is
practically a new vessel of 30 tons and measures 68 feet overall. She is owned largely by
Capt. Hall and also by the Atlantic Supply Company. The surviving members
of her crew are James Hall, a brother of the skipper, Chester
Perkins, engineer, Fonce Malloy, and Antione Silva.