Shipwrecks on the south west coast of the Isle of Wight
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True stories of heroism, rejoicing, tragedy and death on the South West coast of the Isle of Wight in the 19th Century, of lifeboat crews who put to sea in open boats, in atrocious weather conditions, thinking only of helping the shipwrecked souls in peril from huge seas and pounding waves.

Some of the men who gave their lives in rescuing others.

Moses Munt (Coxswain) and Thomas Cotton (2nd Coxswain) of the Worcester Cadet Lifeboat, lost their lives on the fateful night of March 9th/10th 1888, when the rescue of the crew of the stricken vessel Sirenia went terribly wrong.
The Worcester Cadet was capsized by a huge wave and Munt, Cotton and two Sirenia crew members were lost.

The 2nd Coxswain of the William Slaney Lewis, Reuben Cooper, suffered the same fate on the same night.


Not all rescue attempts were as tragic as that of the Sirenia. Many were complete triumphs; none more so than the 4-day saga relating to the S.S. Eider, a German luxury liner which ran aground on Atherfield Ledge on 31st January 1892. She carried cotton, maize, eight and a half tons of gold and silver, 500 sacks of mail, 227 passengers and a crew of 167. In an attempt to lighten the ship so that it might refloat on the high tide, some of the cotton was thrown overboard, but to no avail.
The Atherfield Lifeboat, the Catherine Swift, with the Worcester Cadet from Brighstone and The William Slaney Lewis from Brook, successfully carried ashore all the passengers, crew, mail and gold and silver.

Wrecks, dates and links to stories can be found on the 'Map' page.

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