The Wreck of the Steamer “Storm Queen”

Ye landsmen, all pray list to me,
While I relate a terrible tale of the sea,
Concerning the screw steamer “Storm Queen”
Which was wrecked, alas! a most heart-rending scene.

From Sebastopol, with a cargo of grain, she was on her way,
And soon after entering the Bay of Biscay,
On the 21st of December, they experienced a fearful storm
Such as they never experienced since they were born.

The merciless sea was running mountains high,
And to save themselves from a watery grave manfully they did try;
But the vessel became unmanageable, but still they worked away,
And managed to launch two small boats without dismay.

They wrought most manfully and behaved very well,
But a big wave smashed a smell boat before they left the vessel;
Still the Captain, Mr Jaques, and five of the crew
Clung to the “Storm Queen” until she sank beneath the waters blue.

While the sea lashed itself into white foam and loudly did roar,
And with a gurgling sound the big waves covered the vessel o’er;
So perished Captain Jaques and five of the crew
Who stuck to the vessel, as brave sailors would do.

But before the vessel sank a raft was made,
And a few men got on to it who were not afraid;
And oh! it was enough to make one’s blood to freeze
To see them jumping off the steamer into the yawning seas.

So they were tossed about on the big billows the whole night,
And beneath the big waves they were engulphed before daylight;
But 22 that reached the boats were saved in all
By the aid of God, on whom they did call.

And on the next morning before daylight
The Norwegian barque “Gulvare” hove in sight;
Then they shouted and pulled towards her with all their might,
While the seas were running high, oh! what a fearful sight.

The poor souls were prevented from getting along side
Of the barque “Gulvare” by the heavy seas and tide;
And as the boats drew near the barque the storm increases
Until the boats struck against her and were dashed to pieces.

It was almost beyond human efforts with the storm to cope
But most fortunately they were hauled on board by a rope,
While the big waves did lash the barque all over,
But by a merciful providence they were landed safely at Dover.

The survivors when rescued were in a destitute state,
But nevertheless they seemed resigned to their fate,
And they thanked God that did them save
Most timely from a cold and watery grave.

And during their stay in Dover they received kind treatment,
For which they, poor creatures, felt very content;
And when they recovered from their ills they met at sea,
The authorities sent them home to their own country.

But as for Captain Jaques, few men like him had been,
Because he couldn’t be persuaded to desert the “Storm Queen,”
As he declared he wouldn’t leave her whatever did betide;
So the brave hero sank with her beneath the waters wide.

Disaster at Sea

Yesterday evening the survivors of the screw steamer Storm Queen, belonging to Newcastle, were landed at Dover from the Norwegian barque Gulnare. The vessel was lost in the Bay of Biscay on the 22d inst. with the captain and five of the crew. The survivors when rescued were in a very exhausted and destitute condition, and twice had a narrow escape from a watery grave. The narrative of the survivors, who number 22, shows that the vessel was on her way from Sebastopol to Rotterdam with a cargo of grain. Soon after entering the Bay of Biscay on the 21st they experienced a fearful storm, the sea being described as running mountains high. The vessel became unmanageable, and ultimately the captain gave orders to man the boats. One was smashed before leaving the vessel and the remaining two could only be got away with the greatest difficulty. The captain, Mr. Jaques, refused to leave the ship although the boats stood by her several hours, Five of the crew, who could not be induced to leave the vessel, also remained, and with the captain perished, after having tried to save themselves by means of a raft. An attempt was made by the survivors to reach the raft, but before they reached it the whole of the men were washed off. After being washed about by the sea until the morning of the 22d, the Storm Queen was seen to sink. The survivors, on being landed at Dover, were taken to the National Sailors’ Home, which has been the refuge of so many shipwrecked persons, where they were well cared for, and after their immediate necessities had been attended to they were forwarded by the chaplain, Mr. Pearce, and the superintendent, Mr. Davison, with free passes granted by the South-Eastern Railway Company, to their destinations, most of which lay in the North of England.

The Times, 27th December 1888

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