The Wreck of the Tucker


The Wreck of the "Tucker"

FREEMANS JOURNAL THURSDAY 10th.September 1868.

"Wreck of the R.H.Tucker- Loss of four Coastguards.

Wexford – Wednesday – The fine American ship, ‘R.H. Tucker’, Capt.Rundlett, of whose misfortune I informed you yesterday has since been consumed by fire. All last night she was blazing until the devouring flames were extinguished by the ingress of the sea as the hull was being burned lower than the water line. It must have been a furious fire for the clouds of smoke and flames were seen from Wicklow.

No account has reached of its origin but it is said it commenced amongst its rigging. There were twenty-six hands aboard the vessel when the steam tugs left her yesterday, but as two lifeboats, the Cahore and Courtown stood by her it is to be hoped no lives have been lost. The tugs left here early this morning by direction of Mr. Coughlan, Collector of Customs, taking with them the Rosslare lifeboat to assist in saving life or property. I briefly informed you yesterday of the loss of four coastguards who went forward to assist the distressed vessel. It appears that at daybreak yesterday the ‘R.H. Tucker’ was seen aground by William Smith, Commissioned Boatman of the Curracloe Coastguard Station who reported the circumstance to Mr.Flinn, Chief Officer.

At five o’clock the coastguard had the boat lowered and manned by six brave men and were steering for Blackwater Bank. They sailed four miles in the direction of the distressed vessel, when they found that their frail boat was unable to cope with the fury of the wind and surf, and they accordingly put back. Rough SeasThey had returned to a place opposite their station when a huge sea filled their boat and a slap of the following wave capsized her.

The men when leaving did not put on their cork jackets though it appears the jackets were in the boat, so each was left to his own unaided resources to save his life.Joseph Regan succeeded in swimming to the beach, and William Conway was fortunately washed ashore, though in a state of insensibility. The other four men who composed the crew were drowned . They were Mr.Flinn, Chief Officer; Joseph Randall, Chief Boatman; William Smith, Commissioned boatman, and William (sic) Jenkins, Boatman.

It is fearful to contemplate the feelings of the wives and families of these men as they saw husband and father sink into the waves within a few perches of home, and few can fathom the depth of the sorrow that fills the homes of these heroic men. Mr.Flinn leaves a widow and eight children; Smith a widow and six children; and Jenkins a widow and three children. None of the bodies have been found.

The boat used by the men was only an ordinary whale boat. Had she been a lifeboat it is likely that no such awful tragedy would have occurred as she would have righted immediately upon being capsized. Captain Rundlett has arrived here accompanied by his mate. They were taken off the burning vessel last evening with several of the crew by the Courtown lifeboat and landed at Courtown. The remainder of the crew were picked off by the Cahore lifeboat and landed at Ballygeary, so all hands on board have been saved.

The fire broke out in the ships galley yesterday evening and spread rapidly through her masts, rigging and hull, consuming all the cargo that was of an inflammable nature. The vessel is burned down to the water line. Those who witnessed the fire from the shore last night described the scene as one of great grandeur and even sublimity

From our Correspondent".



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