Monday, January 2, 2012

Schooner Willie H. Child ~ 17 August 1911

Annual Report of the Operations of the United States Life-Saving Service for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1912:

Shortly after 3 a.m. a three-masted schooner was discovered by the beach patrol ashore 2-1/2 miles south of the Gull Shoal (NC) station. The patrol burned a signal to apprise the vessel’s crew that their plight was known, then hastened to the station with the news of the disaster. The man keeping the watch in the station lookout had seen the signal on the beach, and when the patrolman appeared all hands were in readiness for wreck duty. After news of the disaster had been sent by telephone to the adjacent Chicamacomico and Little Kinnakeet stations, the life-saving crew launched their surfboat, and on going alongside found the vessel to be the schooner Willie H. Child, from New York for Jacksonville, FL, in ballast, with a crew of 8 men all told. She had lost her bearings in the smoky weather that prevailed and suffered the misfortune above mentioned. Assistance was offered the master, but declined for the time being, as he entertained the hope that the vessel would float free on the next tide. While waiting for the tide to serve, the life saving crew went ashore to send telegrams to the owners of the schooner and to summon a revenue cutter. The station crews from Chicamacomico and Little Kinnakeet presently arrived, and with their aid the vessel was floated and worked up the beach 2 miles in an effort to get her outside the bar.
     Notwithstanding their efforts, however, she finally fetched up hard and fast near the beach. As she was apparently doomed her master now decided to abandon her. He and his crew, with their effects, were accordingly taken ashore. The life saving crew from Cape Hatteras and a revenue cutter later came upon the scene, but they could do nothing. The schooner became a total loss.

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