If Our Remains Be Found

Found 18 September 1889, off Eastbourne, East Sussex.

In a bottle, written in pencil on a sheet of paper:

Firefly, private yacht. February 9, 1889, off Denmark. Dear Friends whom happens to read this, we were a party of four hands all told, when we were run into by a two-master, and I am now writing these lines, which I hope will come into some person’s hands who will send help to us as soon as possible. But if by any chance any of our remains be found please let our friends know at Hastings, Sussex, England, and also the—

This abruptly-curtailed message was picked up by fisherman Phillip Swain floating in the English Channel more than 400 miles south-east of Denmark but less than 15 miles from Hastings, which the Times said was “somewhat remarkable”. A local correspondent confirmed the Firefly was missing, and, said the Times, “there is little doubt she was wrecked and her crew drowned.”

[Times, 19 September 1889]

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