We All Have To Perish

Found November 1886, Deerness, Orkney.

Written on a couple of wooden pins:

This is the last of the schooner Baltic of Peterhead, on a voyage to the Baltic Sea, September 19. While crossing the Roost, we made an attempt for the boats, but failed, and so now we all have to perish. Whoever gets this, send to the relatives of the poor sailors.

The Roost is likely to be the Sumburgh Roost, an area off the southern tip of the Shetland mainland where two tidal currents meet with often dramatic and unpredictable results. The Baltic was a 99-ton schooner registered in Peterhead under a Captain Dinnes.

[Shields Daily News, 2 November 1886]

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A Raft is Being Prepared

Found May 1879, Wigtown Bay, south west Scotland.

In a bottle, written in good hand, in pencil, on a small scrap of paper:

20th January, 1879.
Ou ship, the Puffin, is sinking. She caught fire on the 18th, and has burned for two days. The pumps are no use. The ship is fast settling down. God help us! Publish this when found. A raft is being prepared. I belong to Whitehaven.
James K. Henetron, Whitehaven.
The ship is going down.

[Greenock Advertiser, 26 May 1879]

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I Now Have Five Minutes

Found May 1895, Yarmouth.

In a bottle, written in pencil on a rough piece of paper:

April 20.
I have now five minutes to let you know we have taken to the boat, trusting we shall be picked up. Good-bye.
Frank Click, Petrel, Peterhead.

It was reported that the Petrel was a fishing boat.

[Exmouth Journal, 18 May 1895]

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The Barque Grotesque

Found May 1881, South Ronaldsay, Orkney.

In a bottle, written in pencil:

Foundering in North Sea, with twenty men on board, the barque Grotesque, on 7th March.

This message in a bottle was picked up on the shore by a fisherman. No further record can be found of the barque Grotesque.

[Shields Daily News, 20 May 1881]

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Waiting Death Now

Found 23 May 1901, Firth of Forth, off Granton.

In a bottle:

Croft. Mid ocean, Atlantic. Sinking fast. No hope. All hands going down. No time. Whoever gets this note, send at once to my wife, Mrs Haggart, Churchill Terrace, Edinburgh. Farewell. Waiting death now.

The 800ft steel steamer Croft sailed from Leith to New York on 27 December 1898, then left New York for the return journey on 26 January 1899. “A great storm prevailed in the Atlantic when she was out,” reported the Shields Daily News, “and this is the first word from the steamer and crew of thirty.” The message was said to have caused great distress in Leith, and also in the Croft’s home port of Newcastle. It was reported that the official crew list did not contain the name Haggart.

[Shields Daily News, 24 May 1901]

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