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Lord Cecil

A little undignified for a lord, but Fred Brunskill tells us: ”The steam powered trawler Lord Cecil was a brand new vessel built at Smiths Docks for the Grimsby Beacon Trawling Company. She left the Tees bound for Grimsby but became grounded inside of Westscar and was rolling so violently that during the rescue Redcar’s ‘Fifi & Charles’ lifeboat was damaged in the process. On subsequent tides she drifted onto the beach opposite the bandstand.”

Image courtesy of Mike Holliday, thanks to Fred Brunskill for the update.

S.S. Berg

Despite the title on this image it is believed to be SS Berg; ashore at Redcar 9th November 1914. As details in Redcar Shipwrecks list give the vessel as SS Berg, perhaps there was a typographical slip? Derick Pearson advises: “In the days of sailing ships, the term SS stood for “Sailing Ship”. Steam ships are termed SS which stands for “Steam ship” because they are powered by steam. If the vessel is powered by a internal combustion motor such as diesel engine or a gas turbine unit, the vessel’s name has MV (“Motor Vessel”) denoting the type of propulsion the vessel has. Now SSRF causes a problem here as SSRF stood for Small Scale Raiding Force which was set up during the early 1940s to undertake “pinprick” raids on the coast of Northern France and the Channel Islands. The raids were designed to gather information and to take prisoners for interrogation while locally having a demoralising effect on the German troops. More generally the unpredictability of the SSRF activities were designed to tie up enemy resources that would otherwise be used on other fronts. Often small boats were used and designated SSRFs.”

Image courtesy of Mike Holliday, thanks to Derick Pearson for the details.


Steam Trawler Caulonia ashore once again at Redcar 25th February 1915. Geoff Ayre tells us: ”I remember in the 1950s going on a pleasure boat (i.e. fisherman’s boat) and at low tide stuck on the rocks was the bow of a ship. Later destroyed, as I heard the ship blown up owing to ships heading for the mouth of the Tees being drawn toward the wreck whilst waiting for the tide.” If any body can assist with a date for destruction, the Archive would be grateful.

Image courtesy of Mike Holliday, thanks to Geoff Ayre for the additional information.

Hugh Bell

“The tugboat Sir Hugh Bell ran aground 06/01/1926 on Coatham Sands. The tug boat was trying to recover a buoy which had broken away, and washed up on the beach. It was reported that the tug boat would not be able to get off the sands for the next 10 days when high tides were expected.” Details courtesy of  Redcar Shipwrecks list.  Now another question why are all the ships called she?  Terry Shaw advised: “Tradition is to consider ships as female, referring to them as ‘she’. Although it may sound strange referring to an inanimate object as ‘she’, this tradition relates to the idea of a female figure such as a mother or goddess guiding and protecting a ship and crew. Another idea is that in many languages, objects are referred to using feminine or masculine nouns. This is less common in English which tends to use gender-neutral nouns, however referring to ships as ‘she’ may refer to far more ancient traditions.
Interestingly, Captain Ernst Lindemann of the German battleship Bismarck referred to his ship as ‘he’, in view of its awesome power. In popular parlance, the tradition of naming ships ‘she’ has now become less common. It’s worth noting that the shipping industry newspaper, Lloyd’s Register of Shipping, now calls ships ‘it’.

Image courtesy of Mike Holliday, thanks to Terry Shaw for the information update.

Athina Lavanos

Another image of SS Athina Livanos (incorrectly named by the printers!) and despite the Greek name; she was a 4824 ton steamer built by Grays of Hartlepool and completed in October 1936. The beaching took place on 28th February 1937, so the ship was brand new and probably en route to its new owner. It ran aground on Redcar beach; which when beached was an attraction for residents and visitors from all around, named after the 2nd daughter of shipping magnate at the time Stavros Livanos. This daughter later married Aristotle Onassis and mother of two children Alexander and Christina.
The Athina Livanos was lost on 29th November 1943 when it was torpedoed in the Gulf of Aden by the Japanese submarine 1-27. I wonder how many ships came aground off Redcar?

Image courtesy of Mike Holliday, additional information courtesy of ‘Redcar – Past and Present’.

Taxiarchis – 1952

Fred Brunskill advises us: ”The Greek steamship Taxiarchis struck the Westscar rocks during the afternoon of January 14th, 1952 I remember watching the five tugs brought from the Tees as they tried to refloat her. Although the weather had been calm when she became grounded, worsening gales proved too much for the hull and she was holed beyond repair. the 28 crew were taken off by local fishermen and she ended up on the beach opposite the Coatham Hotel. She was eventually dismantled for scrap by Thomas Ward’s of Sheffield.” Kon Budkiewicz tells us: ”Aged 6 years, I was taken to see this ship by my father.  I witnessed organised bagging and removal of bunker coal through a low-level access door.” Dave Cusson tells us: ”My father was a well-known Redcar butcher. One of his customers, and elderly lady as I recall, was walking her dog along the sands during a sea fret. Seems she heard this terrible grinding noise from the sea just as the mist cleared – allowing her to see this enormous ship coming for her. She turned and ran as hard as she could all the way through the soft sand and onto the promenade, scared out of her wits!” Alan Etherington tells us: ”I was at West Dyke Primary School on the afternoon Taxiarchis ran aground. The mother of one of the boys came at playtime and told him that there was a ship on the rocks. Word spread like wildfire and at the end of school a lot of us rushed to see what had happened and there it was just off the Coatham Hotel. It was winched to just above the low tide line so that at suitable times of the tide it was possible to walk round it. It was then slowly emptied of coal and dismantled.” Pete Ward tells the Archive: “I remember the Taxiarchis as though it was yesterday: Like the lady previously, I was on Coatham beach with my Granddad (John Charles Thompson of Redcar Gas Works. I must have skived off school that day) gathering sea coal. I was holding my Granddad’s bicycle with a couple of sand bags filled with sea coal when we heard this grinding sound, then out of the mist appeared the Taxiarchis. You could not miss who scraped her, ‘Thomas Wards’ was painted on the starboard side, in big bold white letters facing Coatham.” Michael Henry adds: “I remember this well, we lived in Arthur Street and I was a pupil at the then Sir William Turner’s Grammar School on Coatham Road. Arthur Street is the next street to Henry Street. Henry St and Turner Street, the next one, border the Coatham Hotel. The sea front, is Newcomen Terrace, the names together form the name of the founder of our school, founded in 1691. The locals benefitted from coal being dumped of the Taxiarchis, as I remember as they scrapped her. The Coatham Hotel was one of the centre pieces in the Movie “Atonement” in 2006.”

Image courtesy of Mike Holliday, thanks to Fred Brunskill and Kin Budkiewicz for this information, also to Dave Cusson, Alan Etherington, Michael Henry and Peter Ward for the updates.


Again the date was on the picture 1957 another ship ashore at Redcar I didn’t think it was so dangerous at Redcar. The next post on the Archive of the same vessel explains all. Craig White commented: “I wondered if this small vessel has been deliberately beached to unload. It has a very large derrick/crane fitted and may have been engaged in scrapping or salvaging a wreck offshore. Just realised that there is another picture of Basalt on here with the comments that it was on salvage work and was deliberately beached after being holed. Amazingly whilst sorting old family photographs today found three pictures of Basalt sitting high and dry on Salt Scar rocks! No name was visible on these so it solves a bit of a mystery.”

Image courtesy of Mike Holliday, thanks to Craig White for the updates.

Basalt – 1955

This image came to the Archive among a collection of photographs of ’shipwrecks’ off Redcar and the East Cleveland coast and at that time we had no knowledge of the origins! A different view of the Basalt – aground off the promenade at Redcar – in 1957. Alan Etherington tells us: ”This particular picture was taken by me and dated in my album as being taken in 1955, it is a scan of a contact print, the negative being long lost. The ship was being used to dismantle the Dimitris which ran aground on East Scar Rocks at Redcar. The story was that the Basalt had taken a shorter route back to the Tees and tried to get between West Scar Rocks and Salt Scar but had misjudged the tide and tore a hole in the bottom. It turned tail and ran as far up Redcar beach as it could, almost into Marks and Spencer’s. A repair was carried out and the Basalt refloated on a spring tide.”

Image courtesy of Alan Etherington, thanks to Derick Pearson for initial dating, but very grateful thanks to Alan Etherington for the image and an explanation of the situation.

Barge Ashore

1984 was the date when this barge came ashore at Marske and Karl Elliott tells us: ”This was indeed at Marske just off St. Germain’s church. I remember it well as as a 10 year old, we were hanging on the tug line before the tide came in to refloat her, it was dangerous looking back now; but excellet fun been whipped up into the air when the tug took up the slack on the line. I believe it was used on the first stage of sewer improvements just off the Coast Road.”

Image courtesy of Mike Holliday and many thanks to Karl for the update.

On The Rocks At Redcar

Another view of the Freja Svea aground 1st March 1993, aground off Majuba car park. Derick Pearson has assisted with: “She was 97,000 tons and was grounded on the beach at Redcar just off Majuba Beach car park on the 1st of March 1993. I went down to take photographs and that is the date I put on the folder.”

Image courtesy of Mike Holliday, thanks to Derick Pearson for the update.