Shipwreck A.C.L 1894

Heroic Conduct of a Coastguard – as reported in newspaper.

Considerable excitement was caused at Ilfracombe about 9am yesterday to a signal being fired to launch the Ilfracombe boat. It appears that a message had been received from Bull Point Lighthouse by telephone that a vessel was ashore somewhere in the neighbourhood of Mortehoe. The lifeboat was at once launched and went to Mortehoe. Unfortunately, this was not accomplished without an accident, the consequences of which are likely to prove fatal.

After the boat had left the house one of the heavy doors weighing about a quarter of a ton, slipped off its hinges and fell on one of the crew named, John Pollard severely crushing him. With some difficulty he was moved and conveyed to hospital. Just before noon the Coastguard that the vessel proved to be a French brig names the A.C.L received a message. During the fog in the night she had run on to Woolacombe Sands, and at daybreak her crew were seen making signals of distress. After a message had been dispatched to the Ilfracombe lifeboat the Coastguard sided by the local salvage crew ran the rocket apparatus to the shore and after some difficulty threw a line over to the vessel and succeeded in rescuing eight of the crew. The master preferred to remain onboard. The vessel was bound to Cardiff from Bordeaux. As the tide ebbed she was left high and dry on the sand.

 

It is reported later that Coast guardsman Cooper, finding no reply from the vessel, decided to swim to her. He entered the water but before he had gone far was rendered unconscious. Fortunate a line had been fastened to him and he was pulled ashore and at once attended to. He still lies in a critical condition

 

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