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St. Leonard Church at Deal, Kent, iImage Copyright Nick Smith licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License.
St. Leonard's Church
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Deal and Walmer, Wrecks during the 1870s

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The Goodwin Sands are a great sandbank, eight miles long and about four miles wide, rising out of deep water four miles off Deal. Between the Goodwins and Deal lies a stretch of deep water, in which there is great anchorage for shipping. This area is known as the Downs.

The 'sheltered' anchorage of the Downs is a relative term, even in this shelter the vessels are sometimes blown away from their anchorage, both by easterly and westerly winds and thus founder upon the Goodwin Sands or The Ship Swallower, as it is known.

This website contains extracts from the Deal & Walmer Telegram Newspaper c. 1850 onwards relating to Wrecks & Rescues of the Goodwin Sands. All events are factual, and are written as they appeared in print.

Welcome to the Wrecks and Rescues of the Goodwin Sands.


The Deal & Walmer Telegram Newspaper

Extracts therefrom
Vol. 5 No. 1

The information displayed here is from the former Deal and Walmer website by the generous permission of Linda Corbett.
  • Accident to a Lugger in the Downs

  • Ship on the Goodwin

  • Loss of the Lugger 'Alexandra'

  • Wreck on the Goodwin Sands

26th March 1870.
On Thursday afternoon, the lugger 'Dart' on returning to the shore from a cruise got caught in a calm just as she cleared the south side of the pier, and drifted with the tide until she came in contact with it, carrying away her mast and bowsprit and otherwise damaging her to the extent of about £15.

26th March 1870.
The Bremen brigantine 'Germania', Captain Rickleffs, from St. Domingo for Hamburg, laden with mahogany, got on the Goodwin Sands about 9pm on Wednesday 25th March. The crew left their own boat and were received on board the South Sand Head Light-ship with every attention, and taken from thence, on the following morning by the North Deal Lifeboat 'The Van Kook'. The vessel has become a total wreck, but it is expected the principal portion of her cargo will be saved.

2nd April 1870.
This well known pleasure yacht and lugger, belonging to Ramsgate, which was built about four years ago by Mr. I. HAYMAN of Deal, was lost near the Goodwin Sands on Friday. It appears that nine men were out with her endeavoring to save some of the cargo from the brigantine 'Germania', wrecked on Wednesday night. As the boat was fully laden something was heard to strike against the bottom of the vessel, and she went down in about two fathoms of water, the tide being low at the time. The nine men jumped into their small boat and rowed into Ramsgate harbour. The 'Alexandra' was worth about £700.

15th October 1870.
Early on Tuesday morning the signals of distress being fired from the South Sand Head Light-ship, the Kingsdown lifeboat was launched and proceeded to the Goodwin Sands, the wind blowing from the W.N.W. at the time. The boat had to go off short handed, most of the boatmen at this station being away fishing. On arriving at the Sands, the Nowegian barque ' Kong Sveere', Captain Neilson, bound from Carthagenia to Leith, with a cargo of barley, was found to be ashore on the South Calliper. A Deal boat had taken the crew off the vessel just as the lifeboat reached the spot, but the master and mate had refused to leave, hoping their ship would float as the tide made. The crew of the lifeboat, knowing the danger the two men ran, gallantly resolved not to leave them to their fate, but to remain in the vicinity to aid them if required. They showed good judgement in doing so, for as the tide rose the barque broke her back, and soon became a total wreck, and the captain and mate were only too glad to avail themselves of the lifeboat, and with great difficulty they were at last rescued and brought safely to land.

1850S             1860S             Lost in the Downs             Stormy Weather