Photos unearthed of sea rescue drama schooner

PUBLISHED: 10:00 18 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:49 10 June 2010

NEW photographs of the Russian schooner, The Tehwija, pictured just seconds before life- boat men launched a daring rescue attempt, have been revealed. The schooner was smashed to bits off Orcombe Point 101 years ago tomorrow, after being thrown off cours

NEW photographs of the Russian schooner, The Tehwija, pictured just seconds before life- boat men launched a daring rescue attempt, have been revealed.The schooner was smashed to bits off Orcombe Point 101 years ago tomorrow, after being thrown off course by gale force winds on Thursday, October 10, 1907.The three-masted cargo ship was smashed into matchsticks following a dramatic sea rescue and, in a reflection of the wreck of the MSC Napoli, people looted the spilled cargo. The pictures were discovered by Chris Long, of Winston Road Exmouth, finding some old post cards - one of which he then blew up and enhanced showing the lifeboat, whose brave crew battled through the gale in an attempt to guide the distressed ship. He said: "One picture shows The Tehwija from Orcombe Point, before she got into trouble, then another taken from the beach."You can clearly see the life boat to the right of the ship."The lifeboat was the Joseph Somes, the second of her name, on her maiden rescue attempt.The lifeboat managed to get close enough to converse with the eight-strong crew - but the harsh seas kept her far too distant to affect a rescue.However, eventually a lifeboat from Teignmouth, helped by the wind, managed to get near enough to the boat, rescuing the Finnish skipper and his seven crew - just as The Tehwija started to break up.Former Journal editor Bill Gorfin witnessed the event and, in an article he penned in 1977, he said: "There were times when the lifeboat was lifted perpendicular on its stern by the force of the water...and one was given the impression of a gigantic woodlouse being turned on its back, with the outstretched oars representing the legs." For their bravery each lifeboatman received a bonus of 13 shillings while the saved sailors stayed in the Sailors' rest, next to the Pilot Inn on Chapel Hill.

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