Thursday, 1 March 2012

S.S. Ithaca

On the 3rd May 1875 a steamship, the Kynance was rammed in "thick weather" at four in the morning off St Ive's Head by an unidentified steamship. All twelve of the crew escaped on a boat, but the ship that rammed them continued on its course and didn't heed their calls for help.

Later the S.S. Ithaca was identified as the ship in question and it was impounded at Bristol.

Pity about the white blob covering the text.
And although this story calls the sunken steamer "Hynance",
every other source calls it "Kynance"

But oddly enough, another ship was rammed and sank on the 3rd May in that area by an unidentified steamship. The Talbot (a schooner) was hit off Trevose Head and it's crew were later picked up by The Flying Cloud and taken to Padston.

I did a bit of searching and found that the S.S. Ithaca was in Falmouth on the 2nd May, so to get to Bristol it would have gone past those two locations, in that order. It seems quite a coincidence that there were two different unidentified steamers running into ships that day (though not impossible: I've read that in the mid 1800s you could see three hundred ships from the island of Lundy). The closeness of location and time certainly makes me suspect it was the same ship.

Maybe it was captained by a particularly ruthless sailor who considered it everybody else's job to get out of his way, or maybe it was an ineffectual, slightly comical captain who was just having one of those days.


The Daily News (London), Monday 10th May 1875

Royal Cornwall Gazette, Saturday 15th May 1875

Richard Larn, Bridget Larn, "Shipwreck Index of the British Isles, volume 1, The West Country", Lloyd's Register of Shipping. 1995

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