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 Calf Sound Memorials

Photograph © John Luxton 2001

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The Thousla Cross - Jeune St. Charles Memorial

The Cross of Lorraine which overlooks Calf Sound was originally stood on Thousla Rock in Calf Sound as part of a warning beacon. It commemorates the loss of the French schooner JEUNE ST CHARLES.

The Jeune St Charles under the command of Joseph Jegou,  departed from Pontriex on the River Triex, France, bound for Derry, Ireland with a cargo of flour on March 29, 1858. On April 6 the schooner was wrecked in Calf Sound during a storm. Her crew had abandoned her fearing that she would be blown ashore, taking along a few personal belongings and the ship's papers. The wind and currents were so strong that the small ship's boat was driven on a rock in the middle of the channel.

The first wave took away their oars, the second capsized the boat and all six crew were left clinging perilously to the rocks. One minute later, the two ship's boys were swept away and perished. The captain, mate and two crewmen were left clinging to the rocks in terrible anguish. At first light, farmers working on the hillside looking over the Sound had noticed the dangerous position of the French schooner. 

Word of a shipwreck and the plight of the sailors on Thousla Rock, quickly spread to Port St Mary. A boat was launched, crewed by Henry Qualtrough, Thomas Taubman, John Maddrell, Edward Fargher and Thomas Keig, from the Sound, but could not reach the wreck. A second boat was carried from Port St Mary. It was this boat crewed by Thomas Harrison, Joseph Harrison, John Watterson, Daniel Lace and John Karran, that succeed in battling against the odds to the wreck. The cries of the sailors could be heard clearly from the shore and their ordeal had lasted three hours, their hope disappearing as the first boat was swept by. Straining on the oars the second boat was swept towards them and they were grasped with willing hands and taken aboard. Later the strong current drove the boat to the safety of the Calf. There, the lighthouse keepers gave the unfortunate sailors aid.

Mr J McMeikan, Honorary Agent, Shipwrecked Fishermen’s and Mariners Royal Benevolent Society officially reported the rescue of the survivors. He requested that Mr. Fleury, the French consul in Liverpool, commend the rescuers to the authorities in France.

It was that on  December 7 1858, the five crewmen of the second boat were awarded the silver Medal of Honour. Following the wreck a beacon was erected on Thousla Rock.

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The Brig Lily Disaster Memorial

The Lily was a brig of 196 grt owned by Hatten and Cookson of Liverpool. She was bound from Liverpool for Ambrazo in south west Africa carrying a general cargo she  was caught in the storm of Monday December, 27 1852 off the Calf of Man. The sea was mountainous and despite the efforts of the crew, she was driven ashore at Kitterland in the Calf Sound at 11.00.

The crew of thirteen desperately tried to reach the rocks by means of the boats, but huge waves carried off the master, the cook and two lads and drowned them. In addition, one of the masts fell upon the carpenter killing him immediately.

The survivors were taken off the rocks by men from Port St Mary and a guard of policemen was left beside the wreck. Early on Tuesday morning, Mr Enos Lace, grocer and ship broker of Port St Mary, being sub-agent for Lloyds, proceeded with a party of men to the wreck to see what could be saved. They started work on the vessel, but at approximately 8 a.m. smoke was observed coming from the middle of the hold. Several carpenters were then employed in cutting a hole in the deck for the purpose of throwing water on the fire to extinguish it. As soon as the air entered the hold, spontaneous combustion caused a huge explosion, killing all on the isle apart from James Kelly who miraculously survived, albeit with severe facial injuries.

The memorial was unveiled in 1994.


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