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Wreck of the Thorne
The Board of Trade Enquiry


The inquiry into the stranding of the Thorne began at St George’s Hall, Liverpool, on 11th February 1890 and concluded on the 12th, the day on which the vessel broke up. It was heard by stipendary magistrate Mr T.S. Raffles and by two nautical assessors Captains Parfitt and Wilson. Evidence was given for the owners and by Capt Glazebrook, First Officer Taggart, second mate Turner, the senior apprentice Morice, boatswain Renvellson, Julius Paris, a seaman, and the carpenter, Duncan Gordon. It is largely on this evidence that this account has been compiled. The verdict was published in The Examiner of 15th February and was probably in a summarised or shortened form.

The judgement of the enquiry was that - "The master was justified in putting into Douglas Bay and remaining there so long. He made an attempt to leave when the weather moderated, and engaged a tug to assist in getting under way, but on heaving up the port anchor it was found to be foul of the starboard chain to clear which occupied the crew all next day. The master was justified in riding to one anchor with ninety fathoms of cable out in twelve fathoms of water, the second anchor being ready to let go. Sufficient cable was paid out on the port anchor. With more cable there would have been greater risk of fouling the anchor. Proper anchor watch was set.

Gilbert Morice, the apprentice who had charge from 10 pm to 1 am on the 25th had served three and a half years and appeared to the court to be fully competent. All reasonable precautions were taken to ascertain whether the vessel was dragging, by the bearing of shore objects and the use of the lead. The master left proper and full instructions, and was on and off deck during the night and always ready for a call. There was no necessity to be constantly on deck. After the stranding it was noticed that the starboard cable was hanging up and down. The port cable on which seventy five fathoms had been veered led straight out. From this it was apparent that the starboard cable must have parted and the port anchor was possibly foul. At any rate it failed to hold. The master was in no way in default."