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Wreck of the Thorne

Whisky dy Liooar


As daylight dawned large crowds of sightseers gathered on the top of the cliff and the nature of part of the Thorne’s cargo became known. During the course of Saturday and Sunday heavy seas swept over the Thorne and burst open the main hatch allowing a quantity of her cargo to float out. This included cases of whisky!

It was recorded that a few of "the lower order" searched along the rocks and in the gullies for bottles or cases which had come ashore and a few trawl boats braved the weather using grapnels on the chance of bringing up a few cases. Some smaller boats ventured out into the bay where they prowled about and at least one of these struck gold in the shape of several cases of whisky. These were however repossessed by a watchful Customs officer when the boat returned to the harbour.

Onchan Head might have been a fore-runner of the bonanza which was enjoyed by a Hebridean island when the Politician was wrecked with a cargo of whisky, and might have pre-empted Compton Mackenzie’s story. Rather than "Whisky Galore" it might well have been "Whisky dy liooar", which means the same thing but in Manx gaelic. However, the local Customs clamped down firmly on this notion and from Saturday evening a careful watch was kept on the wreck by both Police and Customs. It was reported that around 700 cases were washed out of the vessel.

It is inconceivable that some of this was not "salvaged" by the enthusiasts with the grapnels, picked out of the sea or washed ashore. Several cases which had been found on the beach were removed to a house on Burnt Mill Hill but the haul was discovered and taken by the Customs. Other cases floated down to Ramsey bay and 25 were found at Fleetwood. The Examiner recorded in suitably vague terms that " is well known that a certain quantity of goods have been secured by persons unknown as is evidenced by the intoxicated condition of certain individuals seen in the neighbourhood of the wreck.." and so some of the Thorne’s cargo appeared to have escaped the clutches of authority.