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Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 273056

Map Reference SM80SW

Grid Reference SM8453403775

Unitary (Local) Authority Maritime

Old County Maritime

Community Maritime

Type of Site WRECK

Broad Class MARITIME

Period Post Medieval

Site Description The wreck lies in a depth of 10-15m and is reported to be well broken up and partially buried in the sand. Closer inshore the wreckage is covered in kelp. Beer bottles, pickle jars, a brass lamp, and some 390 bricks have been recovered by sports divers in the past and reported to the Receiver of Wreck.

Event and Historical Information:
The LOCH SHIEL was a full rigged ship built by D & W Henderson, Glasgow in 1877 (yard number 179). Technical and configuration specifications are given as iron hulled; 225ft 3in long x 35ft 6in breadth x 21ft 2in depth; 2 decks, 1 bulkhead, passenger deck 48ft, forecastle 37ft; official no.78568. The ship was owned by J Lilburn, Glasgow, at time of loss and registered at Glasgow. The vessel was on passage Glasgow to Melbourne and Adelaide under the command of master Thomas Davies, with six passengers and a cargo which included some 7,000 cases of whisky. Bad weather and wind conditions (westerly force 8 gale), caused captain Davies to seek the shelter of Milford Haven on 30 January 1894. The vessel struck Thorn Island in the bad visibility, which caused the vessel to fill and sink by the stern. A mattress was burnt to attract attention, and late that evening the Angle lifeboat, the 37 foot HENRY MARTIN HARVEY put to sea with 12 crewmen. A total of six seamen were saved from the rigging, the remainder, including the passengers, having landed on the island. Lifeboat crewmembers were forced to land and walk along the cliffs to enable 27 passengers and crew to be hauled up the cliffs from the rock. The lifeboat made two trips to bring all the survivors back to the Angle lifeboat station. Three members of the Angle lifeboat crew were subsequently awarded silver medals by the RNLI. Wreckage and cargo was washed onshore, but Customs Officers only managed to recover 60 cases. The whisky cargo continued to cause mishaps and deaths over the coming weeks. Two local men from the same family drowned whilst getting a keg ashore, and another died from alcohol poisoning. The Board of Trade Inquiry was held in Glasgow in February 1894, and the captain found at fault for errors in navigation and had his licence suspended for three months.

Sources include:
Board of Trade Wreck Return 1894 Appendix C Table 1 pg139 (499)
Larn and Larn Shipwreck Database 2002
Lloyds Register of British and Foreign Shipping 1 July 1893 - 30 June 1894, number 649 in L
Goddard, T, 1983, Pembrokeshire Shipwrecks, pg61-64
Receiver of Wreck Droits Database 2007 RCIM6/2/5
Tenby Observer, 15 July 1983
UK Hydrographic Office Wrecks and Obstructions Database. © Crown Copyright and database rights. Reproduced by permission of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office and the UK Hydrographic Office (
Western Telegraph, 30 January 1894

WWW resources:
Board of Trade Inquiry, number 4879, 26-27 February 1894, Glasgow

Maritime Officer, RCAHMW, March 2008.

Archive Records